Many people throng the Integrated Commercial Complex (ICC) in Pudu, Kuala Lumpur, particularly on weekends and public holidays.
Opened about two years ago, the design of the multi-storey complex includes 293 stalls for market traders, 83 lots at the food court, 576 parking bays for cars and 92 for motorcycles. Upper floors include a multi-purpose hall equipped with badminton, volleyball and basketball courts, and a banquet hall that can fit at least 1,000 people.
Many people patronise a popular outlet located at the food court entrance, as the fame of its Hainan tea has spread far and wide, attracting even foreign visitors. Although it occupies a big space, the outlet is always packed on weekends and public holidays.
My wife goes to the nearby market almost daily and will drop by the Pudu ICC several times a week to enjoy a cup of tea at her favourite stall located to the left of the main passageway.
What makes the tea here so special is how it is made.
At home or in a hotel, making a cup of tea using a sachet of tea leaves is simple but it tastes mediocre. In coffee shops and mamak stalls, tea leaves are placed in a cloth filter with hot water poured over.
The tea can be made light or strong, but its flavour dissipates each time the tea leaves are rinsed with hot water. As such, the best cup of tea is made during the first rinse using boiling hot water to extract its full aroma.
Unlike teh tarik, which is tea poured from one large mug to another or directly into a glass, this stall makes teh goncang, or tea shaken in a metal container before it is poured into the thick porcelain cups used in traditional Chinese coffee shops.
My wife and I prefer tea with evaporated milk but without sugar, and having a cuppa here is a most satisfying experience as the frothy and hot teh-c is delicious even without sweetener.
But what is unpleasant at the Pudu ICC is the lack of care by the management. It is common to find selfish people reserving tables by placing things on the bench (see pic). This has been going on for some time.
Yesterday morning, my wife and I occupied an empty space at table #32, while a large family sat together and occupied two of the three tables joined together. Next to me was table #30 where two bags, one cloth and the other plastic, were placed on the bench.
For more than 20 minutes, many people approached the table but left disappointed upon seeing the bags. This could only have been acceptable if the owners returned within a minute or two of placing their orders at the stalls.
My wife goes to the Pudu ICC regularly and often notices that such bags are placed on empty benches for a long time. Nearby stall operators can vouch for this odd practice.
Such selfish acts must be curbed, but more importantly, the management of any crowded building must always be vigilant and swiftly remove any unattended bags for safety and security.
Allowing the main passageway to be blocked by temporary stalls is bad enough. Not only does this inconvenience the public, it is also unfair to the many stalls that are deprived of foot traffic.
Apart from occasional malfunctioning lifts, toilets and escalators as well as water supply disruptions, overhead pipes started to leak last September and were fixed only several months later.
The Pudu ICC was completed in 2016 at a cost of approximately RM57 million to the Kuala Lumpur City Hall, but it did not take long for it to fall into a state of disrepair.
The management must change its mindset and standard operating procedure if it is sincere in wanting traders and customers to have a great experience.
YS Chan is an FMT reader.
The views expressed by the writer are not necessarily the views of FMT.