Renaming of Food Street in Malaysia Sparks Uproar

by VR Sreeraman on Oct 22 2008 11:36 AM

 Renaming of Food Street in Malaysia Sparks Uproar
Malaysia's best-known destination for street food has been renamed, in a surprise re-branding that has created an uproar among the dozens of traders who sell local delicacies there.
Jalan Alor, which comes alive at night with more than 100 stalls selling everything from chicken satay to frog porridge, has been renamed Jalan Kejora by city authorities.

Critics say the change is pointless and will only confuse tourists, who nightly flock to the crowded street in the capital's Bukit Bintang district.

In the Malay language, jalan means "street" and alor means "stream".

Kuala Lumpur mayor Abdul Hakim Borhan said the plan to change the name to Kejora, Malay for the planet Venus, was made three years ago as part of a re-branding exercise for Bukit Bintang, which translates as "Star Hill".

"Other roads in the area will soon have new names, and they will all be named after the stars to create a new image," he was quoted as saying by the Star daily.

But Bukit Bintang parliamentarian Fong Kui Lun, from the opposition Democratic Action Party, said the move has created an outcry among Jalan Alor's traders.

"No notice, no explanations. They just replaced the street signboard and the only explanation we got from the mayor was in the newspapers," he told AFP Tuesday.

"For 50 years this street has established itself as a very famous hawker centre, it is almost a heritage to city folk and to just remove the name is a very uncalled for and irresponsible act by city hall."

Many of the traders have named their stalls after the street, which has existed for more than half a century, and yields more than a million results on the Yahoo! Internet search engine.

Fong said he would organise a protest petition to pressure Kuala Lumpur authorities to reconsider the decision.

"It is not easy to build up a name, a brand for tourists to remember. We hope City Hall will revert to its original name," he said.


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