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“It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.” – Neil Armstrong (1930-2012)

Fresh Reads from the Science 'o sphere!

Monday, July 31, 2006

Holiday @ Genting.
Day Two - Lim Goh Tong Museum.

After breakfast, I went to visit the Lim Goh Tong museum which was just beside the Coffee Terrace. Lim Goh Tong (林梧桐) is the Malaysian Casino King who founded Genting. He has a classic rags-to-riches story. Starting as poor migrant worker from China, he worked various odd jobs before entering the construction industry as a subcontractor. By 1965 he already made a lot of money from his construction business, but he decided to take a big risk and spent $20 million to develop Genting.

If you watched as many Austin Powers movies as I have, you know that there was only about $20 million in the whole world at that time. So it was a massive bet.

And boy did it pay off.

Lim Goh Tong once made Forbes list of billionaires with net worth of US$ 2 billion in 2002 and 2003. He also owns the Star Cruises company. The Malaysian government confered him the Federal title of Tan Sri.

Here's the giant wall poster at the entrance of the museum. Lim Goh Tong looks like a patient uncle. I think he prefers this photo of him taken when he was middle-aged, because it appears everywhere. The museum was quite empty apart from a few curious peeps, like me. All the regular uncles and aunties were way more interested in rolling a fast buck at the casinos.

Uncle Lim is not running Genting any more, since he is already 88 years old. When you have a billion dollar business staffed by thousands of able employees, who do you hand it to when you're too old to work?

He gave it to his son. Hah.

This feels like that Yang Zhenning story all over again.

Also on display was a book that Mr. Lim wrote, available in English, Chinese and Malay. He is definitely a super-successful businessman, but I wonder if his experience has any relevance for me. After all he looks really nice, patient and focused.

Very "normal-normal".

My role models tend to be a bit on the wacko side...

Like Paul Verhoeven for example. Totally mad.

Mr. Lim has received many gifts and awards over the years and displays them proudly in this set of glass cabinets.

I have almost that many Star Wars toys stuffed into my cabinet. All accumulating dust and a few are actually growing mold inside. But if I open the packaging, they won't be collector's grade anymore. Banish the thought!

These sets of charts show the growth of Genting in six performance indicators. Overall Genting has done very well, but if you look closely you can see a dip between 1998-2000 in some of the charts. I guess that corresponds to the Asian Financial Crisis. Malaysia suffered a recession during that time period and Genting appears to be affected as well.

At the back of the museum, there is a glass display case full of insect specimens, but there was no description as to why it is there. Mr. Lim likes collecting insects? These are insects common in the Genting area? Or endangered in the Genting area?

I see your lack of caring. I know, I'm not that much into insects neither.

There is a whole wall section devoted to photos of VIP visitors. Check this out! Run Run Shaw, one of the Shaw Brothers. King of the Movies in the 1970s and early 80s. He is still around today at a whopping 99 years of age!

Old uncle Lim with his son and the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Abdullah Badawi during a New Year Loh Hei. I put this picture up because I think Mr. Badawi is a nice uncle.

There are many wall panels that illustrate how Genting was built, stage by stage. This is the first hotel in Genting under construction in 1970. It was named Highlands Hotel then and has since been renamed Theme Park Hotel.

The flagship, Genting Hotel under construction in 1978. This five-star hotel with its prominent big-red sign occupies the central position on Genting complex of hotels.

And finally this model shows the overview of the resort city that Mr. Lim built.

The more I look at it, the more it reminds me of a eukaryote cell. Doesn't Genting Hotel (big red sign) resemble a nucleus? The previous "nucleus" of Genting was the old Highlands Hotel, which you can call a "prokaryote nucleoid" for all I care. Now it has been renamed Theme Park Hotel. Also known as "mitochondrial nucleoid".

If Genting is similar to a cell, then does it have analogous features to biological evolution? Boy oh boy let's go find out!

This sounds like high geek-ism.

*Update: Mr. Lim Goh Tong passed away this morning at 11.20 am, on 23rd October 2007.

Fresh Brainz salutes this nice uncle who had the vision and perseverance to create a beautiful mountain resort out of practically nothing.