What Were You Doing In Jalan Alor ?

What's in a name ?

Jalan Alor a street running parallel to Jalan Bukit Bintang in the heart of Kuala Lumpur's Golden Triangle becomes alive at night with sights and smells of Chinese hawker food. The entire street is lined with Chinese coffee shops and restaurants selling anything from local seafood to satay. The stalls are also all arbitrarily queued up along the street together with plastic dining tables and chairs crammed between double parked cars. For first timers visiting Jalan Alor, it can be quite an intimidating experience.

Jalan Alor, formerly a major red light district of Kuala Lumpur, has since undergone a few face lifts over the years, and the street is now a haunt for local gluttons and tourists. The Jalan Alor experience brings to life the Malaysian phrase "jalan jalan, cari makan", although today the phase takes on a more literal meaning.

Today, the Star has reported that Jalan Alor is soon to be called Jalan Kejora, to give it a "new image". Read this:



KUALA LUMPUR: Jalan Alor on Yahoo! returns more than 900,000 results. It is that famous.

[I think this reporter has made a conceptual error about the search results on Yahoo. While there is some co relation between search engine results and popularity of a particular term or phrase, this however, cannot be relied upon to determine its popularity. Search results for a particular term or phrase from search engines (in this case, Yahoo) does not indicate its popularity ie. it does not indicate the number of people searching for the term or phrase eg. "Jalan Alor". It just indicates how many references (ie. websites, articles etc) are found on Yahoo for the term "Jalan Alor". To determine how many people are actually searching for a particular term or phrase, you will have to use certain tools like Yahoo Search Marketing (formerly called Overture). From my independent research, there are only about 1,600 searches for the term "Jalan Alor" per month. As there is normally a huge disparity between search engine results and the actual number of people searching for a term or phrase, making an assertion based on such search engine results alone, can be highly misleading]

Yet, Kuala Lumpur City Hall is adamant that changing the name to Jalan Kejora - a move that has sparked a public outcry - is the right thing to do.

Datuk Bandar Datuk Ab Hakim Borhan said the move, which was planned three years ago, would give the tourist destination of Bukit Bintang a new image.

[How does renaming a street Jalan Kejora improve its image ? - As far as I know "Bintang Kejora" simply means "Morning Star", but so what ? How does this change anything ?]

Popular spot: Azmi (left) serving customers at his ‘Nasi Lemak Alor Corner’ stall along Jalan Alor recently.

“Other roads in the area will soon have new names, and they will all be named after the stars to create the new image,” he said yesterday during a visit to a landslide site in Cheras.

The name change came to light when city hall replaced the road sign about a week ago. The Jalan Alor name has been in existence for 35 years.

[A street with its own "brand name" which took 35 years to nurture is about to be "re-branded" to something else, which represents, basically nothing !. Would Coca-Cola Corporation change the famous name of "Coke" to "Choke" or something else, just because they don't like the taste of the original Coke ? - change its name rather than its taste ? So, if you don't like your Proton car, just change its logo to that of a Mercedes ! or whatever that suits your fancy - why not a fighter jet (eg. a F-16 Fighting Falcon) ? I've seen modified (disfigured) Protons which propose to look like fighter jets. Malaysian creativity knows no limit, and shame - take a look at this, this and this]

City Hall explained that the name was changed at the request of the National Economic Action Council to meet requirements under the road naming guidelines and to go with other roads in the vicinity.

The MP for Bukit Bintang, Fong Kui Lun, who has brought the matter up with the Federal Territories Minister, said: “How can you change the name just like that?”

Name confusion?: Tourists (from left) O’Connor, Jack Coppock and Caitlin Coppock feel that the popular street should retain its name for the convenience of tourists looking for the place the next time they return here.

He said a search of Jalan Alor on the Yahoo! search engine returned more than 900,000 results.

[Even the Bukit Bintang MP, makes the same conceptual mistake about Yahoo search results as the reporter]

“You can imagine how famous this food haven is internationally,” he said.

Fong said that the area had taken years to establish its reputation and changing its name overnight was unfair to the locals.

“We want the name maintained,” he said, adding that he would bring up the matter up to the Tourism Minister.

Traders in the area could not fathom the rationale behind the move.

“Why must they change the name when it is already popularly known among the locals and tourists?” said Loke Yew, who has been selling fruits there for the past 35 years.

Trader Azmi Aznal said: “Even my stall is called Nasi Lemak Alor Corner and now City Hall has changed the road name for no apparent reason.

“Does that also mean I should change my stall’s name too?”

[Ahhh...now we see the real reason for the name change]

Several tourists have frowned at the move.

“The new name will definitely confuse some of us when trying to find the place in the future,” Australian tourists Jenny O’Connor and Caitlin Coppock said.

It is learnt that traders and residents have embarked on a signature campaign to stop the change in name.

Datuk Dr Lee Chong Meng, the Bukit Bintang MCA division chief and a former MP there, said the change was not justified, and that City Hall should focus on more meaningful issues.

Latest news (25/10/2008): Jalan Alor will keep its name


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