Saturday, June 18, 2011

KL graffiti & street art

Kuala Lumpur has some good street art. It is hardly fair to call it graffiti, as the art is clever, imaginative and well designed.

This is some of the art along the river by Pasar Seni LRT station.
This is a wall in China Town -

© Liz Price
No reproduction without permission

World refugee day 2011

The United Nations Refugee Agency commemorates World Refugee Day on June 20 each year and is dedicated to raising awareness of the situation of refugees throughout the world. Refugees are people who flee war, conflict, human rights abuses and persecution.

KL Sentral had afternoon events on 19/20th June to salute the day. The event started with Markiza and Peter Brown plus one doing 3 songs.
Markiza's group - Markiza in middle, on right is Peter Brown
Then there were several dances by children from various refugee groups in Malaysia.
15th century dance
Kachins (above and below)

Myanmar girl dancing to Waka Waka -
Refugee children watching -
The MC's interacted with the crowd, asking questions about refugees etc -
There were stalls selling products made by refugees, as well as exhibitions.
There have been some famous refugees - Marlene Dietrich -
Bob Marley and Einstein

Some sad facts about refugees in Malaysia :

There are some 93,600 refugees & asylum-seekers registerwd with UNHCR.
85,800 from Myanmar (Chins, Rohingyas, Muslims, Mon, Kachins and others).
Others from Sri Lanka, Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan.

19,000 are children below 18.

It is interesting that the majority of refugees now are from Myanmar. Years ago the majority were from Vietnam.

I remember on my visit to Cherating as a backpacker in the late 1980s there was a UNHCR camp for Vietnamese refugee just across the river from Cherating. Backpackers used to go there and help the refugees by giving them small items and take letters etc from them to post. The camp was opened in the late 1970s.

Vietnamese refugees also went to some of the islands such as Bidong (south of Redang). In the Vietnam War when Saigon fell to the North Vietnamese Army, many people fled by boat. These "boat people" first arrived on Malaysian shores in 1975. A few years later a camp was set up, housing about 40,000 people at one time.
Sri Lankans -
Burmese Refugee Org (above)
Burmese hairdo

I frequently drive through Bukit Petaling area and pass the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) HQ. There always used to be lots of people hanging around outside but I haven't seen this in recent years.

© Liz Price
No reproduction without permission

KTM & Touch n Go

The other day I noticed the balance of my Touch n Go card seemed to be somewhat lower than I expected. I had used the card a few times in the last week, but all for small transactions such as local train rides and road tolls.

TnG statement takes quite a time for the latest uses to show - apparently a fault of the tolls/stations etc, not TnG. After waiting almost a week I finally saw I had been charged 2 penalty fares, each RM10, by KTM on their Komuter train - I used it to go to the new bus station.

I checked the Komuter www, and saw they have a section on penalty fares. Apparently if the card is not read correctly, or there is an irregular transaction etc, a penalty of RM10 will be charged.

I then read that in most cases KTM will refund the money, if one contacts TnG. I did this through TnG www and had a very quick response. Then a couple of days later I was passing TnG office in Sentral so thought I would ask there. The girl was very helpful and filled out 2 forms for me (1 for each transaction) and told me my card would be credited in 1 month. I also picked up quite a detailed leaflet by KTM called "user guide".

As this seems to be a regular problem with KTM readers of TnG cards, I would suggest to anyone who uses these to check their statements.



I had been told my refund would take one month. It took 3. I finally got the refund in mid Sept. At that was after filling out more forms at the end of Aug.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

TBS bus station - Terminal Bersepadu Selatan

The new Terminal Bersepadu Selatan, (TBS-BTS) or Intergrated Bus Terminal at Bandar Tasik Selatan opened fully in March 2011.
It serves all southbound buses, taking over from Pudu Raya, which recently reopened after a long closure for renovation.

I took the Komuter train (my album) to Bandar Tasik Selatan to have a look at TBS. I was really impressed by the terminal. It's like a modern airport.
road arch
KLIA express

However first impressions weren't so good, as first one has to climb up a flight of stairs to exit the station, not good for people with luggage. Then there was a queue to leave as there was only one exit point. A covered walkway leads over the network of roads and rails, and escalators go up to the terminal floor. However I noticed people struggling downstairs with luggage, as there are no down escalators from the terminal to the stations. This is really bad in a brand new place. Same thing at KL Sentral, there is no down escalor, only up. Crazy when both places are designed to cater for people with luggage.

The terminal is located next to the Express Rail Link (ERL) KLIA Transit Station, the Stesen Komuter KTM Bandar Tasik Selatan and the Bandar Tasik Selatan LRT Station (Star LRT). There are also Rapid city buses and a taxi rank - plenty of taxis here -

The terminal is huge, is bright, clean and attractive and air-conditioned. There are 6 floors, 55 bus platforms, 150 taxi bays, 1,000 parking bays and 1,800 seats in waiting areas. Entrance -
Bright and clean

The ticket counters are designed to stop touts, though there did seem to be one guy trying to sell a ticket - maybe he was genuinely trying to sell an unwanted one. A huge overhead board displays all the bus times for each company/destination, so its seems easy to choose. Another huge display gives arrival/departure times.
Etickets -
These counters are for specific bus companies, unlike the other general counters.

The departure platforms are downstrairs, separated into gates, and staff check tickets before going down.
Upstairs is a food court and various fast food eating places. There seems to be adequate seating. There are a few shops as well. There is free wifi.

I was really impressed.... until I went to the toilet. There were 6 cubicles, 2 were closed as not working. The one I went to, the paper holder was already broken, and the toilet wouldn't flush. Why oh why are Msians incapable of using toilets properly. On a good note there seem to be ample sets of toilets on each floor.

The terminal is great, just a pity about the access. When leaving the terminal you have to walk down 2 floors and then more stairs to the station. There is a lift, but its like the one at Sentral, takes ages to come and there are crowds. If they can build a state of the art terminal, why can't they install escalators down to ground level????

© Liz Price
No reproduction without permission