Ampang Park was the first shopping mall in KL.
We lived not more than a couple of kilometres away. It contained rows and rows of shops, a supermarket, many boutiques and a beer garden on the roof top.
As teenagers, my brothers and I used to frequent its record shop where they would record LPs on cassettes for a fee. (For you younger folk, LPs are Long Playing Records and a 90 minute cassette would record 2 albums, one on each 45 minute side.)
My most distinct memory of Ampang Park though is scurrying there one afternoon without our mother knowing. As soon as she had left home, we boys, aged 9, 12 and 13 hurried to its toy shop and, pooling our money together, bought an Airfix World War II Gun Emplacement with plastic German and American soldiers.
Our excursion to the shopping mall was scary and I didn’t even dare thing what punishment awaited us if we were caught. We weren’t. And we had hours of fun with our new toy!
Many of us have memories of the shopping mall. Perhaps you had wandered it’s non air-conditioned corridors with your first girlfriend or boyfriend? Or bought your first typewriter, Walkman, answering machine, computer or handphone there?
Ampang Park is not the prettiest of buildings. But because of the era it which it was built, it has a fairly unique architectural-style for KL. That is why it’s a pity to demolish it to make way for a MRT station.
So shouldn’t Ampang Park be classifed as a heritage building?
“What?” you might say. “That ugly thing?”.
It’s certainly no Le Coq D’Or, is it? A beautiful building, also on Jalan Ampang, which we unfortunately was stolen from us at the dead of night.
Yet heritage is not about beauty.
If a building is of architectural or historic interest, then it should be classified as heritage and must not be demolished.
For us in 2015, the 1970s wasn’t so long ago and a building from that era might not be considered as historic, but our grandchildren or great grand children may see this differently.
They may have a different idea of architectural significance too and may think that it was a terrible thing to have allowed the destruction of an important building that was part of the fabric of Kuala Lumpur.
But I can already hear the bulldozers rumbling away in the name of progress and profits.
So farewell Ampang Park.
Thanks for the memories. KL will not be the same without you.