Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Cheras - Unexplored Territory

I'm one of those lucky ones that live right across the road from where I work. It usually takes me about 8 minutes to get to work. But on certain days, the congestion at the U-turn will make me want to tear my hair out, and it will then take me about about 20 minutes to get to the office. There was one morning when it took me almost 40 minutes to get to work. Well, that's Cheras for you.

Some marvel at the fact that I can live in Cheras. Some roll their eyes and say "Oooooh MY GOD. How can you stay there?" They say it is rural compared to other suburbs like Damansara, Bangsar, Bandar Utama or TTDI. I've also heard people tell me "Aiyoooo. Everytime I go into Cheras, I sure get lost!"

You make it sound as though Cheras is situated in the middle of no-where, surrounded by acres of rubber plantation. Rural you say. So why are there so many cars in Cheras? Why can an 8-minute journey by car end up becoming 40 minutes? Sure, we have plenty of mamaks and chinese kopitiams instead of of those fancy cafes and restaurants that you have in Damansara or Bangsar. We have our trademark Cheras Leisure Mall instead of those gigantic shopping malls with branded labels as tenants. And it took over a decade for them to get rid of that stupid 50 sen tol along Jalan Cheras!

Cheras is also considered very "Chinese". Everybody in KL, or everybody I know in KL wants to be considered an up-market English speaking, English educated KL-ite, and Cheras is not where they want to be seen hanging out. Some also say that this is where all the notorious gangsters are found. But I reckon this is because of the huge Chinese population, and somehow or the other, gangsters and loansharks are always associated with being Chinese. Too much of those Hong Kong gangster movies and dramas? Whatever.

If I end up Sri Hartamas or in Damansara Uptown, people go "Waaah. You travel from Cheras ah? Must be very far leh?" Not really. It takes me 15 minutes to Sri Hartamas, and about 20 to Uptown. I think it takes Damansara folks about 20 minutes to get to Sunway via the LDP right? And with CCTVs installed along that stretch of highway, I think it might take longer now?

The funniest one I've heard - "Aiyo! Cheras is under DAP laaah!" And so what? Does being under Barisan or DAP really affect a commoner's life THAT much? Well I certainly do not care whose area I'm living under, as long as the roads are paved and there is water, electricity and telecommunication supply/access.

Sure, Cheras folks, can be slightly "eccentric" when compared to the more elite Petaling Jaya residents... but for the past 3 years that I've been living and working in Cheras, really, it ain't that bad as everyone thinks it to be.

I like living in Cheras because one thing for sure, I don't want to be waking up at 6 everyday to brave the traffic to work should I be living anywhere else. I like the fact that eating out in Cheras is convenient and delicious - you can find good food just about anywhere in Cheras. And really, it's not as unaccessible as most people think it to be - 20 minutes to Sri Hartamas, 20 to Damansara Uptown, 30 to Bandar Utama, 10 to Midvalley, 15 to Bangsar, 15 to Bukit Bintang, 15 to KLCC, 15 to Ampang, 20 to Sunway or Subang... So what's 15 or 20 minutes to someone living in KL?

So in a nutshell, Cheras rocks!

Posted by Doreen at 12:41 pm