The current world's tallest man-made structures are in Kuala Lumpur itself. They're called the Petronas Twin Towers and they were erected in 1997 and paid for by the Malaysian oil company, Petronas. Petronas built them for the prestige value of the co-branding and for goodwill and the increased value for tourism in the country. But mainly because Prime Minister Mahathir told Petronas to.
Underneath the Twin Towers is a huge mall called the KLCC (Kuala Lumpur City Centre). Its name was coined more out of ambition than actually being at the centre of the city. I spent today there with Yasmin Ahmad, the creative director of Leo Burnett, and with Kam Raslan, a prolific Malaysian writer and up and coming film director.
KLCC has a new giant Kinokuniya bookstore which has seen fit to include a viciously wide range of poetry books which drew the attention of both Yasmin and Kam. Yasmin bought several hardcover versions of her favourite poetry books and Kam settled for a book called the History of Civilizations written by a French author that Kam claims is the world's greatest historian.
Yasmin is the sort of person who gets barred from regional Proctor and Gamble meetings because she objects loudly to marketing plans on the basis of moral misgivings. (This actually happened, she swears.) We spend a great deal of time flirting. Playfully (I think). She aggressively proclaims that she wants to sleep with me, and when I comically reply in the positive, she shys away.
Yasmin pleads compassionately for her causes and for the social protection of the Bumiputras (the indigenous Malays) as does the Prime Minister who has decreed special financial privileges for the Bumis such as admission quotas into the universities.
I credit much of her work over the past decade with the bringing together of the multiple races of Malaysia. Her television commercials have often feature Chinese and Malay mixed-race couples and have been very influencial, appearing on the small screen during seasons of cultural festivities such as Chinese New Year and Hari Raya (Malay new year) celebrations.
She mentioned the prospect of hiring me. It is probably only a matter of what my role and function will be. I shall see her at her office tomorrow to discuss the matter further.