“The basic ideology of an exposition is that the packaging is more important than the product, meaning that the building and the objects in it should communicate the value of a culture, the image of a civilization.”
– ‘How An Exposition Exposes Itself’, Umberto Eco.
Our multi-cultural generations have gone through 52 years of independence by progressing through no less than 10 national economic plans to fuel our collective drive for a progressively better quality of life. We are constantly embracing the latest technologies in our quest for industrialization, vigilantly gearing up for a placement within globalization. Our formscapes and skylines are constantly evolving as testimonials to our ascension. No trend or fashion could obliterate our culture or customs but instead will find themselves enhanced by infusion. We have come to be bold and confident enough to stage our country up as backdrop for international events to be seen by the world. Even when we bicker and squabble amongst ourselves it’s only because we each believe we can do better than the other for the betterment of all.
However, despite the well deserved bravado that we have earned for ourselves through our development together as a nation, it’s unfathomable that there are those in position from amongst us that could be oblivious or ignorant of it when putting up our national pavilion currently standing within the Shanghai Expo 2010. What was selected for that highly anticipated international event is shamelessly belittling our achievements and aspirations.
Despite the world class infrastructure and facilities that we have put up in our country for trade, the pavilion seems to prefer to attract trade with the image of a glorified sweatshop. If tourism is its point of attraction, the pavilion merely offers precognition of a shopping haven for cheap and tacky productions. If it is heritage that we are trying to intrigue visitors with, the pavilion is hardly a representation but is instead a disrespectful imitation of it; we appear not even able to imitate our own heritage well. But if the pavilion simply wants to boast the numbers of visitors to itself, it probably would succeed with a design that would give the impression to the crowds that it is where the public conveniences are.
The choice for the Malaysian Pavilion is an affront to the efforts, achievements and ambitions of national registration identity card holders of this country. There is another, though by no means final, reading of the pavilion and that it also appears to be done simply for the sake of selfish personal profit by some numbers amongst us with complete disregard of the potential and potency of such a pavilion for the people. In that were the case, the only benefit thus would be the lesson to be learned that the product of any number that has minus itself from One Malaysia, would and could only bring about a negative value.