Saturday, December 4, 2010
The missing bowl - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
"[...]The three bowls represent Malaysia's multiracial culture living harmoniously in unity. Ascending to signify the growing aspirations of the people. Serenely the water converges from all directions, an endless source of blessing and prosperity[...]"
It's written near a sculptural fountain installed at the entrance of the Pavilion, a luxurious, modern shopping mall right in the center of Kuala Lumpur business and tourist district.
I guess that the three bowls represent those Malaysians whose forefathers came from the Indonesian archipelago, Eastern China and Southern India. How funny, they seem to have forgot to add at least another bowl: the one for the ethnic group that was already here before the pioneers of the other three arrived. The Orang Asli, the real Bumiputra, the sons of the land.
The name will probably remind some of you of the famous apes that live in the jungles of Borneo and Sumatra: the Orang Utan. Well, the majority of the Orang Asli also live in the jungle or in rural areas and, come to think about it, considering that the poverty rate among them is 76%, the omission of their bowl is quite appropriate, if that sculpture is meant to represent those races that share the political and economic power of the country, who live in the cities, patronize shopping malls like the Pavilion and for whom the water of the fountain is an endless source of blessing and prosperity.