Alternative Mall Cultures

The shopping mall has been Malaysia’s favourite pastime. However the function of malls is to make us spend money. As awareness (and the economy changes), citizens are beginning to look towards community centric spaces. THINK CITY speaks to ALINA KOO of The Craft Crowd and EDWARD SOO of The Edcetera Food Company, two entrepreneurs committed to developing KL as a creative and cultural hub, so that we can embrace creativity, not just consumerism.

It’s climate controlled, has a little bit of something for everyone and you can literally spend an entire day there. Ah – The great Malaysian shopping mall. Grocery shop, catch a movie, eat fast or eat slow, stock up on fashion must-haves, view an art exhibition, take the kids to a science museum, experience a park and water fountain, visit the aquarium, and maybe, take in a performance by the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra. Today, you can do just about anything at a shopping mall. The problem is, for the most part, you have to spend money.

We catch up with Alina Koo of The Craft Crowd, a business that runs creative workshops for fans of the arts and crafts.

The space at The Craft Crowd. Photo courtesy Alina Koo.



Citizens of Kuala Lumpur find reprieve at The Craft Crowd on weekends. Photo courtesy Alina Koo.



Next we speak to Ed Soo, one of the founders of the Edcetera Company, the business responsible for bringing KL-ites places to wine and dine such as Leonardo’s, Opus, Cava, Lucky Bo and now Bobo KL, a fine dining restaurant with a piano bar on the top floor. They’re all on Jalan Bangkung, just off the trendy and affluent neighbourhood of Bangsar. While Ed’s first few ventures were about bringing authentic dining experiences, Bobo KL was an extension of that experience, with the aim of boosting the local performing arts scene, and creating a community of music-lovers.


As an avid art collector, Ed also shares his collection with the community-at-large by displaying them at Bobo KL.



The bar at Bobo KL’s piano lounge. Photo courtesy Bobo KL



Bobo nurtures the performing arts community by enabling them to showcase their work at the venue be it in the form of screenings, readings or performances. L: Bobo’s Artistic Director, Sean Ghazi. R: Atilia Haron. Photo courtesy Bobo KL.



This story was first published under the now-defunct “Think City Channel”.

#performingarts #enterprise #artampculture #community