Kuala Lumpur is a very different place being here by myself rather than with the family. Yes I commuted for 6 months in 2010 before the family moved to KL , but then I was a tourist and did not really know the city. Now I am commuting again but with no desire to do tourist things and instead am exploring the city with a perspective of someone who understand how KL ticks.
This was evident to me last night when I sat down in a street stall for some Durian. As I had camera in hand I am sure the local merchant saw me as a western tourist and so firstly tried to charge me a small fortune. Then after I told him the price I would pay he then tried to server me an inferior Durian. After a small discussion I then proceeded to select my own Durian had him open the one I selected and I sat down to eat satisfied but then reflecting on how different the situation would have been 4 years earlier. I ended up paying RM 33 for what I would have paid RM 100 for when I first arrived.
This altercation with the Durian Merchant also shows racial challenges. Even though I have been here for many years, being Caucasian, he instantly saw me as a tourist and tried to take liberties as such. Then once I started to complain he also started to use a number of abusive words in Bahasa (local Malaysian language) that are very derogative to Caucasians, not realising that I understood what he was saying.
Being back in Melbourne is the reverse experience. The Asian population in Melbourne has grown significantly when I was last living there 10 years ago with many being temporary as tourists and students, but also with many now being permanent residents of Australia and in effect Australians. Last night reminded me that one should not jump to instant conclusions on what someone of a different race may know or not know or on there status as most big cities are very much global in the make up and structure of who calls that city home.