KL’s Soulless Hipsters

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This article is by Lee Lian Kong and was previously published in The Selangor Times as “A Critique on KL: It’s Alive”.

A 20-something year old girl, dressed in the current trendy look (loose patterned blouse, denim shorts, aviators, brown highlighted hair) walks with her DSLR camera in her hands.

She flings it to the sky and the video sweeps into the (as per usual) spectacular aerial view of KL’s cityscape, highway and suburbs.

That’s how the Project Alive website begins. According to its YouTube page description, it aims to highlight a day in the life of “unconventional and forward-thinking individuals”.

Their aim is to show the lively side of KL with all its coolest things to the public eye.

There are fashion designers, singer-songwriters, leather craftmakers, tattoo artists, flea marketers.

Their products include graphic T-shirts, leather accessories, quirky clothes, phone covers, oversized black rimmed glasses without the lens. A fashion designer describes the qualities of one jacket, with treehugger undertones “there’s nothing plastic, no polyester. It’s all natural.”

Subcultures were featured, skateboarders and the rather weather-inappropriate Mods with their scarves and suits cruising KL roads with Vespas.

Of course the beverage of choice for young hipsters are overpriced espresso based coffee complete with latte art.

As such, Artisan Roast café was featured, with a barista making espresso and latte art, while the owner gives us a slogan “Conversation as a reason and coffee as an excuse.”

Nightlife begins at 11.11pm, defined by shisha, nightclubs, dubstep, flaming Lamborghinis, DJs, ecstatic dancers, LED lightshow.

The video ends with cyclists on highways and all these people coming together at a roadside stall for drinks and finishes with these words “Share the passion that makes your city great.”

As a piece of commercial advertisement for a small fraction of KL-ites, it hits all the right “indie” nerves. It’s hip, it’s young, it’s stylish.

For that, kudos to the director and production crew. Let’s give credit where credit is due.

But one thing we cannot commend the video for is its originality. Or the severe lack of it.

To paraphrase Shakespeare, it is a tale told by a hipster, full of style and visuals, signifying nothing.

Well, close to nothing.

Like what half the comments left on its YouTube channel says, the video does represent KL, but just a tiny fraction of it.

There is no fault in showing a minority view of our city. After all, this isn’t a documentary, hence, we can omit the need for a comprehensive view of KL or to show the ‘real’ KL.

The problem with this video is its lack of originality. This culture they expound is one consumed from MTV, not one genuinely conceived from KL.

Children of middle to upper middle class convert their money into “cultural capital” by buying objects or activities of “cool”.

What they show to be cool and is called as progress, is merely the A-grade adoption of a Western-oriented culture with predominantly American and MTV origins.

They like fashion, “alternative” activities i.e. cycling and join the next cool subculture by consuming. What they call unconventional is the wearing of RayBans and skinny jeans like every other young ones do. The depth of these ‘forward-thinking individuals’ goes as deep as opening a coffee shop and a poor fusion of electro musical styles that they call “lapsap” music.

By not owning these cultures and merely adopting it, the activities shown seem synthetic and artificial.

It shows an urban youth that is not really getting the measure of where they were living, having no idea about their community there and forsaking their rich cultural history for the next ‘cool’ imported thing.

Remove the token scene of tudung-ed women and the food, this video can be adapted to just about any other city.

Why adopt someone else’s culture? The leftover of someone else’s dinner is hardly a delicious meal.

Is the video another example of our prolonged post-colonial hang-up, alongside the usual sarong party girls at Changkat Bukit Bintang and the adoption of American accents to be seen as superior?

Yes, we are not excluded from globalization. Nor are we immune to western cultural imperialism.

Yet, the Westernisation of KL is not one done by surrendering, where we abandon all our culture for theirs.

There is a clear, undeniable struggle between preserving our identity amidst the constant bombardment of Western elements.

This may be a weak struggle and all odds seem to be against us. Nevertheless, this struggle is acutely present. This video failed to capture this essential bit of KL in its rush to voluntarily embrace everything Western.

And for that, it strongly hints of a group of urban youth who is not proud of their heritage, bereft of a soul they can call their own.

Lee Lian Kong welcomes all feedback (even from hipsters) to her email at [email protected]

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121 Responses to KL’s Soulless Hipsters

  1. starranise

    This isn't an attack on 'hipsters', it's an attack on the Malaysian creative industry.

    As a Malaysian, you should understand the amount of censorship our creative industry has to endure. Whether it's a film or the Mak Yong or pocho-pocho, our government has done a lot to ensure that Malaysians don't become a society that can think critically.

    Not to mention our budgets for the creative industries are always so skinny. We don't get enough support for the arts. These are reasons why we're not producing enough creative work.

    This is why we're always importing cinema, art and music from other countries to meet the demand for arts and entertainment that our locals are not at liberty to supply. That's why we're influenced by external cultures, it's not cos we watch MTV. Hipsters don't even watch MTV. -_-

    Besides, if you could sum up KL in 9 minutes, it wouldn't be a city worth going to then, huh? That's why the video calls for entries for people to show their side of the city.

  2. izzymusa

    On a personal thought, I'm just doing what I love to do. Yes, I admit, Efterklang, 65daysofstatic, Mew and such has influenced my music. Yes, they are from the west. But, I am from KL, Malaysia. They are just influences and doesn't change my way of views towards my own culture.

  3. Do something instead of ranting about it. Get involved with your community, start an art project, draw, write, volunteer, make things and not copy ideas. That's how you grow creativity, instead of hanging out at malls. That's what kids do these days, no?

  4. i think the writer wear his baju kung fu everyday at work.

  5. Loveseat

    LLK, I must say, you have a very important point there. That in the face of rapid westernization, it is imperative that we do our best to preserve our identities, values and culture in general. Shame, it was written choke-full of stereotypes, hasty and untenable generalizations and even personal attacks.

    What ticks me most is that you grossly underestimated not only the creative abilities of the people featured in the video but also their attachment to their heritage and their nationalistic pride. Let me share this: One of the clubs you see in the video, Deer Society is one of the few places you could actually listened to a locally produced track out loud. It stands alone and is the outlier against what you label as SPG infested MTV-dominated Changkat Bukit Bintang.

    This is the kind of place where it's OK to play our National Anthem in its entirety at peak time. When I played Negaraku on what was a special day (on the night of Bersih 3.0 and not because I wanted to be ironic), the same people you criticized in your piece came to me and said their hairs stood up like never before and I understood that the country and who we are matters a lot to them.

  6. P. Balan

    In Penang, we do not have such problems. There is no dispute as to what the culture is, or is not. We know where and what our roots are.

    The fact that KL peeps are fighting with each other on this, is illustrative of a identity crisis – what defines a KL-ite? No one knows for sure anymore.

    • John T

      I disagree. I live in Penang, and travel frequently to my hometown in KL.

      Like KL, Penang has a whole bunch of different cultures (and subcultures, if you know where to find them). There is no single definitive list on culture for Penang, or even for Malaysia. Even hipster-ism, to borrow that inaccurate blanket stereotype, is taking root among some youngsters here.

