Reviving the glory days of Petaling Street: KL back alley transformed into cultural hub for Mid-Autumn Festival (VIDEO)

Visitors snap a selfie with traditional hand-painted lanterns at Project Kwai Chai Hong. — Pictures by Hari Anggara
Visitors snap a selfie with traditional hand-painted lanterns at Project Kwai Chai Hong. — Pictures by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 23 — City-dwellers can now steep themselves in nostalgia, culture, and history during the upcoming Mid-Autumn Festival celebrations thanks to Project Kwai Chai Hong.

Colourful lanterns adorn a back alley in Lorong Panggung as part of Moonlight in the City, a campaign aimed at reviving the golden years of Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown.

Not to be missed is a 10-foot blow-up moon that’s sure to become the centrepiece of many Instagram photos to come.

Charming murals adorn the walls of Project Kwai Chai Hong which is now home to a number of food and beverage operators.
Charming murals adorn the walls of Project Kwai Chai Hong which is now home to a number of food and beverage operators.

Bai Chuan Management managing partner Zeen Chang said the campaign is one of many efforts to bring life back to the Petaling Street area.

“When we started Project Kwai Chai Hong, our promise was to bring people back to Chee Cheong Kai,” she said, referring to Petaling Street by its colloquial Cantonese name.

“I remember as a kid in the 1970s, Chee Cheong Kai was in its glory days and it was a must-visit for anybody coming to Kuala Lumpur.

“Somewhere along the way, it lost part of its lustre and Chinese culture.”

The 10-foot blow-up moon casts an ethereal glow onto its surroundings.
The 10-foot blow-up moon casts an ethereal glow onto its surroundings.

Rejuvenation works on the alley kicked off in October last year and artists were roped in to paint murals depicting the early life of Chinese settlers onto the pre-war buildings.

Mouthwatering tenants such as Bubble Bee Cafe, Tang Ge Kopitiam, and Concubine bar have set up shop at Project Kwai Chai Hong with more tenants to come in the near future.

A snowskin mooncake-making experience, a recycled lantern-making class, storytelling and sing-along sessions, and a shadow puppet workshop are among the activities set to entertain visitors from August 24 to September 15.

Chang said that Moonlight in the City will bring the magic of the Mid-Autumn Festival right into the heart of Kuala Lumpur where visitors can enjoy quality time with their friends and family.

“There’s something about looking at the moon that makes you nostalgic for the people that you love most.

“The entire reason for gathering with your family during the Mid-Autumn Festival is to gaze at the moon and bond with each other,” he said.

“Hence, we decided to bring the moon to the city. Instead of going back to the kampung for a reunion, you can enjoy the festival with your family right here in Kuala Lumpur.”

The Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated on the 15th day of the eighth month on the lunar calendar, when the moon is believed to be at its fullest and brightest.

For more details on the festivities and how to sign up for activities, check out Project Kwai Chai Hong. (www.kwaichaihong.com/events-listings)

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