malaysian pavillion at world expo 2010

May 24, 2010

Finally I am writing about the Shanghai Expo!

Before I blab on, just some advice for those who are planning to go.

FLATS.

Seriously, chuck those heels and wedges away.

BREATH MINTS

Ugh…queueing for hours meant people’s breaths polluting your air. *flips hair*

DEODORANT

Same reason as above. Change breaths to scent.

OK done.

As I got there, I went looking straight to the Malaysian Pavillion. It would seem wrong to enter any other pavillions first. It wasn’t hard to find. Just follow Siti Nurhaliza’s voice playing in the air. They kept playing her traditional songs over and over again.

I’m going to share my whole experience in the Malaysian pavillion because I think it’s important for every Malaysian to know what’s in there, whether or not they have a chance to go to Shanghai.

From the Expo website, the Malaysian pavillion looked like this. But in real life, this is how itΒ looked like.

Can you just see how many people were lining up to see our country?!! I felt so proud!

Erm…later found out that this was probably one of the shorter lines in the whole of Expo. Whoops.

There was a performance area outside for everyone to see regardless of whether they were lining up for our country or not. The dancers were really committed and putting on their best smiles for the world despite having to repeat the routine sooo many times in soo many days in that 6 months they were going to be there.

Let’s tour the ground floor first.

This was the entrance.

They displayed our traditional costumes; Chinese, Malay, Sarawak, Indian and Sabah.

A replica of our Petronas Twin Towers, which any exhibition of Malaysia would be incomplete without.

Surrounding it is a tropical rainforest of Malaysia. Rocks, trees…is that a penguin I see at the bottom?

They made a feature on Melaka and Georgetown, making a huge collage of pictures of our cultural heritage as you can see below.

For the more modern side of Malaysia, they used this platform to showcase pictures and slideshows of KL Tower, KL city and I don’t know what else (couldn’t be bothered to stay there and watch the whole video…no one could).

To promote tourism, there was a feature on our islands and golf resorts. I also saw some pictures of roller coasters; I’m guessing they were talking about Genting. I’m not sure, there wasn’t any proper signage. Only in Chinese, because only Chinese people will visit the Malaysian pavillion. Pftt.

I wanted to strike a less awkward pose, but there were so many people there that I got a bit shy.

THIS is the controversial golf “course” people were talking about. It was argued that a golf course had nothing to do with Malaysia. I think that is wrong because a lot of people come here to play golf. BUT they could’ve done a better job to showcase that fact. Perhaps putting a golf-putting place wasn’t the best choice…for 2 reasons.

1. It took up a lot of space

2. IT WAS FREAKING CLOSED.

Then there were 2 massage chairs.

Honestly, they looked so lost.

Again, UNUSABLE.

And the colour choice?! The cheap-looking carpet?! Come on, Malaysia, this is for the world to see.

Formula 1 is a huge thing in Malaysia. From the likes of Schmacher and Hamilton and whoever else who drives the tiny car…. they’ve all stepped foot here. It is one of the things we are proud of because when Matsalehs talk about Formula 1, they also remember Sepang. Of course they pronounce it as Se-PENG. But whatever, we’re still famous.

Yet, this is how we decided to showcase Sepang circuit.

A booth with a video.

Yeah…

Who do you think will actually stand in front there and watch the whole thing?

Even I was more interested in doing this.

At the exit, they had a section for souvenirs. Batik clothes, beautiful kaftans, arts and crafts were being sold to the public.

There was also a batik-making section which was really nice. People can watch how batik is made and even buy the completed pieces as remembrance of the Malaysia pavillion.

But of course, there was a high table which was placed on a high platform that no one can step on.

So that no one can actually see the batik-making.

“Clever”.

But you can get a good view when the lady comes down to cut the batik piece.

OK so we’re done with the bottom floor.

Now I’ll take you upstairs.

On almost every inch of the wall, you will see paintings. Malaysia has such great talent and it’s good that we showcase that. The paintings can also be bought if you have fallen in love at first sight.