      I would like to add more, but I need to meet my friends at some music studio at Weld Quay…

  7. It seems that the author harbours a deep-seated resentment for anything progressive, fresh and exciting. Big cities evolve, improve, borrow and get influenced all the time. New York city, for example, wasn't born as the iconic landscape it is today. It's a city full of immigrants, cultures, style, music, art and even the hipsters that author dislikes so much.

    As the other commemorators have brought up, what is original anyway? In a global environment, everyone affects one another. But I concede that in our city of 8 billion, some people have to play the role of Katak Bawah Tempurung. After all it takes all sorts.

    Most interestingly to me, the irony here is that the author's hate for things that are popular (whether that is now your idea of a KL hipster) makes the author the true hipster here.

    • gianne

      "It seems that the author harbours a deep-seated resentment for anything progressive, fresh and exciting."

      I think that seem to represent what the author and a commentator (Zarul) is trying to point out; the question about identity. Your last three words in the sentence above is very telling. The ingrained opinion that what seems Western are those, and what aren't are kolot, old and boring. I used to teach in an art college, and I had this jarring realisation that we do not have an identity. My kids in majority adopted many Western styles, which is lovely too, but there's something that I felt uncomfortable with when I reviewed their works.

      The closest I could come to describe it is that, it makes sense for Western artists because this is their history… and I mean it in the sense that art style intertwines with their societal progress as they developed. But us? We have no root in *their* history. We follow things that has no root in OUR amazingly rich history and culture. Thus, it feels empty. (Granted, we're unlike Indonesia or Thailand or Japan who held onto their culture; ours tries to downplay our Hindu/Buddhist roots out of shame.) I hope I make sense… still trying to articulate my thoughts.

      I don't think that the author hates such activities. While there's no problem with the hardworking folks in the video, we could try to strive in truly finding our own unique identity. Maybe that's her real message.

  8. Proudmalay

    Hey if you want to be a REAL malaysian, then why dont we all start to abolish ALL western cultures and go back to our traditional way, wearing "baju melayu","cheongsam","sari" and all, plus our education system too. Why dont we stop sending our generation and generation after us to study abroad and start sending them in our local school/uni/college and strongly focus on OUR culture. Let say Malaysia be 100% communist and be cut out from outside of Malaysia. I guess that's the only way we can achieve our target of being a TRUE malaysian and can portray the TRUE Malaysia. Hate me for saying this i dont mind, What i can see in malaysian we dont have many of our own roots to be proud of, but at least we malaysian are at making fusion of everything. For my opinion why dont we start to appreciate EVERYTHING that produce and made from Malaysian and get rid of that jealousy, envy, status that has been built-in in EVERY malaysians (i would proudly say that i do too have that attitude). We can preserve our culture but we should move paralel with technology, knowledge and lifestyle.

    I love my country Malaysia but i hate our Malaysian mentality of being too obscure. Open your mind Malaysians, let's produce or reproduce, use or reuse what we past and currently have and build a better Malaysian (why i use "Malaysian" instead of "Malaysia" is because , Malaysia is a country and Malaysian is US, if we Malaysian work together positively we'll build a better Malaysia).

  9. Lulu

    Kepada Si Adinda yang tampaknya gemar menulis tanpa mengkaji,
    Yang memperkecilkan tanpa cuba memahami,
    Apakah sebenarnya ‘kebudayan tulen’ Bandar Kuala Lumpur kita,
    Yang Si Adinda begitu terdesak untuk mempertahankan?
    Batu seremban, congkak atau pasar tani?

    Perkataan memang ‘hipster’ tidak terjemah di bahasa kita,
    Adakah ini alasan Si Dinda untuk menulis dalam bahasa Barat,
    Dan bukannya Bahasa Malaysia?
    Oh, Dusta!

    Wahai Si Dinda yang begitu bangga dengan kebudayaan Negara,
    Mengapa Si Dinda memetik Macbeth,
    Dan bukannya karya sasterawan Negara?
    Adakah di dalam dunia Dinda kejituan A Samad Said,
    Tiada makna?

    Jati diri tidak tergugat oleh secawan kopi,
    Rukun Negara tidak terhiris oleh Deer Society.

    Berdosakah belia kerana menjadi usahawan
    Yang menjual basikal atau pakaian harian?
    Tenaga yang dicurah untuk mengejar impian,
    Sempadan minda dan tanah diharungi,
    Nama Negara diharumi.

    Di mana letaknya masalah sebenar, Si Adinda?

    Lapan minit lima puluh dua saat,
    Sememangnya terlampau singkat,
    untuk menggambarkan KL kita,
    Secara terperinci dan dengan tepat.
    Tetapi janganlah Si Dinda,
    Samakan kandungan video hebat,
    Dengan melacur Negara kepada kebudayaan Barat.

    Percayalah si Dinda,
    Hipster ada jiwa!

    • Masyarakat Burung

      Ya betul 8 minit 52 saat terlampau singkat untuk menggambarkan KL kita kerana itu penulis seperti mensasarkan kepada golongan spesifik watak-watak dalam video "mereka dan kawan-kawan mereka sahaja kemudian letak tajuk 'KL'". Penulis merasa terpanggil untuk menulis mungkin merasakan video tu poyo dan semestinya bukan penulis sahaja yang merasakan demikian. Pada aku apa yang dimaksudkan oleh penulis sebagai "original" dalam artikel tu bermaksud "organik" atau muncul dari akar umbi berbanding dengan copy n paste dari "western" maka dengan itu akan jadi tiada jiwa. Sebab tu budaya sebegini tak sama di setiap tempat. Budaya "indie" di Bandung, London, New York atau Kuala Lumpur serupa tapi tak sama kerana muncul dari akar umbi dan ada yang copy n paste. Terdapat juga unsur kelas sosioekonomi yang ditekankan oleh penulis iaitu anak-anak golongan kelas menengah atas atau yuppies yang berbelanja uber-konsumer demi cool. Golongan subbudaya mod dan skinhead Nazi yang menunggang Vespa dari Keramat yang gemar bertumbuk dan mencuri Vespa, arwah Aboroko atau pun budaya songsang anak-anak Food Not Bombs yang sudah lebih 10 tahun berkhidmat di jalanan dah tentu tidak digolong oleh pembikin video itu. Tak semua ada jiwa, terutama pada watak-watak dalam video tu.

    • This is such a good reply!

    • So fucking hipster

  10. Suffian

    The quote about coffee was from Tsa from Mollydookers, not from Artisan.

  11. First rule of a hipster is to live in constant irony, so a hipster shall never admit they are one. The paradox of hipster is that they try to be unique yet accidentally became so uniformed & easily stereotyped by outsiders. I am not new with subcultures & all, some hipsters were from the punk scene etc. but I just can't brain hipster'ism'.
    The main problem for me is they would call themselves 'Indie', Bohemian, Surrealist & Dadaist bla..bla..bla without any agenda just being unique yet not at all. The real Indie might distance themselves from this faux-indie hipster because everything is so artificial, not organic. How on earth they suddenly became vintage, artsy and all, calling themselves as unique yet they are the same as their counterpart in the borrough of Brooklyn and somewhere around Melbourne or Sydney.
    At least a hippie have an agenda, these hipster just go for organic during the day then party and get wasted at night, WTF? Just Irony. Living like a faux-hobo, yet a trust-fund yuppie child? God, I can't brain this whole sub-culture, I know you people wouldn't admit a label, god you do have all those characteristics and academically it is very valid to call them HIPSTERS….. swivel swivel swivel…. *puke*

    DIsclaimer: My comment is highly personal, I don't mind hipster girls, I might sleep with one. I might don't like it & it is a sore-eye, but let them be.

  12. headsink

    First rule of a hipster is to live in constant irony, so a hipster shall never admit they are one. The paradox of hipster is that they try to be unique yet accidentally became so uniformed & easily stereotyped by outsiders. I am not new with subcultures & all, some hipsters were from the punk scene etc. but I just can't brain hipster'ism'.
    The main problem for me is they would call themselves 'Indie', Bohemian, Surrealist & Dadaist bla..bla..bla without any agenda just being unique yet not at all. The real Indie might distance themselves from this faux-indie hipster because everything is so artificial, not organic. How on earth they suddenly became vintage, artsy and all, calling themselves as unique yet they are the same as their counterpart in the borrough of Brooklyn and somewhere around Melbourne or Sydney.
    At least a hippie have an agenda, these hipster just go for organic during the day then party and get wasted at night, WTF? Just Irony. Living like a faux-hobo, yet a trust-fund yuppie child? God, I can't brain this whole sub-culture, I know you people wouldn't admit a label, god you do have all those characteristics and academically it is very valid to call them HIPSTERS….. swivel swivel swivel…. *puke*

  13. Jack Hoi

    Dear author,

    I feel obliged to leave a comment here because your article has struck a nerve — it has offended a lot of good Malaysians, including myself.

    You note that the video only highlights a fraction of KL, and that is true and accurate. There is so much more to KL. It is diverse and wide-ranging, constantly evolving and all-encompassing. It is obvious that the video does not seek to inform or promote facets of KL, or even Malaysia, as our Ministry of Tourism's 'Malaysia, Truly Asia' advertisements do.

    You also note that the video highlights alternative activities and subcultures existing in KL, which are trendy and current. This is also true and accurate. For lack of a better term, this is fondly known as 'hipsterdom'. You will agree that 'hipsterdom' is prevalent in all developing and developed countries, for instance, East Village in New York, Brixton and Camden in London, St. Kilda in Melbourne, Harajuku in Tokyo, and closer to home, Bandung in Indonesia, and the Haji Lane area in Singapore. Such places, along with the usual touristy sights, in each city, is what makes them great and truly alive.

    I do not propose to get into a discourse on 'hipsterdom' as it is a world wide phenomenon and is, deservedly or not, already a subject of much heated debate. What I do propose to discuss however is your allegation that the video and the good Malaysian featured in it are unoriginal and soulless. That allegation, my good author, is highly offensive and reek of anger and hate, and shows a distinct lack of appreciation, understanding and research of the subject matters of the video.

    Admittedly, many of the good Malaysians featured are my personal friends, and I am visibly upset on their behalf. If I may shed some light on what some of them do.

    Never Follow Suit is made up of 4 guys who are into fashion retail, and their funky boutique in Bangsar carries various labels, including locally designed and manufactured clothes, including Silas Liew's, who is making huge waves in the region and internationally for his fashion sensibilities, and thus making a good name for Malaysia. Would you, the good author, had criticized Zang Toi and Dato' Jimmy Choo when they were in the twilight of their careers?

    Alang, the barista at Artisan, is spearheading coffee culture in our city. Irman at Grafa is doing the same for fixies. The Deer Society boys are adding spice and spontaneity to a very mundane and predictable clubbing scene. I could go on and on.

    Admittedly also, the alternative activities and subcultures featured in the video, are influenced by Western culture. But the question is, 'What isn't?' Perhaps the good author could enlighten us with a follow-up article? Perhaps the good author could instead of going on this seemingly ranty, angsty, teenage-y dribble, the good author could produce a mature, insightful and meaningful exploration on what the real KL is to her, and how perhaps we are losing our traditional KL values and identities, and if we are, what we can do to not forget who we actually are?

    Is the architecture of the many new developments of high rise office and residential buildings in KL reflective of Malaysia design? Are Malaysian fashion designers forfeiting and forgetting Malaysian aesthetics in their pieces? Are Malaysian musicians and artistes blindly making music to fall in line with what is popular on MTV? Are Malaysian film directors and producers not weaving and telling truly Malaysian stories? I would like to know, and would be grateful if the good author could oblige me.

    The good Malaysians featured in the video are passionate people, talented in their craft and love the very essence of Malaysia. The good author in even slightly questioning that is terribly mistaken and that is sadly uncalled for.

    I'm clearly still upset.

  14. dirtybird

    Hey Lee Lian Kong, I want to quote your sign off in one of your previous articles dating back from April 2012, also related to KL city:

    "Fools that we are, we look to the past and elsewhere, instead of beautiful KL in front of us." http://www.selangortimes.com/index.php?section=vi…

    You clearly have a passion for your city, you give a shit and that's good. But, where were you looking when you wrote this article? Try step down from your perch and acknowledge that there are bits of KL that you are familiar with and yet plenty other sides of KL that you are still discovering now (it's ok, don't feel ashamed that you don't know it all, we're all in the same boat).

    Your words about "KL: It's Alive" seem ungrateful of the vibrant multi-facets this city holds, and your mindset is kinda whining on our modern days' progress. You call it Westernization, I call it the 21st Century. You see exclusivity and plenty wrong in a nice loose pattern blouse (it's just a shirt ya know), I see inclusivity and opportunities. Right here, you created a border while we created a bridge. Quit hatin' and glad you watched the video :)

  15. As much as I feel that the KL: It's Alive! campaign is a misrepresentation of our beloved city, it is also something that is inevitable, something we should embrace. I just feel it should've been named differently (Maybe KL: sub-section name: It's Alive)

    First off, say you were abroad and you just met this european dude. He says "I just saw deez video.. Kahula Lampur It's Alive! I love your city!" – What are you gonna say? Shit, that ain't KL, that just represents, what: 0.5% of or population? Make no mistake, I am not taking sides on this argument. I'm saying we're confused. We've always been confused.

    You say we're adopting this 'new' culture? When have we not? C'mon. How original are we? As far as I remember we've always been trying to keep up with the west (As far as I was alive lah, I don't want to be talking about the 70's coz I wasn't around yet.) From skinheads to vatos locos to the rock scene to the hip hop to the rave scene, always a few years behind. What have we learned? I'm not afraid to say it.

    We've always been POYO. All of us.

