Probably one is the last to know, a sure sign of the top, but as of this week I now spell ‘prosperity’ K-u-a-l-a L-u-m-p-u-r. From the moment I looked out the plane window at the endless new construction, to anecdotal evidence during dinner with the Deputy Trade Minister, and several “Datos” (the equivalent title to a British knighthood, bestowed by the Sultan), it is everywhere. The big news here is the merger of three palm oil plantations to create a US$9.8 billion behemoth, suitable for world-scale institutional investment. Palm oil seems to have acquired new respect as a healthy cooking ingredient, as well as a suitable bio-additive to diesel.One hears, of course, the boom is happening all over India as well, but reading about it in the WSJ in my overstuffed armchair vs. feeling the buzz up close are viscerally dissimilar …

Ryan Carlson adds:

Perhaps a lot of the construction in Kuala Lumpur is the lead up to the 50th anniversary of Malaysian independence which will be celebrated in 2007.

From a short visit to K.L. earlier in January this year, I never encountered an honest cab driver, and as a rule wouldn’t invest in a country with such experiences. If I can’t trust the local population with a $5 transaction, I wouldn’t sink thousands into their stock market. However, I’m a huge bull on Singapore.





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