Travel to Malaysia: Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur is struggling hard to follow in the footsteps of Singapore. It's succeeded at the level of tangible symbols--its new airport for example--but has much deeper problems that it has yet to solve. Here, merely a few of the developments that the octogenarian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir would like visitors to see.
One of the twin Pertaminas towers, completed in 1998 as icons of Asian growth. Although the buildings are taller than the Sears Tower in Chicago, the top 276 feet are empty and the buildings have only only 88 floors, compared to 110 in the Sears Tower.
The highest floor occupied fulltime is Tower One's Floor 81, occupied by Pertamina, the state oil company. Tower Two is rental space. The top rented floor in Tower 2 is Floor 70, partly occupied by a division of Shell. Other occupants in the building include Alcatal, I.B.M. and Microsoft, but a third of the building remains vacant despite rates of $25 a foot, half that in Midtown Manhattan.
Didn't Sean Connery go swinging about this bridge in some silly movie or other?
The shiny entrance.
A nearby office building, with classical rather than futuristic pretensions.
A new city rises behind Chinatown's tin roofs.
Perhaps ten miles to the west, a new shopping street, with echoes of the shophouses of a century past.
And close to it, a hardly used monorail runs around Sun City.
There's a shopping center on the left, a hotel on the right, and a recreation park occupying the pit of an abandoned tin mine.
From the base of the pit: a pool with a wave-making machine. Up top, the Malaysian branch campus of an Australian university.
Monash University is branching out and catering, in this case, mostly to Chinese students more or less excluded from the public universities of Malaysia.
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