The apartment building stands perched on the lip of a great earthen bowl. Behind and above are high ridges formed by folds of thick jungle, like the prinked edges of a piecrust. Below the lip, the ground falls away in a wide swathe where houses nestle among trees and far away on the western horizon, the skyscrapers of the city stand out like tall trees breaking the line of the canopy forest. The little balcony of my living room takes in the whole grand sweep. Just beyond the precincts of the apartment building, in full synthetic glory, is the lush nitrated greenery of Kelab Darul Ehsan, a golf and recreation club for folks in newly acquired circumstances. A footpath winds around the Kelab, the local jogger’s highway, always jog-jammed between 5am and 9am, and again in the peak evening hours till the leisurely after dinner strollers emerge. In between, the footpath bakes gently in the sun or, when it rains, resembles the bed of a torrential river. When I walk this footpath, conformity having its effect, I look through the gaps between trees, shrubs and houses, back to the condo and I see the building lost in the jungle from every vantage point. From around the lip, from down in the dip, whichever way you approach or look, there, in its mouldering isolation, is the last lonely condo. This is Menara Indah, the block of flats, where I have been living for the past few years. Menara Indah is in Taman TAR (the TAR is an acronym, most things go by an acronym in KL, as Kuala Lumpur is known locally). The TAR stands for Tun Abdul Razak, a former Prime Minister. The neighbourhood, Taman TAR (Garden Tun Abdul Razak), is a developer’s vision of gracious modern living that has colonised the head of a little valley leading back into the jungle. Taman TAR itself is part of Ampang Jaya, and Ampang Jaya is both in the state of Selangor and a suburb of Kuala Lumpur. The road from Menara Indah gently meanders down the hill in wide sweeps till it meets the larger road, Jalan Ulu Klang, which takes you in one direction to the Zoo, and in the other to the major thoroughfare of Jalan Ampang. Jalan Ampang houses most of the foreign embassies, and this international enclave leads on into the city.

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