In a pub called Delaney's in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur, an East Indian singer named Sheila Isaac (her grandfather was Jewish) sings Irish ballads in a perfect brogue.
That's what Malaysia is all about.
A country of 23 million people in Southeast Asia, Malaysia has Chinese, