Saturday, October 23, 2010

Living In Malaysia: Shophouses

I'd never heard the word shophouse before I came to Asia, but once you're here, you can't help but see them everywhere.

Shophouses are fairly narrow buildings with 3 or 4 floors.  The bottom level is a shop, and the levels above are offices or flats.  Hence shop + house = shophouse.

Typically the top floors overhang the street level shop.  This creates a covered walkway that shelters pedestrians from the hot tropical sun.

The first picture was taken in Kuching, Sarawak a  month or so ago.  As you can see, Kuching people have a good eye and like to paint their shophouses in interesting ways.

The second is a shot of the street behind.  It looks a bit drab because the real action is hidden in the dark cool walkways. 

It's a bit of a metaphor for Malaysia really.  At first sight a lot of it looks a bit grubby on top but once you get past that, it's a really fascinating place.

10 comments:

Khyra And Sometimes Her Mom said...

That's quite interesting!

Thanks for sharing!

photojoy said...

They are nice pictures. Seeing is believing, right? It's really nice to know how people keep themselves from the strong sunshine on the streets. I would like to visit there some day.

Katnip Lounge said...

It look a lot like the older sections of Hawaii. Not suprising, given the culture and latitude!

The Chair Speaks said...

These old shophouses were built during the pre-world war II days. Many of them still stands in the heart of Kuala Lumpur example Jalan Petaling, Brickfiels, Jalan Pudu.

Mr Puddy said...

My mom is an Asian, she said " Shophouses" is pretty normal in Asia Country. and the great thing about it... you don't need to go so far to get things..it's just around your corner in walking distance. It's pretty convenience when you need something in sudden.

Brian said...

It looks kind of cool to me!

Dennis the Vizsla said...

Looks a bit like downtown Albany, NY, only with brighter colors and less snow.

~Covert_Operations'78~ said...

Malaysia is pretty grubby on the inside too, but most of us have learned to live with it!

Sharon Wagner said...

It's interesting to learn more about where you and all our blogging friends live.

BeadedTail said...

Very interesting and a good use of space! We have apartments or office above ground level shops in our downtown area too and in some areas the 'loft look' from being in an old warehouse or something is quite popular.