Cycling in the streets of Kuala Lumpur on Car-Free Mornings gives the freedom to break from the norm, which allows people to have a new experience. Pix by Asyraf Hamzah

Inspiration and creativity comes from allowing the mind to explore and go free

LAST Sunday, I was riding my bicycle in the middle of Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman.

Yes, you read that right. In the middle of Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman.

Some will know that I am referring to the Kuala Lumpur Car-Free Morning that happens on the first and third Sunday of every month, from 7am to 9am.

During these times, people are allowed to roam free on famous Kuala Lumpur streets, which are closed to the usual snarling traffic. People would jog, ride their bicycles (or rent ones available there). I even saw a group of inline skaters, both men and women, wearing ballerina tutus and having the time of their lives.

Some might say, why go to the trouble of cycling in the middle of KL? Can’t you just cycle around your neighbourhood, you’re still on a road, right?

Well, they’re missing three important points.

Firstly, iconic KL streets are closed to traffic for two hours. So, I didn’t mind at all breaking a sweat getting three bicycles into the car the night before, folding one and taking out the front tyres of the other two, and then gingerly putting them into the car so they won’t scratch anything, just to get ready for this chance to ride free in the middle of our capital city.

Secondly, there is a different energy and aura that happen when a lot of people celebrate something as simply joyous as being able to have fun and enjoy an experience that is unlike any other. For that couple of hours, it feels like we are given the freedom to “own” Kuala Lumpur.

The third point is the most important one to me. This was my first experience of KL Car-Free Morning. And, during my cycling, I became acutely aware of things I was never aware of in my years of being in a car on the very same KL streets.

I noticed the majestic trees lining up Jalan Raja Laut. The leaves seemed much greener and alive than behind car windows.

I stopped and appreciated the colonial grandeur of historic Coliseum Café on Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, something I could never do in a moving car. I saw some amazing grafitti down one alley, and paused at the artistry.

In short, I was inspired. My normal reality was pushed out of my mind and replaced by a new reality. And, with that, came new thoughts and ideas. This, to me, is the beauty of something like KL Car-Free Mornings.

It’s not just that we get to roam free on famous KL streets. It’s more than that. That freedom, that break from the norm, allowed me to have a new experience as I saw familiar streets from a totally new perspective.

It was like my mind received a vigorous shake, and suddenly, all new thoughts and ideas came out.

Inspiration and creativity comes from allowing the mind to explore and go free. To do new things. To have new experiences. To see the world from new angles. To skate in Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman wearing a tutu.

Inspiration and creativity needs to have these opportunities and experiences.

We can’t keep doing the same old things over and over again and expect something new. We need to change our situations and our world constantly.

We need to break our patterns and routines.

We need to vigorously shake our minds all the time. Only then, will original ideas come out. And, that will lead to innovation.

This is something I feel a lot of people don’t get. Some say we have good shiny infrastructure, processes, support and even good connectivity, which will help in achieving creativity, originality and innovation.

That’s the thing. Those shiny infrastructure would only be extremely useful if we could get our hands on good creativity and originality in the first place.

Creativity and originality needs stimuli, and stimuli comes from shifts from the norm. It comes from cracks in normalcy. Weird kooky places and situations that give rise to weird kooky but world-beating original ideas.

Put a guy in the middle of chaos and unexpected experiences, and he will be more inspired than if he was in the middle of a big shiny building with good connectivity.

Next time around, I’m gonna be brave enough to ride wearing a tutu.

Ahmad Izham Omar works in the production of TV, film, and music content and gets panicky tyring to figure out his next tweet. He can be reached at

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