Solaris at Night

Kuala Lumpur — Now and Then

A quick overview about what changed in KL since 2018 to now.

Solaris, KL, Malaysia — by Dibakar Sutra Dhar

Almost year ago, in 2018 March, I left Kuala Lumpur, thought that’s it, I ain’t coming back here. But here I am again in Kuala Lumpur, after 1 year, writing this article while drinking my Iced Caffe Americano in a Starbucks and thinking about, “Wow, Malaysia really did changed a lot in just one year”. So that’s going to be this article’s topic.

When I left Malaysia a year ago, Uber was still operating in here and was giving a tough competition to GRAB Malaysia. Both ride sharing service was offering crazy amount of promo codes, most of the time we’re using their services for free almost, when it was not free, the fare was 1–3 MYR. MYR or Malaysian Ringgit is Malaysia’s currency and 1 USD is equivalent to 4 MYR. These promo codes were life savers for us international students. You know, we could’ve wake up late in the morning but still could’ve attend the class using ride sharing services paying nothing.

The month I left Malaysia on 2018, which is March, Uber sold it’s south east Asian share to it’s rival Grab. Since then, in SEA, there isn’t any competitors of GRAB, so they sky rocketed their fare. Promo code became history and this kicked us hard, specially me. No more free ride, eh? That’s first blow I receive after arriving in Kuala Lumpur this year.

View from my Condo — by Dibakar Sutra Dhar

The second blow is some certain rules changed by Malaysian Government. Now I’m not gonna talk about all the law here. But will talk about only one. Before, You could’ve seen smokers everywhere in Malaysia. You could’ve seen in every restaurants. Eating, Drinking and Smoking. After new govt came, rules changed. Now, NO SMOKING in any restaurants. Now I personally appreciate this law, really appreciate how Malaysian’s are respecting this law. Now you’ll never find anyone smoking in any restaurants, not even in any coffee shops. Only in streets, in certain smoking zones and in bars.

Previously I used to live in Bangsar. Mid Valley Shopping Mall was one of my daily go, well using daily key word might be a too much, but I used to go there more often. Today, I went there after a year and guess what? most of the place changed. They have a very big outlet of AEON BIG, they shrink the place. Now this place looks like a big 7-eleven store just.

In early 2018, you could’ve still traveled by Rapid KL bus without buying any Touch N Go cards, could’ve went to the driver, tell him the destination and pay the cash. Now, you just cannot. He’ll ask you to leave and purchase a touch n go card and take the next bus.

Yes, Malaysia became more strict than before. More cleaner. They’re making some big changes around KL, massive construction sides throughout the whole Kuala Lumpur. Everything getting pricey. Alcohol prices have the biggest change in the market. A Heineken beer can set you back at 9 MYR in some super shops, while it was around 6 MYR before.

But whatever happens, we just love Malaysia and it’s culture and it’s cities. 1 Malaysia and Terima Kasih (Thank You)

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Dibakar Sutra Dhar.

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