Thursday, August 30, 2007

KL Day 5 - Merdeka Eve

Tonight is Merdeka Eve - Malaysia celebrates its 50th foundation day. My plan was to go to Dataran Merdeka tonight to see the midnight fireworks. My colleague suggested I go to KLCC instead. One, it's less crowded, and two, the fireworks might be better. I can already see myself at the KLCC park taking pictures of the fireworks with the Petronas Towers as the backdrop. Sweet.

9:30pm I went down to the concierge to check Suria KLCC's closing time. Might as well go there half an hour before closing to do some shopping. The shops close at 10pm, BUT there won't be fireworks anywhere in the city because the government wants to "encourage" people to attend the official ceremonies at Dataran Merdeka, and see the fireworks from there. Since the Malaysia Int'l Fireworks Competition is being held in Putrajaya, fireworks can also be seen from there. No way am I going to Putrajaya at this time of night. By the time I got to KL Sentral at 9:45pm, the station is packed with commuters. Four long queues and only two very patient (and chatty) ladies manning the booth. Don't even think about using the ticketing machines because they're all shut down for tonight.

Got to Masjid Jamek station around 10:30pm. The roads leading to the Merdeka Square are closed and replaced with stalls selling banners, caps, light wands, souvenir items, food items, drinks, etc. The whole area is packed with revelers and onlookers. Most of the tall buildings around the square are bathed in multi-coloured lights. Some even have scrolling images projected onto their side. In front of the Sultan Abdul Samad Building is an elevated stage where the local officials and foreign dignitaries are seated. Across the street are rows and rows of seats for special guests to view the street performances. There are song numbers from the local pop stars, cultural dances from the different states, etc. - none of which I can understand nor see, except on the giant screens. It was hot and humid throughout the night, and the camera on my neck is getting heavier every minute.

Ten seconds before the clock strikes twelve, everyone started the countdown. 3..2..1..Blah! No fireworks. The emcee shouted "Merdeka!", and a few politicians made some rousing speeches. What a night! When there was still no fireworks by 12:45am, I gave up and walked back to the train station and had a meal at Burger King. As to be expected, the place is full, so more queueing and jostling for seats. Just as I was enjoying my burger and fries, I heard loud noises and cheering. They've started the fireworks without me! Wolfing down my burger, I rushed out of the restaurant just in time to catch the last few fireworks over the KL night sky. Better than nothing.

No comments: