Red Palm Hostel in November 2004 about fake DVDs and watches and the art of negotiation. The original story and many more stories and picture on the german website Internetseite"> Red Palm Hostel in November 2004 about fake DVDs and watches and the art of negotiation. The original story and many more stories and picture on the german website Internetseite" />
Faces of
Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur is the capital and the largest city of Malaysia. Being a young city (founded only in 1857) it developed fast into a bustling metropolis of 1.5 million people (6 million including the satellite cities in the Klang Valley). Kuala Lumpur, or simply KL (as it is it called by Malaysians), literally means “muddy estuary” in Bahasa Malaysia. With good and cheap accommodation, great shopping and even better food in this multi-cultural melting pot, increasing numbers of travellers are discovering this little gem of a city.
Having been in the shadow of other big cities in the region like Bangkok and Singapore, KL was put back on the map for good with the opening the Petronas Twin Towers in 1997, until 2004 the highest and still one of the most impressive buildings in the world. Though, the sights are not what makes this city unique, it’s KL itself and it’s mixture of people and visitors.

Johor Bahru

Johor Bahru is the state capital of the state of Johor and the second largest metropolitan area in Malaysia. Most tourists don't stop here and just pass through the city on their way to or out of Singapore. JB is a major local transportation hub however. Since it is just across the causeway from Singapore, some travellers use it as a hub to visit Singapore from here (lower accommodation prices) or to board the train, bus or airplane.

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Kuala Lumpur - everything fake or what?

a story by Andreas (Germany) written down at Red Palm Hostel in November 2004 about fake DVDs and watches and the art of negotiation. The original story and many more stories and picture on the german website Internetseite

There you sit in a restaurant on Jalan Alor, where one restaurant and stall is next to the other busily serving costumers even at 2am and there come 10-year old boys selling tissues looking at you with puppy eyes or beggers crawling around on their bare hands but also young, dynamic man with piles of DVDs. We already know that you can get shirts from Nike, shoes by Adidas, purses by Bree, shoes by Prada and of course Rolex watches here to ridiculous prices.

Though DVDs are new to us and are booming here now big time. The price for one DVD is 10-13 Ringgit, 2.00 - 2.30 Euro! And we're talking about a good quality DVD9. Quite Unbelievable. However: For risks and side effects ask frequent buyers or the hostel owner of trust. You have to be careful not to get DVD5 or DVD3 which has only been equipped with a DVD9 sticker. And, well, there are rumors that these incredible prices - just like at the above mentioned products - are only caused by the fact that we are talking about fake products ;)
But as the Malaysian says: Only Genuine Copies! The Lonely Planet summarizes:

"Sungei Wang Plaza is especially good for camera gear and cheap (but possibly pirated) software and hardware components."

Who owns DVD-burner knows that problems can occur while burning and copying. There can be incidents where people just desolve into little squares. The fact that the movie "The Incredibles", just started being shown in the cinemas (Nov. 2004), is already out on DVD only worries Hollywood. Well maybe the buyer also provided they get a copy that has only been taped inside a movie theatre. Sounds and contrasts can be pathetic in this case.
Software-CDs with whole collections of applications cost a whopping 5 Ringgit. MS Office for just 1 Euro is even more irritating for us. They just have everything at stock. I even got the "Social Statistics Program" of my dreams in version 12.0 as well as all kinds of GIS-applications.

As we went shopping, Tilo (our hostel host and KL-informer) asked the sales person, if they had a certain malaysian film, which has been in the movies recently and is supposed to be really good. The guy said they don't have any Malaysian films. Foreign movies, that's okay. If there's a raid and you get caught and you will be - he crossed his hands - but that can be settled with money. But if there are malaysian films on the shelf, you would - he crossed his hands again - that would be a problem.

If you wanna buy cameras or notebooks you should be a professional negotiator. Though there a price tags on all good in the Plazas (shopping malls) but they are if at all just the start of negotiations. Basically the goods are priced about 1/3 more than they will be sold over the counter later. You also have an advantage in the negotiation process if you did some research on the web before of the actual price of the good of your choice. If you walk out of the store with your newly acclaimed camera and the sales person waves at you happily with a wide grin on his face then you know: I paid to much, much to much. That's what happened to me as I bought a new mouse for my notebook which was obviously constructed in the same way as a Microsoft mouse which I always wanted to own. It was prices 42 Ringgit and I managed to haggle it down to sweet 35 Ringgit. Nonetheless, it was a good deal for me as I saw the mouse in store near Stuttgart (Germany) for 39 EUR (about 200 Ringgit). Still I always realize, I love steady prices with no negotiations. Internetseite