    All of us, looking for an identity, wanting to belong. Is this wrong? No, it ain't. It was just us, as a society, adapting, keeping up with the trends. But eventually all us of grow up, each of our styles being more mature – though keeping our signatures. 15 Years ago I always wore this red cap and I wore baggy jeans (Yeah I was hip hop then, still am. no more baggy lah.). Any rocker would pass by and say "Yo Too Phat. Fred Durst." This stereotype pissed me off, as I was friends with Too Phat and hated Fred Durst at the time. Normal la topi banyak colour kut. Wanting to say 'fuck off' was easy. But c'mon. Mr.Keep-It-Real-Kurt-Cobain. Or Mr-Scooter-Skinhead-Cool. NONE OF US WERE ORIGINAL.

    Yeah we would be Malaysian in our ways, but did any of us bring forward anything distinctly Malaysian? Everyone was adapting to a subculture. What are ya gonna do.

    Now in 2012 I wear a cap, a shirt, seluar pendek and a pair of Vans. AND someone calls me a hipster. Aiyoh we don't even know what that means.

    In 10 years there'll be another 'annoying sub-culture' that the current 'hipsters' will hate. It's just the cycle of life. Confused Malaysians adapting. Anyway, it's not just about the adapted subcultures. Most of us, we're too westernised for our own good. It's just the way of the world, get over it. LLK, I say this in the nicest way possible: If you want exquisite, original, unabashed, CULTURE, you'll have to balik kampung. Itu pon dah rumah batu (Melayu, Cina, India). Yep.

    • balapillai

      Instead of calling it "Westernised", why not call it "Happeningised"? When the Straits of Malacca was happening all the happening folks like Christopher Columbus, Alfonso D Alberquerque were heading over here and the happening folks (read royalty in Europe) fed on the porcelain of China and wore clothes dyed in the indigo of India.

      For many decades now, the West is happening and we are not ( though we are starting to). So humans adapt to what is Happening. What would we rather?

  16. xman

    Why do people jump when someone labels them a hipster? Is it the new poser?

  17. Ezhan Mohd Yusof

    This article stinks of xenophobia and perhaps even a tinge of chauvinism. The truth is we have a constitution drafted by a group of ang moh, a founding father who was Malay and yet counted Mahjong as a favourite past-time, and most of us cannot have a conversation without having at least 3 languages mixed up together. This is Malaysia, girl. Where have you been living?
    And if you have issues with the cultural capital, people buying things they don't need, and well, capitalism in general—it's your choice, by all means, embrace communism!

  18. cheong

    LLK, so what are you really?

  19. adudu

    from the words of Billy Corgan – hipsters.. UNITE! in this case.. hipsters got their panties in a knot..

  20. ganjaman3000

    Everybody's just looking to label everything "hipster". Goddamit man, it isn't even a subculture. LLK seems to be out of touch of what's going on in her own country. To me it seems like the people interviewed in KL: It's Alive are just people doing things out of passion, and there's nothing fucking westernised about the whole thing. This rant is an uneducated guesstimate to what being "cool" is about. The video isn't highlighting "cool" shit… it's highlighting people doing things out of the norm that 1Malaysians shun on a whim. And with a lack of a better word to describe these people with passion, we call them "hipsters". LLK is probably one of those people who complain about the Malaysian art scene not being up to par, but wouldn't recognise what's "original" if it hit her in the face. I for one am proud that these guys can do what they love and support themselves doing it. And if LLK wants brainwashed cuti-cuti Malaysia shit, change the channel lah, go and watch your nasi lemak/teh tarik specials that's been repeated a bajillion times on tv… that's probably more original to her than people trying new shit in the city.

    I actually don't give a fuck about the video. I just think people need to chill the fuck out. At the end of the day, LLK is just hating on something simply to seem opinionated and "cool". If she had found Artisan Roast on her own, or read it on a blog, she'd probably be raving the shit out of it. But because it was packaged in a video that isn't 1Malaysia enough for her, she finds it pretentious.

    I just think LLK (and everyone in general) just needs to chill the fuck out. The hatred towards hipsters is starting to be as nonsensical as the hatred towards an 18 year old kid doing what he loves.

    *sidenote* I also think everyone should just chill the fuck out about Bieber.

  21. Gwen

    When I'm traveling aboard, I tend to look online to see what are the things that I'd enjoy doing instead of the usual "Attractive tourist activities in X city". Assuming there are people like me abroad who'd like to check out the local scenes in KL and not just another cave, another temple, another mountain, this video shows that our city is more alive than the 365 years old temple that we have.

    Look at all the people featured in this video. They are the KL-ites, who whether original or not, are truly passionate about what they do and with their passion has brought such excitement to the city instead of just more and more shopping malls with even more influence from the Western country (FOREVER 21 ZOMG TOPSHOP ZOMG H&M ZOMG). Isn't that what's most important?

    If you think this is unoriginal, then throw away your Moleskin or whatever and try writing everything down on your Buku 555, if you can still find it.

  22. LLK did not do her research thoroughly when she called Artisan Roast coffee overpriced. Paying RM10 for Alang's pour is worth every sen. I pay on average A$3.80 for a good cuppa here in Melbourne and tbh, although I think the espressos are spot on, the frothing of milk are still inconsistent, even at the coffee royalties.

    At Artisan, the aroma of espresso and body of milk are always consistent and the blanket of foam has little to no micro-bubbles. Compare that to Starbucks' whatever-latte which consists of FOAMFOAMFOAM in half the mug costing RM1X! I have to say the range of bean origins are wide here, but consistency of quality frothing and friendliness goes to Alang back home!

    Also, LLK, you think latte art is easy? Pschfff, if you can pour a better rosetta than Alang, I'll buy you………who am I kidding, of course you can't. You obviously don't know coffee.

  23. Zarul Wong

    A lot of butthurt local pseudo-hipsters rallying desperately to defend their shallow, self-absorbed, self-important, surface understanding of the world, I see. I find it funny that some of the comments claim themselves as "not identifying themselves as hipsters", yet seem quite offended by an article making fun of the whole local hipster scene.

    What the author is trying to convey here, which I feel most people missed, is a frustration upon the so-called more worldly urban population's tendency to simply adapt an Americanized substandard subculture just for the sake of being "cool". With absolutely no context to their local culture. Just wholesale carbon-copy of an already ridiculed subculture. To put it in perspective, take a look at Shinjuku. The myriad of street fashion and culture's derivative is minimal, and even then it is somehow organically woven into whatever subculture it happens to be, be it the gothic lolitas or a ganguro girl. In the Malaysian context, the closest we have in terms of an original subculture is probably the Mat Rempit, but of course they are vilified because they have bad PR, are not considered "cool" or "trendy", and are generally from the near poverty income bracket.

    Taking into account the whole KL: It's Alive video and we see wholesale self-absorbed poseurs trying too hard to make themselves relevant. Their defense is that it just portrays a small part of KL life, then snobbishly making fun of actual local cultures. That's not the point. Of course, local pseudo-hipsters always miss the point anyway.

    • I feel obliged to respond to this because I used the exact words "do not identify myself as a hipster" in my earlier comment. Allow me to clarify – I truly don't. I wear skinny jeans sometimes for more vain reasons than identity-related ones, use a film camera because I want to learn the care and consideration early photographers put into each and every photograph and love LapSap and other music that very few DJs play on the radio. If the author and yourself refers to me as a "hipster" for all the above, so be it.

