Wednesday, November 25, 2009
SKBD Lends Seahorses A Helping Hand
Environmentalists like me have always felt quite ambivalent towards, if not openly mistrustful of, property development and resource extraction corporations such as YTL, but I have to concede that the KL Performing Arts Centre is one of the conglomerate's finest success stories in that it manages to fuse artistic elegance with the preservation of structures with historical value.
The Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (KLPC) complex is a reclaimed and refurbished old railway building. Some of the construction materials were salvaged from railroad tracks and buildings that were to be demolished. I like the fact that the building allows for natural light and ventilation.
Visitors can stop by for a book and a cup of tea at the cosy Resource Centre within the KLPAC complex.
The abandoned old colonial railway station adds charm to Sentul Park. Trees line the roads; silent sentries of the dusk. Treading gently on the good Earth has paid off handsomely for YTL Corp where Sentul Park and KLPAC are concerned.
Nothing stirs in the abandoned railway building. There is nothing here but the trees and the secrets they keep. Taking a stroll in Sentul Park frequently feels like stepping into the past, when the backwaters of Kuala Lumpur are filled with shade trees and residential homes.
I was invited to attend a play on Tuesday, 24th November. There was to be a special offering by Sekolah Kebangsaan Bukit Damansara, and one of the parents in the organising committee had very kindly given me a VIP ticket for a very minor service I had rendered on 10th July, when I had been one of the judges for a project the schoolchildren did on seahorses.
The school chooses an endangered animal as its focus animal each year, and pupils from Year 1 to 5 produce artwork, factsheets and skits on the focus animal. Funds would be raised from donations and the sale of handmade craft items for a chosen environmental charity, and this year the funds would go to Save Our Seahorses (SOS Malaysia), one of the non-profit organisations closest to my heart. Tonight, the school Drama Club would be performing a play, the proceeds of which would also be directed to SOS Malaysia.
I have always averred that I dig Harold Pinter, not Harry Potter, and have only ever been to KLPAC for serious plays and dance dramas. A school concert by children who are passionate about saving marine animals would probably be a refreshing change. I dragged my friend Lynette along, and we got ready to be entertained, fully aware that we were the only people in the audience who were not the parents, grandparents or teachers of anyone in the cast.
The play was original and quite witty, and the children even managed to incorporate facts on seahorse mating and reproductive habits in the performance. Lynette and I ended up laughing at the bits that were probably not meant to be terribly funny, because the children were so cute that they were entirely unconvincing as evil witches and greedy fishermen. There was even a singing clam, which had us in stitches. It was quite a riot. The children were earnest and enchanting, and I am glad that I had attended the play, at least as a representative of the Malaysian Nature Society, if nothing else.
On behalf of Save Our Seahorses and the Malaysian Nature Society, I would like to thank the parents, teachers and pupils of Sekolah Kebangsaan Bukit Damansara for the wonderful effort they have put into raising awareness and funds for a worthy cause. Your spirit and passion are admirable!