Following on from my post about historic Melaka, I was delighted to discover that Victoria Institution in KL has been granted a National Heritage status by the Malaysian government.
This is indeed good news, for every time I step into Pavillion shopping centre, I cannot help but feel regret for the loss of Bukit Bintang Girls’ School.
Old buildings give us a sense of time and place and their demolition is a loss to the entire community.
If they haven’t already been granted such a status, St John’s primary and secondary schools in Bukit Nenas should be given the same National Heritage status. This is not because I went to school there, but as I drove up the hill only a few weeks back, I felt a sense of peace and serenity as I left the congested KL streets and entered another world. For a moment, I was that little boy standing awkwardly by the front gate waiting to be picked up from school. The buildings of St Johns, and we must also add Convent Bukit Nenas, are part of KL’s prized possessions.
But being on the National Heritage register is not enough though. Witness what has happened to Bok House in Jalan Ampang.
Such beauty, such sense of history, demolished into dust and rubble. Many of us older folk had dined at its restaurant, Le Coq D’or, with its the vintage waiters dressed in white, just to admire the old building and be transported back in time.
When Bok house was destroyed, I felt as though a friend had died. If you’ve never dined at Le Coq D’or – then you never will. I wish you had been there just once. The food, the service, it was all rather mediocre, but I feel privileged to have dined within its ghostly walls.
We must be ever vigilant and not let the past be swept away.
What old buildings are special to you?