Wednesday, April 20, 2011

KLCC Park's Asy-Syakirin Mosque

After a late breakfast (once again) at McDonald’s, I trooped to Pasar Seni Station and headed to KLCC (where the Petronas Twin Tower is – 1.60 ringgit). I was actually looking for DVD titles by Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul, particularly the obnoxiously titled “Uncle Boonme Who Can Recall His Past Lives”, “Syndromes and a Century” and “Tropical Malady”. If you were searching for such in Southeast Asia, Malaysia would be the most logical place outside Thailand because of it’s proximity to the Thai border. In fact, one can easily take a 10 hour bus ride to get to Hat Yai, Thailand’s 5th biggest city.

Unfortunately, after scouring through 2 DVD shops at the 3rd floor of KLCC (and from one shop from the Pavilion, another one from Berjaya Times Square), I realized that Thai titles aren’t among Malaysia’s film stocks. Sure, the Thai rom-com “BTS – Bangkok Traffic Love Story” is enjoying a month-long run at the Pavilion, but their Thai collection can be counted using all the fingers in your hand. Most times, they even include a Filipino horror movie called “White Lady” (2006), starring Angelica Panganiban, directed by Jeff Tan. Elsewhere, pirated discs have bunched up “Petrang Kabayo” (Horse Petra, 2010) with Thai titles as well. While watching the Ip Man-wanna be Kung Fu drama “Choy Lee Fung”, I saw a commercial of Kellog’s Special featuring the curvaceous Chinese Malaysian actress Carmen Soo who is sorely missed in the Philippines.

I’ve wanted to get a Pakistani film called “Khuda Kay Liye” (In The Name of God) in KLCC but I kept putting it off, thinking it would be available in Berjaya Times Square. It wasn’t! Dang!

Racing Superstar Michael Schumacher was in town for the big F1 event in Sepang. In fact, to spruce up the event, a beautiful Mercedes Benz XLS-63 was on display at the KLCC Suria’s activity center.

But the real treat of the day would be my visit to the mosque at the extreme end of the KLCC Park – called Masjid Asy-Syakirin! I have started to love the architecture of mosques with their graceful domes and intricate minarets. And the fact that I am intrigued by the way I am not able to set foot inside prayer halls. I am a Catholic after all.

Adorable rom-com "BTS - Bangkok Traffic Love Story" with Theeradej Wongpuapan (right)

Filipino films bunched up with Thai films: "Horse Petra" (a fantasy comedy where a mean spirited cross-dresser turns into a horse) and "White Lady" (an urban legend about a wandering lady in white).

Carmen Soo for Kellog's Special


From the fountain area, it was a leisurely walk amidst the greens of KLCC Park. This is such a wonderful place to unwind and it is evident how well they maintain this leisure compound. The mosque itself, white and medium sized, is almost deserted. Upon reaching the stairs, I took my shoes off and wandered carefully, not sure if I would be turned away, but I found people sleeping on the glistening floors instead. When I reached the entrance towards the air-conditioned Prayer Hall, I saw a guard who was almost oblivious to my presence. He was there to assist anyone who was inappropriately dressed, thus I could see gray gowns ready for such visitors.


I didn’t bother get inside the prayer hall but I peeped from the side. A guy was stooping down; as he knelt and touched his forehead on the floor. Then I was taken aback by someone staring at me from down the carpeted floor. I was snapping for photos – unobtrusively, that is (no flash). He took me by surprise! But if I were an unwelcome presence, he was conveniently enjoying the cool AC air, lying down his back and far from praying.


The mosque was a lovely place. The shadow of the succession of arches created dramatic silhouettes. As far as I am concerned, there were major tenets in mosque etiquette: the dress code, you can’t eat or drink inside, you have to take off your footwear, you can’t make a lot of noise unless it’s a mass chanting of praise, you have to turn your phone off or switch them to silent mode, and finally, you can’t sleep inside. And there were a number sleeping there. I actually envied them. It was such a relaxing place. In fact, it felt remote from the city. From the prayer hall, I took the steps down below, which had a separate color scheme, but nonetheless beautiful. There wasn’t much to do afterwards so I went to pick up my shoes and took the red-rubbery jogging path back to Suria KLCC Mall for my train ride back to KL Sentral (1.60 ringgit).

That early night, walking half way through Jalan Alor to supposedly check out more DVD titles, I suddenly stopped just before reaching Jalan Bukit Bintang. I saw a waiting shed-cum-bus stop and sat there along with other commuters. I didn’t need a bus. I just watched people and vehicles passing by. It was comforting. For some reason, I didn’t feel like going to Jalan Alor anymore, so I trodded back towards my hotel, heading straight to KFC for a 2-piece original recipe chicken. I wasn’t even hungry yet, but there was an inexplicable craving. Maybe I was missing home. Food over DVDs. It’s a first.

This is the Eye in the Sky!

Jogging path beside an immaculately maintained field of green.

A waiting shed of verdant green.

Asy-Syakin Mosque

Land of the sleepy souls.

Prayer Hall (above and below)

Shadowy ground floor hallway


Trotter said...

Hi Eye! What a post: everything in there... The pictures are gorgeous, and Petronas Towers come as an extra... Great job!!

Sorry for the absence, but one week off means three weeks busy to recover... Blogtrotter Two is around the canals of Amsterdam... Enjoy and have a wonderful Easter weekend!!

eye in the sky said...

Petronas Towers are great extras anytime. :->