Honestly, everyone at the Expo had this Burberry-inspired hat. What’s up with the checkered print obsession?! I almost felt left out that I didn’t have one.

This was a section for our natural resources. Our palm oil, rubber etc were showcased. It was pretty boring in there, but I guess it’s quite standard for a country to show what they can export.

I thought this goes really well with my blog. Hehe.

OK, this is the section that I’m most upset about.

The furniture section.

I was walking and suddenly on my right, there was a little showhouse.

The I-don’t-know-what-this-is-for room.

The bedroom.

The toilet.

And the saddest of all, the living room.

This is just embarassing. I know a guy who can do better ID than this!! I mean, the bedroom is something you can see in Jaya Jusco’s duvet cover section. The toilet is just so random. And the living room…oh god, the choice of colours, the choice of carpet…everything looked so…sigh, I don’t want to say la.

I didn’t even understand the significance of this section after I saw it. What was Malaysia trying to showcase? That we make good toilets??

Then after scratching my head until my scalp came out, I walked closer to the glass partition.

And squinted my eyes at something.

OMG there was a sign there. It wasn’t just a random section that Malaysia didn’t know what to fill it up with.

“HARMONIOUS CITY LIVING BY MALAYSIA”

Since when?!!!!!!! I didn’t even know we had that motto.

Maybe we do and I apologise for being ignorant, but I swear…WHITE SIGNAGE ON A WHITE-PATTERNED GLASS?!!!

Go up 5 pictures above this. Can you even see the sign?! I’m very sure no one could read that if they didn’t search.

I mean, I’m young and all…but it’s really common sense not to use the same colour on a signage and a background.

Next, let’s analyse the fashion.

For the Expo, there were 3 Malaysian designers featured; Melinda Looi, Jendela KL and Khoon Hooi.

I don’t doubt the integrity of these designers, but I was quite surprised Bernard Chandran wasn’t selected. I mean, the guy dressed Lady Gaga!! The fact that a Hollywood star (never mind that she carries a teacup everywhere) wore a Malaysian creation should be highlighted!

Then we have the beautifully-embellished Malaysianwear and modern dresses by Radzuan Radziwill, Rizalman, Jovian Mandagie etc; even I melt when I see their creations, it would have been so amazing to show-off our creativity and extreme detailing to the world.

Melinda Looi.

She is a talented Malaysian designer, and this very typical black dress really isn’t one of her best works.

Jendela KL

I don’t know what to say anymore.

Khoon Hooi

I love this dress, but it doesn’t scream out couture if you really want to show the world what Malaysians can do.

OK that’s the 2nd floor, and basically the gist of the Malaysian Pavillion.

Maybe I had more expectations, maybe some Malaysians would be happy with this. But someone mentioned that this was RM 25 million; do you think it’s really worth 25 million?

We have so much more to offer.

First of all, we have our national car Proton used widely at home and I’ve even seen some in London. Why couldn’t we put the car there to show people that we even manufacture cars?! Which other Southeast Asian countries have national cars?

Secondly, our sports achievements. We have Datuk Nicol David. We have Datuk Lee Chong Wei. And I could name a few other Datuks if I erm, actually read about sports. Isn’t our Lawn-Bowling team world champions too?

Thirdly, we have the outer space thing. Our own Malaysian (also a Datuk) was selected amongst thousands to go into space, shouldn’t we highlight that fact instead of wanting to show we make nice rattan furniture?

There were of course things to praise; the live music, the live dance show, the food section, the external look of the pavillion, the beautiful batik material, the twin towers, the nice paintings. I’m sure everyone in the team worked very hard for it and we should commend that.

I don’t mean to be harsh by my comments, although I think it’s perfectly acceptable for someone to be able comment on her country’s pavillion. It’s just that I wished some of the more important things were highlighted. It’s only my patriotic side talking that I want the world to know more about Malaysia, its achievements and developments.

If you saw the other pavillions, you’d probably feel the same way I do. I didn’t go to that many (impossible to even cover 10 pavillions in a day….and there were hundreds!), but I will blog later about the ones I managed to queue up for.