      But both you and maybe even the author make some very judgmental generalisations that seriously ticked off many hardworking Malaysians.

      The idea that anyone would start a business or pursue an unpopular career (such as barrista-ing) for the sake of being "cool" and "making themselves relevant" is preposterous. Doesn't matter if it's a clothing store, designer label, tattoo parlour or coffee shop – they all take guts, blood, sweat and most importantly, a hell lot of love.

      What I tried to say earlier, and what I feel most people who've "defended hipster culture" are saying that is that the people featured in the video are Malaysians contributing to the economy and our creative scene. Who dare to go places that few Malaysians dare to, and who will hopefully inspire other young Malaysians to do what they love.

      They certainly don't deserve to be hated on.

      Most importantly, most of these commenters who are "defending hipsterism" (or whatever hipster is anyway) have only made a judgment on the article, and haven't gone on an all out personal attack on the author for her opinion. Yet at least, But the author and yourself have judged so conveniently based on the clothes we wear, things we own and what we choose to do.

      I think that says more about you both than it does about "hipsters".

      • Zarul Wong

        Dear Ms. Pot,

        I read your response and I must say that, if anything else, I am very much impressed by your vigor in having yourself heard over this ultimately trivial matter which I no doubt the pseudo-hipsters who voraciously defend the shallow video will think of as a "moral victory" for them because they have spoken out in defense of their brothers and sister in arms of hipsterism.

        I find it quite a convenient ploy by the local pseudo-hipsters to feign ignorance on what is "hipster" in the first place. Of course, this ironic rejection of social labelling and a self-delusion that one is not "hipster" while enjoying the so-called hipster lifestyle is the paramount of the hipster culture anyway. At least you poseurs got this part right.

        Again, I suppose most people who defend hipsterism (not you specifically, Ms. Pot) can't get over their self-indulgent, self-importance arrogant, hipster mindset to see what Ms. LLK (and a lot of people outside of this forum) are trying to say in their scathing critique.

        You say that "the people featured in the video are Malaysians contributing to the economy and our creative scene. Who dare to go places that few Malaysians dare to, and who will hopefully inspire other young Malaysians to do what they love…". Well, they aren't the only ones contributing to the economy, you know? There are thousands of other individuals making changes and contributing yet don't get their due recognition because they aren't part of the hipster crowd. That's the problem with these hipsters. You think you open up a quaint little coffeeshop with your quaint little vintage typewriters as decor and you think you're something special. Meanwhile, there are hawkers in the roadside doing that for decades to eke out a living and they don't get highlighted because they are far from cool and they don't portray the superficial imagery hipsters worship so much.

        A comment by Jack Hoi, biasedly extolling the virtues of his friends' efforts, while endearing, do nothing more than to distinctly show the groundless self-absorbed arrogance of the local pseudo-hipster "culture". He states that he is "visibly upset" and is probably crying in a corner somewhere and burning scented candles. He also says:

        "Never Follow Suit is made up of 4 guys who are into fashion retail, and their funky boutique in Bangsar carries various labels, including locally designed and manufactured clothes, including Silas Liew's, who is making huge waves in the region and internationally for his fashion sensibilities, and thus making a good name for Malaysia…"

        He goes on to say:

        "Alang, the barista at Artisan, is spearheading coffee culture in our city. Irman at Grafa is doing the same for fixies. The Deer Society boys are adding spice and spontaneity to a very mundane and predictable clubbing scene. I could go on and on."

        So? And? As if there aren't any other fashion designers who aren't making headway in the fashion scene. Of course they are, but since they aren't from his pretentious clique of hipster friends, he dismisses all other contributions outright. As if opening up a fixed gear bicycle shop is the most novel idea to have ever been thought up.

        The main gripe in the whole pseudo-hipster counter-culture (if there ever was such a thing, at any rate it would be inevitable anyway) is that people are sick and tired of these small minority of self-absorbed clique claiming they're the only ones who contribute to anything, and then in the same breath being dismissive of of the more "mainstream" or less "happening" efforts. The "KL: It's Alive" video is a fine example of this.

        So these local pseudo-hipsters should really expand your worldview. Stop boxing yourselves into the predictable stereotypes and then maybe you'll be less indignant when someone pulls you down from your pretentious high horse.

  24. LLK, the people you criticize in your article are people who are doing their part to contribute to society regardless of the profession they choose. As the saying goes, "Don't be part of the problem, be part of the solution," Now, tell me LLK, what are your suggestions

  25. Honest, emotionally charged piece. The article itself is a great example of how KL hosts a wide range of people and opinions. I imagine, if the article employed less hate and more mature considerations, the author would not be as easily discounted as a bitter teenager on a sulky rant, and more people could engage with the author's perspectives more constructively.

    However, could the piece have been intended as a simple hate rant?

    If the author did have noble intentions to challenge and explore culture and identity, perhaps she can be brave enough to follow up with a piece on how she lives her Malaysian identity for others to compare and judge.

  26. Anon

    The truth is, you just couldn't accept the fact about KL. Obviously, I am not one of them. Not hipster and so on. But its the truth about KL. Why aren't you doing something to stop or forbid or do anything that would stop KL from being westernized? Don't just talk, act.

  27. Mat X

    please excuse miss, FYI, I first bought the hives cd back in 2002, i would say this is the first time i embraced modern 'hipster' culture (however much i hate the term) this is 10 years ago, well before the word 'hipster; was brought back into circulation. I may have been in melbourne at the time but you could consider it one of the places where hipsterism first really took off, before it was labelled, before it was hated by everybody who wasn't a part of it and didn't understand it and what's more? I am a Malaysian.

    I didn't copy my beliefs, my style and the music i listened too from anybody, its just what we were doing at the time, there and then. Now it's 2012, many of my friends back in Melbourne have now progressed to accomplishing big things in these 'hipster' activities we were partaking at the time, many are accomplished musicians, small business owners and environmentalists, making a good living doing what they love, just like my friends in Malaysia. Had these people achieved the same success in areas that are considered NOT hipster, you would commend them as valuable members of society, but because they're wearing skinny jeans, they're just another hipster… L.A.T.F.H.

    Now that Malaysian's are achieving success, FINALLY, achieving an environment where we can be creative and successful, people like you want to hate on it because you are just too backward to even WANT to understand so that you can appreciate how positive it all truly is.

    It is this narrow-mindedness that keeps making us as Malaysians go backwards. That anti-progression, anti-change, anti-western, anti-getting-us-out-of-still-kampung-status bullsh*t rhetoric that we are oh so used to. Hate anything progressive, then complain that the country is so backward. Makes no sense. Well done.

  28. Nik Mat

    HAHAH yang terasa tu jgn la marah sngt. Get ur own culture foolz. Tu la layan internet banyak sngat main tibai je tiru gelagat om putih. kan dah kena sound !!!!! takde beza ngan kereta2 proton yg tiru dezign mitsubishi. tukar nama sikit dah kira ori la tu !!

