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Notes on the Geography of 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 government would like visitors to see.

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Malaysia: Kuala Lumpur picture 1

One of the twin Petronas Towers, completed in 1998 and for six years the world's tallest skyscrapers.

Malaysia: Kuala Lumpur picture 2

The highest floor normally occupied is Tower One's Floor 81, occupied by Petronas, the state oil company. Tower Two is rental space, and the top rented floor there 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.  

Malaysia: Kuala Lumpur picture 3

Didn't I see Sean Connery go swinging about this bridge in some movie or other?

Malaysia: Kuala Lumpur picture 4

The shiny entrance.

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A nearby office building.

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A new city rises behind Chinatown.

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Perhaps ten miles to the west, a new shopping street echoes of the shophouses of a century past.

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And close to it, a hardly used monorail runs around Sun City.

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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.

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The pool has a wave-making machine. Up top, there's a Malaysian branch campus of an Australian university.

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Monash is branching out and catering, in this case, mostly to Chinese students more or less excluded from the public universities of Malaysia.

Malaysia: Kuala Lumpur picture 13

Registration day.

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