Betsy has had a major introduction to the major role that the Mid-Valley Megamall plays in our lives here in KL. Before beginning, we should reiterate that malls in Southeast Asia do not have the same connotations that malls in the US do. Malls here don’t just have shops and a food court and maybe a movie theater; they have fancy restaurants, grocery stores, gyms, and whatever else you might need. So, if we want to go to a movie, we head to the mall. To shop for groceries, we head to the mall. When we go to the gym (daily), we head to the mall. If we want to shop at the latest upscale clothing stores, we head to the mall. If we want a nice meal at a nice restaurant, we head for the mall. So, today we went to the gym, had a nice lunch, shopped for some clothes, and picked up some food. Which necessitated a six hour trip to, yes, the mall.
After that we went out to a night market to sample some local favorites. One of the most popular is the one in district called Bangsar, which we visited tonight. In many neighborhoods in KL, one or two times a week the roads close on a main street and dozens of traders descend on the area to sell cheap merchandise and local food. It’s the best way to taste local cuisine, and it’s always nice and cheap. We had sate (Betsy’s favorite), sweet grilled corn, more popiah, appam balik (crispy coconut pancakes), roti canai, roti telur, and paper dosa. Quite a feast.
Right now we are watching a local program called Mentor. It is sort of like American Idol, with an annoying twist. Instead of judges picking out good singers and then gradually whittling down the pack to one star, in this version they take terrible singers or singing groups and put them through a crash-course of mentoring from a Malaysian pop star. After that, they compete. Let’s think: what are the types of things that your mentoring can help a student to do? Certainly you can teach stage presence, confidence, showmanship, voice projection, a bit of dancing, etc. What you cannot teach in a couple of days, and this show is making this abundantly clear, is how to sing. That means that we have been watching some very confident "singers" dressed to the nines and with plenty of pizzazz absolutely butchering some Malaysian pop songs. It’s brutal, but good for a laugh.