The affection we develop for people or for things is not always rational. Hence, I am not sure I can really explain why I like Kuala Lumpur (KL). There are a few things that come to mind that may give a hint… Elements that could be considered superficial like the incredibly Southeast Asian “shop-houses” that combine the outlet on the ground floor and the residence on the first floor.
There is also the semi-organized chaos and the absence of pretension. But the real fascination may come from other aspects.
We Europeans have called Cambodia, Lao and Vietnam “Indochina” because we realized that that part of the world blended influences from the two great civilizations. That blend started a long time ago. Hence, today, in these countries, we cannot sort the India from the China more than we could sort the coffee from the milk in a Latte.
In KL, at each street corner, once can be faced with India, with China or with the Malay side of Malaysia. It’s particularly striking for the faiths.
The Chinese burn incenses in their Buddhist temples.
The Tamil offer garlands of flowers in coloured pujas.
The Malay read verses at the National Mosque.
So in Malaysia (which is officially not part of Indochina), the blend is still in the making. The melting pot is still a mixing bowl.