  29. Little Prince

    … culture… so you Chinese… do you wear your cheong sam everyday or only during Chinese New Year? oh no? DAYUM! why not? you have been too westernized! oh wait what? you don't even wear the baju kurung daily? DAYUM but u r a Malaysian Chinese… no?

  30. elliotng

    Reads like someone who wanted so much to be in the 'hip' crowd and got rejected big time!

  31. Human

    Penulis artikel mesti orang tua.

  32. :DD


  33. mmmeng

    Boring article.

  34. I wish people would just overlook this whole "hipster" labelling and just be proud that our local young creatives are actually doing something good to better themselves and others instead of just loitering around in front of malls and do nothing.

    By the way, I didn't know that accidental patterned blouse I wore while throwing the camera would be considered trendy. Plus, if you're gonna stereotype, at least don't stereotype the camera.

  35. Joachim

    Pffff. Labels. Western. Eastern. Malaysian.

    What is behind it? People. Getting together. Finding common interests. Sharing some love. (yes, sounds a bit hippie but bear with me)

    Get over yourselves and whose culture is better. All there is, is.

  36. Cikgu in an SMK

    I think the term 'hipster' is being overused and generalised. For me, a true hipster is someone who tries to be someone he is not. A hipster is also a paradox. They try SO HARD to be different that they fit in to a predictable, obnoxious breed of people – think sneers when someone mentions Coldplay, pseudo-inspirational quotes on random instagram photos, etc.

    So by this definition of hipsters, the people featured in the video can definitely NOT be termed as hipsters. Talk to any of them, and I'm sure they are driven by their innate passion for what they do, and not what other people term 'cool' or 'alternative'. There is no denying that we are definitely influenced by overseas culture, especially the US, UK and Australia. Many of us graduated from there, and they are (and have been) major exports of culture since decades ago. We sample their culture, and we make it better, kan?

    So I guess we just have to chilout over a glass of affogato, share the thoughts and YOLO stories that we wrote in our Moleskins, and maybe listen to some Ben Iver together.

    Oh wait, look at me trying to be a faux-hipster here. =p

  37. There is some truth to some of the authors statement, however, she goes on a major tangent not understanding the purpose of the video.

    Obviously the author has never bought a can of coke or ate a big mac before because she doesn't believe in westernisation. She probably doesn't not watch films imported from the united states, or better yet, hong kong or Taiwan, cause as you know, it is compromising our identity as Malaysians.

    As for originality of the video. Let me paraphrase her paraphrasing Shakespeare…. Or better yet. Let me quote another of Shakespeare's work which I can use to sum up these arguments. "Much ado about nothing".

    If you are going to comment about the subculture, understand it first. Your blind assertions of Americanisation and MTV-isation clearly shows that not only do you not have a clear idea of what subculture is, but your understanding of what is culture is also significantly lacking.

    These activities are non traditionalist for Malaysians and therefore means they are invalid. If there was an Olympic sport in extreme prejudice and narrow-mindedness you would win gold. Malaysia boleh.

  38. Teej

    What is true authentic KL culture to you? As far the video goes, it's not trying to impose that those sub-cultures are what defines KL. Like other melting pot urban centres, KL is a pastiche of many cultures ( traditional and "Western") that clash, mix and interact in exciting ways. The "against western" culture argument is nonsensical. Democracy is a part of western culture, do we have to reject it?

    I think your article would be more honest and authentic if you would just put the caveat that you just really, really hate hipsters instead of couching it as a "critique".

  39. choen

    Aiyo, kenapa serius sangat? KL macam kuih lapis kan.

  40. phang

    what everyone here failed to understand from this post is that this video does not represent KL in its very essence at all, but only a fraction of what KL actually is: the rich and the consumerist side of KL. it is not evolution, it is advertising, the most crude and under-defined. Is KL merely about new businesses? new brands by the young? consumed and lauded for its "coolness"? is that the only thing KL can be? is that truly the "evolution" of KL? here we are at the brink of a social, cultural and communal revolution in the face of globalization and all that has been happening and all this video captures is how to dress cool, drink cool and be cool. Cool in the context of what? mass-commercialization and consumerism.

    Really, is that ALL KL CAN BE and SHOULD BE?

    Consumerism isn't a "sub-culture". and to call what this video represents as "indie" is an insult to the term itself.

    granted that this post falsely accuses everything in the video as "westernised", but to have such an obscure view as to defending the video as an inclusive view of what KL is, or KL's so-called "evolution" merely serves to undermine KL city and all of its peoples, young, old, "mainstream" or "subculture" true potentials.

    and that is to become more than just a consumerist city. but the very centre of our identity and the very forefront of what Malaysia can be.

    the video captures none of that.

    what is originality you ask?

    if you need to ask that question, then you don't have it. it is as clear as that.

    • Marney

      But this video highlight a lot of creators, Malaysians who are business owners, designers, DJ's, tattoo artists. These are not people buying things, but making things. What they do shapes KL more than the average consumer, so they do represent KL. They contribute to it, they are a part of it.

      • phang

        it isn't just about making things, KL isn't just about making things, just making these things isn't enough to "shape KL", they just exist.

    • Teej

      Asides from the commercial intent of the video by the brand behind it, I hardly see the threat of mass-commercialization and consumerism ascribed by you in the video. I dare say that these "soulless hipsters" are engaging in rather niche and non-traditional ways ( at least according to traditional Asian mindsets) of making a living.

      If you want to rail against consumerism, I think the massive proliferation of strip malls, the increasing disappearance of our public spaces to developers, the rise of walled-in gated communities, would be better targets.

      Originality is over-rated btw. The good artist studies his influences, honors them, credits them, steals from them, and ultimately remixes and transforms. And I think KL is uniquely poised to do that.

      • phang

        you are right, i should be railing against malls if i;m railing about consumersim.

        but that's not my point. my point is KL city deserves a lot more that a commercial video like that to represent it.

    • xaden

      Please sir, describe this consumerism and hipster free urban utopia that you proudly you speak of. Does such a place really exist?

      What is exactly "more than just a consumerist city. but the very centre of our identity and the very forefront of what Malaysia can be"?

      Defend this article all you want, but so far none has actually came forth and came up with a description of this "perfect KL utopia''. You need to backtrack just a little bit and realise that this video was created with the sole purpose to showcase the 'cool' and 'hip' happenings around Kuala Lumpur, as simple as that. Which is probably why you noticed the 'consumerism' undertones. I fail to see the connection between drinking coffee and having a good time being defined as an activity for "the rich and the consumerist side of KL" as you so eloquently put. This video was never entitled 'as 'THE REAL KL'. and was never meant to portray Kuala Lumpur as a consumerist city. It was a brief 8 minute showcase of the best spots and activities urban Malaysiana has to offer. If you actually bothered to watch the video in full, you'll realise that the video ends with a message urging Malaysians to send videos on how they think best represents KL.

      You see, Kuala Lumpur does not belong to you, to me, to the article writer or to the hipsters. Kuala Lumpur is what we make of it, and I feel that the video did a GREAT job of showcasing young entrepreneurs, artists and musicians doing what they do best.

