Flags of the New Regime (2013)

KL: The Second Coming

It’s been 6 years since I was last in KL, but that was a honeymoon and sightseeing weren’t exactly a priority, so we’re back for another look… One thing we missed on our last visit (much to the disappointment of the missus) was a trip up the Petronas Twin Towers. So we book ourselves in for a guided tour.

Up close the buildings are impressive, especially at night. The design is based on the Islamic 8 pointed star (or Rub el Hizb), which is used to mark the end of passages in the Q’uran. After a while, I start noticing it everywhere; it’s on the pavement, on the wall, at the station. The Malaysians seem obsessed with it.

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As Malaysia is a Muslim country I take the opportunity to brush up my knowledge. The Islamic Art Museum, the National Museum and some fella at the National Mosque give me the full SP. I find out that geometry is a big part of Islam as it “reflects the unfolding of god’s creation”* …Quite poetic really.

I like a bit of geometry myself… It takes me back to a John Squire exhibition I visited a couple of years ago in London. At the time the Stone Roses** guitarist was a full time artist and had put together a series of works called “Celebrity”, which used the Islamic 8 pointed star to depict the new gods of the 21st century.

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Source: www.johnsquire.com

So in sharp contrast to the religion itself I’m actually quite receptive to Islamic art and variations of it. I’ll just have to take Andy Warhol’s advice regarding its interpretation and give it my own meaning.

We don’t normally visit the same place twice, our usual preference is the road we’ve not yet travelled. But my newfound appreciation for the arabesque made the 5 days in KL worthwhile.


*For a bit more detail on what Muslims believe, I lifted this quote from the back of a book in the Islamic Art Museum’s gift shop.

Geometry is the universal language that gives proportion structure and form to the cycle of growth in all aspects of life. It is a practical tool for design and subsequently a way of appreciating spiritual values, archetypes and patterns that govern the order of the cosmos.

**And not forgetting the playlist:

Embrace – Come Back To What You Know (1998)

The Stones Roses – The Second Coming (1994)

2 thoughts on “KL: The Second Coming”

  1. Good to see what you are appreciating at the moment. Quite a lot of galleries in Vietnam but a lot freer style – which is my preference. Have been to the Mekong Delta today – sampan trip through the backwaters – green tea with lime juice – horse and cart ride – wonderful food – dinner on a boat tonight – staying in Saigon until tomorrow – have learnt a lot about Vietnam. The schedule has been intensive but tomorrow we fly to Nha Trang for our last four days to relax. We certainly need it. The company used here is http://www.asiantrails.info if that is of any use to you when you get here and may want a guide. Each one has been excellent. Lol Mum and Rae xxx


    1. It appeals to my mathematical mind. Apparently they used art to dissuade people from idolatry.

      Sounds like you’ve had a fascinating trip, I look forward to hearing more about it. Enjoy your beach time. We just have. Back to the city tomorrow… It looks like we’ll be staying in India a bit longer than originally planned. Angela’s found a yoga course that is quite good timing (and a lot cheaper than the equivalent in Oz). So it makes sense for her to do it. The impact being that we’ll have less time in Indochina, but I can use the time to plan that part of the trip a bit more efficiently. Your link should come in useful. Speak soon. Xx

      __ Ben Rook about.me/benrook


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