Southeast Asia has long had a love affair with mega-malls. Often it has been a relationship borne out of convenience, for these vast air-conditioned commercial hives offer ideal respite from the perennial heat and Biblical downpours that are so much a part of life in the region.
While I have never been a full-fledged fan of mega-malls (they take the soul out of shopping), I have admittedly relinquished myself to the fact that life in Southeast Asia is inextricably linked to their overbearing brand of conglomeration. So when I asked my friends and colleagues what there is to do in Kuala Lumpur for Chinese New Year, I wasn’t especially surprised — nor excited — to hear them invariably chime: “Go to a mall!”
(Of course, Chinese New Year is meant to be a holiday replete with all the fuzzy images of family reunion — but lets just step back from that for the sake of this post.)
During Chinese New Year (beginning January 23), Kuala Lumpur’s shopping centers will turn into a hue of ruby red and gold-trimmed activities; boisterous performances and bazaars will become commonplace.
Taking advantage of the spending potential this Year of the Dragon, big-name brands with enough cultural confidence even get in on the conspicuous attention-seeking. IKEA has a gauntlet of in-door activities showing throughout the holiday, ranging from calligraphy to acrobatic lion and dragon dancing, so shoppers have plenty to do after buying their discounted prosperity doormat.
Berjaya Times Square‘s main concourse is exhibiting a three-story cherry blossom tree which guards flowing aisles of clothing sales.
Suria at KLCC and Pavilion, the two largest mega-malls in Malaysia, have already started hosting their CNY performances, of which includes a Wushu (martial arts) group at Suria.
Tropicana City Mall once again hosts its annual bazaar, set up in the main concourse.
For fireworks, Chinatown (duh), Bukit Bintang and KLCC are the place.
After that, some mall scurrying and gorging on a traditional meal while seated at a circle table, you can say you’ve done CNY the KL style.