LANDSCAPE TOUR TO GHOST ALLEY “GUIZAI XIANG’: CULTURAL LANDSCAPE AND ARTISTIC MURALS IN URBAN LANDSCAPE DESIGN | 吉隆坡鬼仔巷
The unique cultural landscape components from community lifestyles, ethnobotany plants, local cuisines and crops, ethnic patterns and motives to local languages, social beliefs and interactions are the attractions of the areas that create the identities to the place which can be further developed into tourism products.
Some of the old town in the city are lacking of economic activities and tourism attractions. To stimulate economic activities and tourism attraction of the town, the upgrading programme and refurbishment works was carried out based on the authorities design requirement that ensure minor alterations to be done to preserve the original appearance of the building design.
‘Ghost Alley’ ‘Guizai Xiang’ is an alley that consists 10 numbers of old shop lot that located between Lorong Panggung and Jalan Petaling in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It was upgraded to preserve the historical and cultural value of local Chinese and enhance the tourism activities in Kuala Lumpur Chinatown.
The alley arouse everyone’s curiosity, especially the business operating in the alley. 10 old shop lots were selected and renovated turn to be tourist attraction, gathering place for artists and photographers, as new spot for photography!
Why it called as ‘Ghost Alley’? There are 2 origin stories. 1st story explaining the little kids like to play in the alley during raining days, old folks like to call them “Guizai”. Therefore the residents in the neighbourhood called it as Guizai Xiang, which’s means Ghost Alley.
2nd story explaining this alley was gathering various illegal activities such as gamblers, opium users, smokers, prostitutes, and whores in old times. So it was nicknamed as ‘Guizai Xiang’ which means ‘Ghost Alley’.
The art murals showing the daily life of local Chinese gathering place in the 1960s. It helps foreign tourists to understand history and culture of local Chinese in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia.
I was travelling to ‘Guizai Xiang’ during my trip to Malaysia (Vaccinated travel lane) between Singapore and Malaysia. The place was absolutely impressed me.
The art murals were completed by 5 artists which took 2 months for full completion. In order to make these murals more realistic and interactive, there is a QR code next to the each mural. The visitors can scan the audio of the related murals by picking up their mobile phones.
The ‘Guizai Xiang’ preserve extremely rich culture and heritage to pass it on to the next generation. The art murals infuses the artistic and cultural value that fully demonstrating the character.
Every corner is mottled trace of the years, and every mural tells the stories and memories left by the predecessors. Whether it is a child playing marbles, an old man playing the erhu, or a gentleman helping people write copybooks, they are all full of old-time Chinese society.
This tiger mural became a hot spot for photography due to this year is Tiger Year in Lunar Chinese New Year.
What surprised me the most is that it still has one of the oldest street lights in Kuala Lumpur! After a minor repair and touching up, the street lights can still be used as usual, which is a testimony of connection between modern and past history.
Continued my walk to the other side of ‘Guizai Xiang’ is like step into the memories of the old days.
The vivid murals seem to tell the stores of the predecessors to the people who visit here. I believe that the local Chinese especially grandparents will definitely have a deep feeling when they arrive here.
There are many classic murals and people in 1960s used baskets to collect ‘express’ or goods downstairs, perfectly restoring the scene of tenants.
Mural of the old time barber and his antique chair
Mural of jumping rope for little kids
The “Guizai Xiang” is creating business opportunities, employment opportunities, and improve the local economy by promoting the commercial activities and attracting more domestic and foreign tourists to visit there.
How do you think of this Ghost Alley “Guizai Xiang”? Do you like to pay a visit?
Really appreciate for those who reading my post.
Wish you have a nice day! Thank you.
Author: Cherry Ng, Landscape Architect at Freelance Landscape Design
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