KUALA LUMPUR – Faris Yahya, a former head of the Cyber Jaya City Development Authority, laments the loss of a landmark that survived the two world wars and witnessed the eras of colonialism and independence, but collapsed in the face of the Corona pandemic.
Yahya tells Al Jazeera Net that he celebrated his success and graduation from high school in 1986 in Café Collision, and over more than three decades he met many prominent personalities, such as former Prime Minister Mahathir Muhammad. Read also Today’s chef, Khatija Bint Suleiman.. a variety of dishes on the Malaysian Ramadan table Mobile restaurants in Malaysia TV scenes turn into a family business Indigenous peoples in Malaysia: We are fine as long as the forests are fine Open houses and the ritual of forgiveness are the oldest traditions of Eid al-Fitr in Malaysia
The administration of Collesion Café and Restaurant confirmed to Al Jazeera Net that it would not celebrate its centenary, as it was founded in 1921, while the New Straits Times newspaper wrote about its closure under the title “The landmark Tunku Abdul Rahman Street is under the protection of God.”
A century of memories
With the closure of one of the most prestigious cafes in the old town of Kuala Lumpur, the curtain falls on a century of memories, the elite – politicians, historians, journalists, artists and other public figures – used to stop on Tunku Abdul Rahman Street to enjoy the scent of the past while drinking coffee or eating a traditional dinner like grill Malaysian satay.
Fares Yahya adds to Al Jazeera Net that the delivery service that the general restaurant resorted to to overcome the spread of the Corona virus is useless to save the historical restaurant; He believes that the place itself, with its memories, is intended for the restaurant goers, not the food.
Dozens of meters from the building that embraced the Collision for 100 years, another Indian restaurant is struggling to survive and seeks to attract the younger generation through delivery services, according to what the restaurant manager Faqir Muhammad told Al Jazeera Net.
Muhammad expresses his confidence in the survival of the restaurant, given that the family adheres to it and hopes to restore its activity in the historical site frequented by tourists, after the end of the Corona pandemic.
Tunku Abdul Rahman Street, which changed its name after independence from “Bato Street” to bear the name of the former King Sultan Abdul Rahman, is located between the headquarters of the state administration in the colonial era and the Al-Hind Mosque neighborhood, which is the neighborhood in which the Muslim Indian workers lived while they were working in the construction of the railway. known by their name.
Darkness fell on these two neighborhoods in the time of Corona, and stagnation appears in the street that separates them, after they were teeming with tourists throughout the year.
Sultan Abdul Samad Palace, built in 1894 and converted into a heritage museum, no longer receives visitors, as is the case with the nearby train station, which has been turned into a railway museum and other historical buildings located near Istiklal Square.
The bankruptcy of many prestigious businesses, such as Collision, stirred heritage preservation activists in Malaysia, so they warned against neglecting public historical and heritage sites, with the depletion of tourism revenues in light of the pandemic, which may cause the cessation of maintenance and restoration work.
Fares Yahya says that the preservation of heritage sites should receive special attention, and calls on the government to adopt a policy to save places of historical value, and believes that government support should include public and private institutions of this kind.
The concern of heritage preservation organizations – from the effects of the Corona pandemic – does not depend only on the historical places in Kuala Lumpur, but also includes those that were inscribed on the World Heritage List in Malaysia, especially in Malaga and Penang, the two Malaysian cities whose effects witness to multiple historical eras, such as The succession of Portuguese, Dutch and British colonialism, Malay eras, and each era carries a different architectural style from the other.