Interview by Evelyn Teh

The KL city has never appeared to be more intriguing than from the perspective of a person coming from one of the rural areas of Sabah.

Seeing the city through the eyes of a budding architect also lends a new perspective to a city that we already know so well. Kelvin Ah Kian, now residing in Labuan, pursued his Diploma in Architecture at Sabak Bernam some three years ago. During his semester breaks, he would hop on the train heading towards the great city that he once came to know only through his television screen.

Upon setting foot in KL, he described himself as “a Lost Sabahan in the middle of the hazy Kuala Lumpur”. His photos are mainly driven by his curiosity of this somewhat new environment that was surrounding him. It was also a documentation of the things he saw in the city which he wanted to share with his family back in Sabah.

Having his senses ignited with the different structures, textures and the scaling heights of some of the buildings, he was amazed by the density of human population in KL. The variety of people within it who came from all walks of life and from different countries made him feel like he wasn’t in Malaysia.

In the speedy pace of the city, Kelvin managed to capture some of the scenes that struck him and kindly shared them with

The shining, aluminium- clad, sky-scraping Petronas Twin Towers ignited a sense of awe in all its revelers. The towers, since completion in 1994, have been among of the most iconic features of Malaysia. Between 1998-2004, it was the tallest building in the world.

The Menara Kuala Lumpur, framed by an old and dilapidated building in the foreground, represents the mixed façade of KL city.  Old architectural remains are still found existing in the midst of the rapidly developing city.


In some of the quiet corners of the streets in KL, one can find unusual arrangements of abandoned articles which beg an explanation. Adding plot to the untold story are the messages left by the graffiti on the old and chipping walls.


Emerging from the dark underground LRT station at Dang Wangi, these three escalators may seem never-ending. Stretching up, passing two floors, these escalators are part and parcel of the city life, especially during the weekdays, when packed with commuters.


The glass dome that lights one of the atrium in Suria KLCC allows natural light to bathe the mall.


Setting foot for the first time at the train station, one cannot help but to notice the warning sign on the platform.  The washed out yellow sign, a worn out texture, represents the age of the place. It is one of the signs that serves as a reminder of the passing time in the midst of the daily routine of city life.


With a population of 1.6 million people, Kuala Lumpur may not seem a lot compared to Greater Kuala Lumpur (Klang Valley), which has a staggering urban agglomeration of 7.2 million. However during the day, the KL city may swell to an even greater number due to the influx of people who work in the city.


Despite the crowd and the fast pace of the city, one may sometimes be able to find a mutual connection, albeit a brief one, in the sea of nameless faces. This picture was taken while commuting on the Monorail, when he spotted a man smiling at his camera. It was a special moment for the photographer as sometimes, a large city like this may come across as an impersonal place to be.

Kelvin Ah Kian is working as a Junior Architectural Designer in Labuan. He still goes out with his camera, exploring the streets, covering events, and photographing a myriad of scenes that tingle his curiosity. He is currently undertaking a photography project about Labuan, which will be showcased at a month-long photo exhibition from the 4th of December at ProArt Gallery, Kota Kinabalu. Find out more about his works at