Some Things Never Change

I was feeling a little sien today and decided to go run out somewhere. After all, I’ve got a new set of wheels and there is no reason for me to stay at home all the time now. So, I made the suicidal decision to go to 1Utama this afternoon – suicidal because anyone who knows 1U, knows that you should never go there on a weekend. However, I made the decision to go because the last time that I was there, the new wing had barely just opened and there were two MPHs in 1U (meaning that it was an awfully long time ago).

So, I drove down from my place onto Old Klang Road and took the normal route I used to take in the past – i.e. down OKR all the way to the end, slipping into the LDP highway thru the Federal Highway and then straight on until Bandar Utama and 1U. Okay, my first surprise was that they actually placed a toll-booth at the end of Old Klang Road. It’s called the PJS2 gate or something like that. I got my first hint that something wasn’t quite right when I passed the Jalan Templar junction and saw the Lebuhraya Bermula (Highway Begins) sign. Shortly after paying the toll, I saw the Lebuhraya Tamat (Highway Ends) sign. I had to pay RM1.60 for the privilege of using barely a 1km stretch of highway. Note to self – avoid this toll by cutting down Templar Road onto the Federal Highway.

Then, after I got onto the LDP, it was slow traffic almost all the way until it reached the Sprint Highway interchange. I remembered that I used to speed down the LDP on my way up to Ipoh (via the Damansara toll-gate) at much higher speeds than this. So, it was kind of sad that traffic was so slow these days. You cannot really call the LDP a highway anymore if the traffic slows down to 60kmph. I used to be able to reach 1U within 30 mins of leaving my home but I spent almost just as long, trudging along the LDP today. In addition, I must have made a mistake somewhere as I ended up reaching the PLUS toll-gate instead of Bandar Utama, and had to use the back-route of getting into 1U (passing Centrepoint). Note to self – avoid the LDP at all costs!

Anyway, I finally arrived at 1U and proceeded into the parking. Some things never change. It took me almost 40 minutes of driving around the multiple levels of parking until I finally found a space. At least this didn’t break a previous record I had of driving around for 45 minutes before finding a parking space there. Good thing that 1U charges a token fee for the first 6 hours of parking. There would be riots if they charged by the hour. Finally, I was there and I proceeded to have a look around the place.

I immediately went off shopping. Those of you who know me will know that there are very few things that I actually bother to buy – DVDs, CDs, electronic gadgets and books. In the end, I spent some money on more Korean DVDs and one music CD. I had actually managed to track down 2 copies of Suki’s Akhirnya album. This is surprising because she is practically sold out everywhere else – in both large and small record stores. However, it was very sad for me to see Tower Records reduced to selling Japanese Anime in order to survive. The bulk of the shelf-space seems to be taken up by nothing but Japanese Anime. So, I got to listen to a lot of Suki on my drive back through Section 16.

For dinner, I was a little tempted by laksa as I have not had any for quite some time. So, I proceeded to my regular laksa shack and ordered my favourite Laksam Kelantan. This was when I noticed that their selection of laksa has shrunk considerably since I was last there. They used to have every conceivable kind of laksa from each state in Malaysia (including those from Borneo). However, it’s now become fairly limited to the more commercial varieties only. Thankfully they still had my favourite and so I had it for dinner.

After dinner, I visited the Science Fiction section of MPH to see if they could qualify as Science Fiction. Personally, I do not consider a bookstore as having a SciFi section unless they at least carried books by William Gibson or Neal Stephenson. The good news is that the MPH at 1U carries both these authors but the bad news is that they only had one book from each. How sad! Maybe I should pay Kinokuniya a visit one of these days to check out its SciFi section. I have a recollection of it being fairly big and extensive.

Then, while strolling around the place, I noticed that there was a ‘free wifi’ area that was sponsored by Maybank2U. When I was in Malaysia a few years ago, broadband and wifi was very difficult to come by. Everyone was trying to sell you hotspot packages from different telcos. However, you are able to get free wifi everywhere these days, even at the local fast food joint. I have never actually tried any of them but I think that I will pay my local Kopitiam a visit one of these days to see if it is any fun blogging while having lunch.

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Shawn Tan

Chip Doctor, Chartered Engineer, Entrepreneur, Law Graduate.

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