Sunday, January 14, 2018

Kluang Street Art - Murals along a 250-meter Stretch @ Laman Kreatif Kluang (Near Famous Kluang Rail Coffee) in Johor [Malaysia]

The popularity of street art in Malaysia has extended beyond Penang but i was surprised to read of a mural street at Kluang when i was doing research on what to do in the small Malaysian town.

Turned out it was less than 200 meters from where i stayed (i.e. Hotel Anika), and we decided to check it out after breakfast at the famous kluang rail coffee!

Maybe because the day was still early (about 9.00 am), the street (more the back lane between two rows of shop houses) wasn't crowded and we had the luxury of space to take many photographs without much photo bombs.

As expected, this would be a picture-heavy post with over 90 photographs and while i can share as many pictures as my camera can take, this should only serve as a reference since nothing beats seeing the art for real.

Unlike the street art in Penang, the version in kluang was concentrated along this one, long street. Some are just boring wall paintings although there are those with 3D elements for that more interesting photo taking.

Without Alex, my sister would have to step in as the model for my pictures; she is a better candidate though as her actions were expressive, random and totally in sync with the theme of the artwork behind her.

Don't play play; she's the mother of the equally expressive Jovyn.

Green mold on the wall provided a perfect base for the grass in the above mural that depicted a typical scene in the kampong with kids playing in the outdoors.

Kluang's super heroes - one looked a bit like the famous batman and the shorter sidekick seemed like bird man with its unforgettable beak-mask.

Another one with batman climbing up a water pipe while a colony of bats flew towards him. After a while, i did notice that bats were featured heavily along the street and thought it must have either been a state obsession or that Kluang is littered with bats!

Our Joyce in her usual, cheeky self. With her daughter, she might behave a bit more guarded as she had to set an example but once her kids are not with her, all hell breaks loose.

Caricature drawing on a wall.

Village life again although there was an incredibly realistic feature for this wall mural and it's not the metal pipe that was made to look like a vine. Look closer.

The 'bird house' that's thickly caked with bird poo!

On a lighter note - miniature kids having fun; blowing bubbles, playing on a wind and somersaulting on a long, metal, black pipe.

Rare picture of me with my favourite cartoon character; crayon shin chan! I actually have all its comic books (translated to Chinese characters) and was devastated when the author (Yoshito Usui) died in 2009.

Sometimes, we don't need to learn Malay to know what the words mean. From the above, i can roughly guess it means camera here since the Malay language borrows quite a lot of modern words from English.

Optical illusion on the floor - i have no idea what MPK means; i know MBK is mahboonkrong mall whereas MPH is a popular bookstore in Singapore and Malaysia. A check on the web revealed that MPK stands for Majlis Perbandaran Kluang; Malay for Kluang Municipal Council.

Dora the explorer!

My sister with a gigantic cat without a mouth (yes, i am aware that's Hello Kitty) and a life-sized robotic kitty; Doraemon.

Eh, the "real" Kluangman; take note of the bat-like shadow!

Making use of corners!

Placed side by side, this reminded me of a book cover that my ex boss showed me; at front cover, it was a boy who seemed to have died from hunger during wartime but once you turn to the back, you can see that a soldier, partially hidden by a wall, had shot him.

Didn't show face because it appeared rounder (aka fatter).

Remembering my time at Jeju's trick eye museum with both my sisters; it was memorable for two reasons. We had fun which was good but right after the visit, we got into a car accident.

No idea what they are supposed to mean...

Performance murals showcasing the three majority races in Malaysia; Chinese lion dance, Malay Kuda Lumping and Indian performers.

Cartoon and/or movie characters were heavily featured; not sure if copyright would be an issue but i doubt it as shops hawking pirated CDs are still commonly found in Malaysia.

Evil mouse going to hit a sleeping cat; the direct opposite of Tom & Jerry! Notice that plastic structure below the words "singgah yok"? That's a plastic seat for maximum two persons.

The street was the gold winner for the international green apple award; you can read more here but i noticed the page had indicated Klang (a city in Malaysia) instead of Kluang.

Nothing creative for the above; it's really just mould on the wall.

Love how the wall appeared to have been ripped apart to show the pretty gal.

The street is broken up into two sections as there's a road that runs across it; we were done with the first section and we shall proceed to the second one now.

More "trick eyes"!

I roughly made out 'kluang' in the above artwork although i think there's an extra letter for L. Now that i am older, i realize the mind is not as visually creative as before. Guess i need more "training" to attune my brain to think out of the box.

Featuring the life of the locals!

This is my favourite mural at Kluang Street Art; with the old and fading signboard above, the old gentleman might have been waiting for his turn at acupuncture and dental clinic.

Zoom in and it's a picture of a sorrow-looking old man who could have been living on his own. As many youngsters from Kluang move out to find jobs in the cities and nearby countries like Singapore, i guess the above would pull the heartstrings of those who are not living with their parents in Kluang.

Comic strip mural!

Hopscotch - i bet many kids nowadays would not know what the above is although in my time as a kid, we often play it at the void decks.

Standing in an aromatic cup of Kluang coffee!

It was really fun to have my sister around and even though she always said she will QC the pictures of her that i put up in this blog; she has never requested i take down any of them!

Mural of a tailor / clothes alteration shop and right opposite is the 'real' tailor and clothes alteration shop; the irony and corresponding contrast between the fake and real.

Looks like chalk drawing on a blackboard. 

Other artwork along the street.

Strangely, i saw a lot of illustrations for Johor state flags and the crown emblem but not so much on Malaysia national emblems. With the political conflict between the state and federal, who knows if Johor would make its way out of the federated states of Malaysia.

The seldom seen payphone!

Foldable tables and chairs were put out on the street by a nearby coffee shop for customers to soak in the artwork while having a cup of Kluang coffee coupled with signature local breakfast delights like butter kaya toasts and soft boiled eggs!

I think it's the national flower of Malaysia; hibiscus?

Joyce rushing to catch the school bus! In the 37 years that i have known my sister, i don't think she has ever been late for school. Even if she is, the reason is likely me since we studied in the same primary and secondary school.

What do the four artwork have in common? Bats and i am sharing the reason why bats are featured so prominently in Kluang. Answer: the name Kluang was drawn from Keluang which means "a type of flying fox or rather a type of fruit bat that used to be plentiful in the district decades ago"!

Given the esteemed bat's status, we should not shy away from being one!

Hm... seems like the street art was further extended; even though we were in a rush to return back to the hotel (returning to Singapore that day and would like to beat the jam), we concluded that we might as well check it out.

Last look of the 'official' creative street.

Zebra crossing that's painting to look like train tracks? Well, i bet many drivers would be confused and that's not fun when you are in a rush!

What we found on the other side; most impressed with the last artwork and i think there's a time capsule right in front of the mural that shows the heart shaped symbol from two hands.

Biggest artwork as the above; a mural that reflects racial harmony which is as important to Malaysia as it is to Singapore.

Remember the coffee shop that put out the tables and chairs? Aside from coffee and toast, you can get roti prata too! My bad, roti prata is known as roti canai in Malaysia.

So which kind would you prefer? A dirty, boring back lane versus one that's full of colour, vibrancy and creativity?! For me, i would definitely go with the latter!

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Location
Enter from along Jalan Sultanah that's opposite the fire station (known as balai bomba). Recommended to visit after having kopi and toast at the famous kluang rail coffee.

Google Map
As above; search under day 2 for "Kluang Street Art".


To read more about our short 2-day, 1-night road trip to Kluang, click here!

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