Over two years ago my wife and I spent fourteen days in quarantine in a hotel in Kuala Lumpur on our return from Turkey. While it was hardly the most exciting thing to do, particularly with a chef who seemed to revel in his ability to get chicken into every meal, it was a small price to pay for being in a relatively safe city during Covid-19.
Obviously, with a window that fronted onto a dual carriageway, views were largely limited to the uninteresting shops opposite. Even when we escaped at the end of fourteen days, we were more intent on getting home to our apartment than in surveying the surrounding landscape.
As I have written previously, lockdown ended up launching me on my latest venture of children’s author. Through this venture I discovered that Malaysia had a Museum of Picture Book Art. With my second book about to be published this Museum was chosen for the launch.
Being someone that always believes in thorough preparation, I decided to visit the Museum to do a reconnaissance. Imagine my amazement when I discovered that the location was right next to my quarantine hotel!
But this was just the beginning. The building in which the museum is housed is nine storeys high and contains a plethora of creative artists. After managing just two floors I needed to rest as I was still operating on one crutch after my recent operation. By then I had seen so many creative and different works and I still had more saved for another day.
Even the coffee was a wonderful surprise. Not only was it a delightfully friendly place that produced coffee of a much higher standard than the high street chains, but it also turned out to be the one place I could buy Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee to take home.
The most disturbing part of this trip, however, came after I returned home. I started informing people of the upcoming book launch and no one knew where this creative, entrepreneurial centre was. Most had never heard of it.
While my book launch will introduce the place to those that come to my book launch, this blog is designed to open the eyes of people in Kuala Lumpur to a true gem in the middle of the Golden Triangle and fifteen minutes’ walk from the shopping malls of Bukit Bintang. It also has a lesson for those not in Malaysia.
Throughout life we get very close to many opportunities without even noticing them. We are so programmed to get from A to B in the quickest possible time that we fail to notice what is around us. As someone whose contribution to his old university lies in supporting creative arts entrepreneurs, I am ashamed to admit that even I missed this opportunity for two years.
So, give yourselves a break from the plethora of designer shops and indulge yourself in the creative abilities of local people. And even if you are not in Malaysia and cannot visit GMBB, which is the name of the centre, don’t just look at the view in front of you, look around you and be surprised at what you find.
The Museum of Picture Book Art is on the first floor of GMBB. The address is 2, Jalan Robertson, Bukit Bintang, hence the BB part of the title. They have a Facebook page and a website. Take time out to investigate.