Nestled among rich Chinese heritage in Kuala Lumpur city centre lies a charming laneway that has now been brought to life. Bai Chuan Management today unveiled
their latest venture, Project “Kwai Chai Hong” which involves the restoration of 10 shophouses and a laneway hidden in between Lorong Panggung and Jalan Petaling. The launch was graced by Yang Berhormat Fong Kui Lun, Bukit Bintang Member of Parliament and supportive neighbouring communities.
Parallel to Jalan Petaling, Project Kwai Chai Hong’s entrance is an arch situated along Lorong Panggung which features six interactive thematic murals, each with a story to tell. These murals are crafted to depict daily activities among the early Chinese settlers living in the area during the 1960’s. While these murals give international tourists a glimpse of life in Kuala Lumpur Chinatown, it is sure to evoke a sense of belonging for all Malaysians who can identify and relate to these references. On the building’s facade, the striking blue and yellow painted pre-war shop houses speak volumes to those who recognise this Category 3 heritage building. The Kuala Lumpur 2008 Development Plan determined the parameters of restoration works that were carried out to ensure only minor changes were made to its original building maintaining the design and facade.
Zeen Chang, the managing partner of Bai Chuan Management, said: “Project Kwai Chai Hong represents the profound cultural heritage of Kuala Lumpur Chinatown. For many, Kwai Chai Hong will spark curiosity surrounding its history given the kind of businesses that were operating in the laneway. We are delighted to be able to rejuvenate these 10 shop houses turning them into a tourist attraction and a hotspot for budding artists, photographers and Instagrammers alike.
The origins of the moniker “Kwai Chai Hong” is undetermined. Some long-term residents claim it came about when children ran around the laneway on rainy days. Senior citizens would refer to the children as “kwai chai” which translates to ghost children as a colloquial slang. The word “hong” refers to laneway in English. The energy emitted from the children’s voices made residents in this area believe they were up to mischief. Another source cited the presence of illegal businesses in this area as the reason for the moniker of Kwai Chai Hong. During the early days of the Chinese settlers, it was an area haunted by petty gamblers, drunkards, drug addicts and people participating in vice activities. Despite all this, many who have lived in this area previously recall the lively atmosphere during festive seasons when families came together to celebrate as a close-knit community.
Those who are interested to rent the shop houses can contact a Bai Chuan Management representative at +60 12 316 6212 for further information.