It is sad to see Kelab Sultan Suleiman Gallery (KSSG) falling into a dilapidated state within a short time.
It was only in September 2014 that Kuala Lumpur City Hall launched the ‘[email protected] Bharu’ guided walk, and KSSG was one of the favourite spots.
But it began to deteriorate within a few months. Today, it is a hangout for drug addicts and vagrants.
The gallery is a replica of the 116-year-old Sultan Suleiman Club (SSC) in the vicinity, which was the meeting place for the elite Malay community, and a field for football, hockey and cricket.
Countless logbooks with minutes of the meetings written in English documenting historical facts proved that members in the early days contributed much to society.
Whether it was the birth place of Umno is debatable, but there is no denying the fact that SSC played an important role in Malay politics that later brought independence to our country.
From time to time, many non-governmental organisations (NGOs) would come out of the woodwork to defend language or race.
Nevertheless, those who take genuine pride would spend time and effort lifting up their own community, but this requires too much hard work. It is much easier to condemn and pull others down.
The gallery can easily be turned into a language centre, as those who take pride in our national language should be happy teaching it to foreign workers and their families.
Had we done that over the past few decades throughout the country, millions of people would be able to converse in our national language when they returned to their South and South-East Asian countries.
We could have done better than Alliance Francaise, which has to spend huge sums of money promoting the French language and culture by operating 850 centres in 137 countries.
But first, we have to take steps to restore KSSG to its former glory. Both the club and gallery are the soul of Kampong Baru.
If they are not part of the redevelopment plans, the new Kampong Baru would be soulless. The early settlers of all our towns and villages are priceless heritage we should treasure.