      'Subcultures' are what you make of it and they evolve with time. You stating that you know what is legitimately 'indie' and what's not, might be the most 'hipster' thing I've ever heard.. Who are you to say that the businesses, the art, music and culture these kids scraped long and hard to build, isn't legit in your eyes?

      You sir, are by far the biggest 'hipster' there is.

      • HokkienLang

        Hey , we can use this video on the HIPSTER travel network. Them thick rimmed glasses, moustached boys & girls in Brooklyn will LOVE this and we get hipster tourism dollars man! :P

        jokes aside, nothing indie about this. it IS predominantly middle class youths and this ad is sponsored by of all companies Merc Benz, LOL, which is uncool as it can get ( or is it now? ahh the pursuit for popular recognition, yeah, thats indie for you these days LOL).

      • phang

        one: never once have i mentioned the word "hipster", i don't agree with a lot of things the article says, the usage of the term being one, so i think you're over-reacting.

        two: i never said i wanted a "hipster-free utopia". if you don't mind, please don;t put words in my mouth, i can do that on my own.

        three: i am not "defending this article", i'm merely pointing out the fact that there are truths that the post hits home.

        "this video was created with the sole purpose to showcase the 'cool' and 'hip' happenings around Kuala Lumpur, as simple as that. "

        there in lies the problem, the video was created with the sole purpose to showcase the 'cool' and 'hip'. and here you are jumping the proverbial guns shooting everything that attempts to pass critique upon it.

        what? a video that proclaims to show my city does not warrant my comment? does not entitle me to have a contradicting opinion? does not allow me to say that MY CITY IS MORE THAN THAT?

        four: "I feel that the video did a GREAT job of showcasing young entrepreneurs, artists and musicians doing what they do best. "

        you obviously do not know enough young entrepreneurs, artists and musicians. there are a lot more people out there doing a lot more powerful, relevant and important work out there. work that not only pushes the envelope of their individual work, but challenges perceptions, challenges ideas and not merely showing you what makes "a good time."

        five: the term "subculture" isn't just about a bunch of unknown people doing "cool" stuff that isn't featured and given attention to the mass. it is about, again, cultures that exist to challenge what is held as the so-called "mainstream." i have no doubt that the people featured in it put in their heart and soul into the things they do. that is not my point, my point is that the video shows such a shallow view of what these people are doing that it does them no justice, nor does it do the "subcultures" of KL any justice at all, and it paints a very very weak and hollow picture of what subcultures can be. yes they evolve with time, but the core philosophy of subcultures and their existence is to challenge the norm. what do you think "punk", "hippies", or our very own "indie music/band" are about? just a bunch of idiots prancing around showing how happy and cool they are? because that's exactly what the video shows. a bunch of idiots, when they are more than that.

        six: did i say they ain't legit? kid, you really are just jumping your guns and aiming at anti-hipster-ness.

        seven: it is not about describing the "perfect" KL. it is about showing KL as it is. and if this video is all that KL is, it's a very shallow and weak picture we're painting.

        what would i like to see in a video that proclaims KL city to be "alive"? i'd like to hear some depth from the people who are featured. i'd like to see, in an 8min video, that the young are not just having fun, but actually pushing boundaries and challenging the norm. i'd like to see the occupy dataran kids in there. i'd like to see graffiti artists that trail the thin-line of art and evading authority. i'd like to see the young people working at shelter homes. i'd like to see some obscure bands and musicians at half-way gigs with an audience that is truly appreciative of their music. not just about creating, and buying and acting cool. but stuff with real depth, stuff that would avoid these kind of articles, stuff that makes people look at our young and be truly impressed and be hopeful instead of stupid "hipster" comments on youtube.

        there is a lot more a video can do in 8mins to "represent" KL than what it is now. and to suggest this video has depth and value that cannot be shaken is total bull.

        and since it is as you say, a video that simply shows what is "cool" and "hip"? i sure as hell think we deserve a lot more than that.

        • Chris


          I'm very glad you finally got to providing some constructive feedback in your third to last paragraph and got beyond reminding us all of the definition of subculture. Because in all honesty, you raise a great point.

          The frustrating part is that everyone is saying the same thing in a different way, that KL/Malaysia deserves more. You however, are a bit more grand as to how that should be represented.

          The video may lack the "depth" you are looking for, but I don't think the video ever claimed to "represent" EVERYTHING that is KL. Rather, this right here seems to be THE point of Alive – to generate conversation and provide a platform for people to discuss and discover it.

          Perhaps "cool" is not the best word to use to describe this, and perhaps they may not have used the bands/busineses/initiavtives you would have selected, but they had to start with what they know. Like it or not, the consumerist side of Malaysia exists and is effective in capturing the attention of the masses. (I will put aside the fact that you are looking at consumerism in KL as purely negative and not as an effective means to achieve sustainability, social responsibility and influence positive behavioral changes that many of the featured local businesses do promote.)

          And BAM! Look what happened, 4 valid suggestions by you that now more people know about and that they may also get involved with. Now imagine if the media were to take an equally constructive approach to their "critiques" and actually do some reporting, there would be some real value to them.

          I think the point of the video was to ignite conversation – I say mission accomplished, especially evident in your impassioned writting. You say KL deserves more, we agree, so let's stop arguing and see it!

          To all, what makes Malaysia Alive?

    • Originality? Sorry but that doesn't really exist. Watch this: http://vimeo.com/14912890

      • balapillai

        You know why it doesn't exist @xinch ? Because we are not addressing the key question "Why has Malaysia stopped producing quantum inventions since 1400 AD when before that it together with India and China produced ALL of them?"

        [Quantum inventions = significant leaps in order of problem-solving from caveman days to now eg taming of fire, , discovery of the wheel, paper, gunpowder, common law systems, the toilet, credit, the automobile, airplanes etc]

      • phang

        there's no originality in KL? that's a very, very sad view, and very unfair to the people who are actually working their ass off in KL and Malaysia, wouldn;t you say?

        the people in the video has each of them, their own originality.

        unfortunately, the video failed completely to highlight any of that but instead merely cast them in the "oh i'm so cool" light.

        if you can't see past the defensiveness, you can't see originality.

        • Gooda

          Do you make videos?
          Can I watch your videos or read your articles Phang?
          Sometimes it seems like it is really easy to say exactly how art things should be… but making them is a lot tougher. If you have made a video like the one you are suggesting, I genuinely do want to watch it and see your perspective.

          • phang

            i doubt you make Hollywood movies, but i'd be willing to place a very large bet that you criticize them with abandon.

            one does not need to be a maker to be a thinking audience. and every audience deserves his or her own opinion. just because one audience's opinion differs from the other, doesn't mean that one of them has to make a video to state a point.

            i'm all for a debate of contradicting ideas. but let's not stoop so low as to call the other to "go make your own if you're not happy with this one." that's like how ministers keep telling non-malays to "balik china" or "balik india" whenever unjust policies or actions are called to question.

            meanwhile, Selamat Hari Raya.

          • phang

            also, on a side note, if something is made for public view, it is made for public opinion. and i shall not bring myself so low as to use this platform of forum to promote my individual work.

