It was in 1997. I was in standard 4 of primary school. The date was 31st of August. It was the first time, as far as my memory can recall, that I had seen this historical building close enough with my bare eyes. Together with my sister, we went with our auntie and her husband to celebrate the nation’s National Day, as it was called then.
Being a kid who love history and culture (yes, I know it is strange for a kid to LOVE history but I can’t help it. lol), I was mesmerized when I saw the building. I asked a lot of questions to my auntie about the history of this building. I have read in the textbook for kajian tempatan subject that when the clock at this building turned 12 on the night of 31st August 1957, the Union Jack was lowered down at the square in front of this building.
This building, named as the Sultan Abdul Samad building, in honour of the 4th Sultan of the state of Selangor, Almarhum Sultan Sir Abdul Samad, who was also the reigning sultan when the construction finished, is indeed a beautiful building and a sight to behold if one visits the capital city of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. As a city widely known for the skyscrapers and especially the twin towers, going to this part of the city will give visitors a different perspective of Kuala Lumpur.
That is why I listed this building as one of the things to do when one is in KL [read the post here]. This building has a lot of history. Do you know that the clock tower chimed for the first time to coincide with Queen Victoria’s Jubilee Parade in 1897? And it took only 3 years for this building to be completed, 1894 to 1897. That was impressive. Plus, the clock tower was the venue during the standardization of Malaysian time in 1982 where the time for the Peninsular, Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak was standardized.
Seeing this building today, I smiled. Because deep in my heart, I know that if this building could talk, it will tell 1001 stories of Malaysia seen through its facade and walls. It will tell what has it seen in terms of physical development of Malaysia and the development of Malaysia’s society. How people come and go and used this building as offices, Court houses, abandoned it, re-used it, beautified it…
And of course, visiting this building, I will smile, as my mind travels back to 31st August 1997, when Malaysia celebrated the 40th National Day, with the motto Akhlak Mulia Masyarakat Jaya – Good Values Make A Successful Society.
To go to Sultan Abdul Samad Building, take the LRT [either Kelana Jaya Line or Seri Petaling Line] and disembark at Masjid Jamek station. Exit the station and walk towards the City Hall/Merdeka Square area. The building will be on the left near Jalan Raja.