Creative Confluence
Jennifer Choo | 11 Aug 2017 00:00
The Zhongshan Building in Kampung Attap.

There was a time when the only respectable professions were that of doctor, lawyer, accountant and engineer. Dedicating yourself to climbing the corporate ladder was something to aspire to. There was also a time when suiting up and working in an office from 9-to-5 was the only sensible career path in life.

But the times, they are a-changing. Of course, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being a professional or donning business attire; they are all noble jobs essential to oiling the wheels of civilisation.

However, if the prevalence of start-ups and co-working spaces along with the decline in purveyors of office wear is anything to go by, today’s career goals and job landscape are much more diverse and less rigid. It would be accurate to say that the recently opened Zhongshan Building, in the unlikely neighbourhood of Kampung Attap, is a microcosm of the sheer variety of creative and intellectual endeavours in Kuala Lumpur. This creative commune and arts and research hub is an inspiring concentration of artists, graphic designers, fashion designers, academics, as well as music, film and book enthusiasts, to name but a few.

Housed in a row of 1950s interconnected shophouses, the block used to be home to the Selangor Zhongshan Association where settlers from Zhongshan, China used to meet and provide support to one another. In 1962, Lee’s Frozen Food, a frozen meat distributor, opened its doors in the premises along with other businesses; many business owners also made the shophouses their home.

Subsequently, the shophouses were inherited by the company’s second generation. Sometime in 2014, Lee’s Frozen Food vacated the building and Liza Ho, director of OUR ArtProjects and her husband, Rob Tan, who is one of the Lee’s Frozen Food family’s third generation, were handed over the management of the building.


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