    • HokkienLang

      Hey , we can use this video on the HIPSTER travel network. Them thick rimmed glasses, moustached boys & girls in Brooklyn will LOVE this and we get hipster tourism dollars man! :P

    • Village Panda

      I agree with you, phang.

      If you don't have RM1,000 in your pocket, forget it. It is an expensive subculture.

  41. Marney

    Maybe this video paints a better picture of how you want to represent Malaysia?

  42. So much fail in one article that I will need 2 cups of coffee from Artisan Roast and a good night out partying with Deer Society in Daikanyama to figure all of them out…

  43. Mimster

    I think the point of the video was to highlight how KL has evolved?

  44. choen

    Aiya, why so serious? KL is a sponge. Absorbs a lot. Occasionally spits out something.

  45. yi07

    I totally agree with xaden… except the last sentence.
    Ever since that video came out everyone was espousing the REAL KL. What IS the real KL??? Out of curio what is the REAL kl to you LLK?

    "The problem with this video is its lack of originality. This culture they expound is one consumed from MTV, not one genuinely conceived from KL."
    harlo!!! LLK, we ARE not original lah. KL is like Singapore but dirtier and grimier. that's it. But MTV IS our culture!! perhaps u did not grow up watching is like many young ppl these days which would belie your age ;p

    "What they show to be cool and is called as progress, is merely the A-grade adoption of a Western-oriented culture with predominantly American and MTV origins."
    isnt it??? when malaysia first aired MTV… youths went "wahhhh majunya malaysia ada MTV!"
    when the first malaysians decided to put on pants i bet some ppl argued as to why are we aping the west. but u wear pants today dont u???

    i agree somewhat to a degree that ur gripe is that the video is not ALL THAT but it aint all that bad either… so it's merely a question of degree… so where do u draw the line…

    "This video failed to capture this essential bit of KL in its rush to voluntarily embrace everything Western.And for that, it strongly hints of a group of urban youth who is not proud of their heritage, bereft of a soul they can call their own."
    everything western??? u mean anything western that YOU disapprove, coz u dont mind using the internet? drive a car maybe? my point is sooooo many things we adopt are western…. y is it adopting pants and internet is ok but not their coffee culture? i myslef dont get it but hey to each his own… y should you be holier than thou and dictate what western influence is ok and what's not? ;p

    • SynSuhadi

      What is Western exactly, in your POV eh? Aaaaannddd, what is modern? What is the different b'ween Western aaannnddd Modern?

  46. Grace

    All this post does is prescribe a bunch of tired old stereotypes at a very vast, very complex group of urban youth. Granted, this is better written than another "hipster" article published today in the papers, but it's just as shoddily thought out.

  47. "This culture they expound is one consumed from MTV, not one genuinely conceived from KL."

    The video shows real businesses that are thriving in Kuala Lumpur, supported by consumers (from KL I'm assuming) who are "genuinely" willing to part with their hard earned cash to buy their produce i.e. clothes/music/etc.

    Yes it is but a segment of KL culture. That doesn't mean that it's not original. Perhaps if you bothered digesting the goods/services of the people featured in the video, at least 1 level beyond superficiality, you'd find a certain character that would be irreplaceable. A character that would uniquely be attributed to Malaysia. Or perhaps you lack the ability to discern, and wish to expunge notions of cultural evolution in KL because that's convenient.

    P/S: Do you even watch MTV? Today it's chock full of Justin Biebers and K-Pop. Hardly any semblance of the culture featured in the KL Alive video.

  48. xinch

    I don't identify myself as "hipster". But are Malaysian hipsters not a part of the Malaysian subculture? Have we regressed so far and absorbed all this political bullshit about what our leaders want us to think is the "Malaysian culture" that we forget that all like all other cultures, the Malaysian hipster culture is an amalgamation of adopted cultures and one that they've been born into?

    Pestle & Mortar is distinctively Malaysian. One look at their online store will tell you how they pay tribute to their heritage in ways that are relevant to young people today. http://pestlemortar.bigcartel.com/. Oh and the music featured? Malaysian dudes.

    If our culture has been so quickly abandoned by "hipsters" for a more "Western" culture, why is it that even "hipsters" can spend afternoons sipping latte at Artisan Roast Coffee, and evenings cheering on their favorite football teams in the nearest mamak with Teh O Ais?

    This subculture of KL, is just as real as the uncles sipping coffee at the nearest kopitiam or yam sengs at weddings. There is no "real" KL – we are an amalgamation if cultures from all over Malaysia and our ancestral countries before us.

    My wish is for a Malaysia that's inclusive, not exclusive. That's understanding and compassionate, not judgmental. That embraces, not shuns.

    BTW, she's not holding a DSLR. That's an old analog Nikkormat camera by Nikon. Just FYI. ;p

    I posted this on Facebook and received a few responses. See what they think: https://www.facebook.com/chin.xc/posts/4753055991…

    • LaughingMeArseOff

      Hipsterism is a subculture? LOL. Wether it was a DSLR or not is beyond the point dear. Lets not be petty :)

  49. Silas Liew

    I am Silas Liew, the 'treehugger' designer mentioned in this post. My label is Regnum Lapideum http://www.regnumlapideum.com a contemporary mens ready-to-wear label.

    I am a very proud Malaysian and I mention it at any opportunity when doing business abroad. My label, in fact, is recognized for its subtle ethnocentric sensibility. All the clothes are made within the South East Asian region in fair trade workrooms across the region that assist underpriviledged women and educating impoverished communities towards a sustainable income- from India to Cambodia to the Philippines.

    In a recent season, the clothes were inspired by the Vietnamese Ao Dai and in fact, most of the collection draws its capacity from the rich heritage of Japanese, Indonesian and Chinese ceremonial wears.

    In this post, Lee Lian Kong has casualized KL's so-called hipsters as being 'Westernized' and unoriginal.

    Since, I was mentioned in this post, I thought I should say something about the work that I do and what I stand for.
    Asia is in my blood. I am Hakka Peranakan but above all I love my country and I will stand fiercely in its defence. It matters more what we think and feel inside about our heritage than what is on the surface. Nothing can tear me away from my roots and I would encourage all my peers to celebrate this on the day of our country's Independence- Hipster or not.

    • chkt

      Hi Silas, When is a girl's collection going to be out? Peranakan kebaya inspired clothes would be lovely :) I just bought a Penang Nyonya kebaya because my mum's heirloom kebayas are too fragile to be worn. Would love some modern wear inspired by our kebayas!!!

    • Village Panda

      Well, I hope that you are happy now that LLK has been given the sack by Selangor Times. So much for free speech.

  50. xaden

    I think it's interesting how you define the urban community as unoriginal and yet, after countless of rampant petty jabs at the 'westernized hipster culture' you failed to give us readers an example of what 'original' to you really is. You've nitpicked at every single thing, from the clothes, the accent, to the inclusion of a 'tudung' girl in the video. Do you really feel that the urban KLites wear baju kurung and cheongsams and speak with a 'pasar' accent as what the usual Tourism Malaysia advert always seems to portray? Lady, you are definitely living in a fantasy world and you really need to go out in KL more often.