The Collective Memory of a Chinese Community Survives in a Concrete Forest: “Chinatown” in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

NG Shi Qi, Tianjin University, China
GONG Xiaolei, Tianjin University, China

Abstract: “Chinatown” in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, was formed by the Chinese tin-mining community before Malaysia was established. It has managed to sustain its collective memory rooted in the past, while embracing widespread development in the country. This ongoing study investigates the survival of this collective memory under the pressure of regeneration. The research examines the conceptual framework of collective memory, which is influenced by the citizens and their surroundings, diachronicity, and synchronicity. The methodology comprises examining past images and official blueprints of the area’s layout, evaluating the spatial configuration in Chinatown, and reviewing the literature. It is, therefore, crucial to analyze and evaluate the conceptual structural framework of the connections among the communities, place, and time that sustain the collective memory of a place and their influence, rather than turning them into a memorial that is frozen in time.

Regeneration in Chinatown, Kuala Lumpur
Chinatown in Kuala Lumpur
Building typology of Chinatown, Kuala Lumpur
Spatial Anaylses of Chinatown, Kuala Lumpur
Shophouses in Chinatown, Kuala Lumpur
At the entrance to Petaling Street (Ci Chang Street) in Chinatown, Kuala Lumpur
Mural paintings in Panggung Street (Kwai Chai Hong), Kuala Lumpur
Merdeka 118 looming behind Chinatown in Kuala Lumpur
Petaling Street (Ci Chang Street) in the past