Port Klang, Kuala Lumpur, and Atheism

Sun 10 Oct 2010 09:39
Recent location; Royal Selangor Yacht Club Visitor Pontoons
3:00.311N 101:23.313E
Todays date, 10th October 2010
We left Port Dickson early on the 7th October, and enjoyed calm and cloudy weather as we motored up the Coast towards the Klang 'delta'. That is what it looks like on the map, but I don't know if the islands around the river mouth are truly deposited bits of the interior of Malaysia or not. In any event it made for a bit of interest, as we navigated between them. The pilot book shows a nice picture of the Royal Selangor YC, and they have an active website, so I determined to put in there, as it is then only a short train journey into Kuala Lumpur. I suppose that if I had given the matter a little more thought I would have realised that Port Klang is not a quiet seaside sort of village: it is the main Port for the whole of Malaysia, and very busy. The modern docks have been relocated into the big channels leading to the sea, leaving the old harbour to the traditional wooden coasting vessels and their unsilenced old diesel engines. Like early aircraft engines these are started with an explosive charge: I thought that there were killing each other! The Old Port is slightly picturesque, but the filthy smelly water that sluices up and down the Klang River is a real turn off. Visitors tie up against a pontoon moored in mid river.The current runs strongly, and the dinghy with its little outboard was not a satisfactory mode of transport, so I relied on the clubs 'Jingo Ferry' to bring me ashore. This runs 'on the hour, every hour, day and night'. Except that it didn't of course! An example of human gullibility in the face of human nature. I always helped to secure the ferries mooring lines, but then had to spend time washing the river smell off my hands. That said, the boat boys were lovely and helpful, and when they were an hour late, extremely apologetic. They also advised against leaving the hatches open a bit to try to get some air to circulate. Thieving? no, rats!!
Spent two days in Kuala Lumpur (meaning: confluence of two dirty rivers) The rivers are still dirty, but the place itself has undergone a bit of a makeover with the Petronius Towers (until recently the tallest buildings in the world), huge and expensive shopping Malls, and six lane highways everywhere. A grand concert hall: too grand for me, the dress code allowed lounge suits only. I was a little hurt. Also hurt that women get their own coach on the underground. Just doesn't seem to be the answer.There are older quant bits of town :Chinatown and Little India and some well preserved Colonial Buildings around a cricket square! Best tourist attraction for me was the Islamic Arts Museum: an extravagant wonderful space with some fine exhibits, and quite a lot of 'progaganda'. Malaysia is a very Muslim country: Friday lunchtime everthing stops as the male stafff of the downtown shops and offices respond to the call to prayer.They throng the available walkways and I nearly got swept into a mosque: a 'near God' experience! Wonderful food here of all varieties, but I never know what I'm getting: English is not in fact widely spoken, particularly at the 'hawker stalls', and I have to point and keep my fingers crossed. Except in Starbucks: good English, but no local food!
Anyway two days was quite enough of city life and sights, and today I am chugging north again. To my chagrin there is more wind than I have experienced for a month, a fairly steady 10 knots, and of course it is bang in the nose, and so we are motoring as usual. I have in fact spent the last hour writing an extensive critique of Dawkins' 'The God Delusion'. to which I turned after my mosque experience. But I delited it by mistake, and can't retrieve it. Quite clearly an act of divine providence, in the face of which I shall climb down off my hobby horse, and have some bread and cheese for lunch. If you want some good stuff to read try Q by 'Luther Blisset', 'The lacuna' by Barbara Kingsolver, and 'The History of the Financial Crisis', by Niall Fergusson. Together they build a big picture about what the common man is up against. Charlie is quite right, the answer to everything is economics; and here is Dawkins, a mere biologist, railing against fairies at the bottom of his garden.