I was walking down Jalan Penang, which gets a little bit sleazy down near the end, when I saw this kind of creepy-looking middle-aged Chinese man go into a doorway and up some stairs. I looked at the sign above the door, and was pleased to see that he had entered “the White House,” and that even better, it’s air-conditioned.

I crossed the street to get a better view of the White House, and was confronted with true beauty. I absolutely love this kind of decrepit 1970s-esque architecture that “free Chinese” built in places like Hong Kong, Taiwan and Southeast Asia. It’s clear that they made an effort to be “international” and “hip,” but it was a 1970s Chinese sense of coolness, and I don’t know who ever thought that it was cool, but now it is so seedy and retro that you have to love it. One can only imagine some of the things which must have gone down in the rooms of the White House over the years. . .

This Hotel Central (below) is on the same street. It’s not as charming as the White House, but it still has a cool retro feel to it. I don’t know what it is, but there’s just something about sleazy cement hotels melting in the tropical heat that I find very attractive. . .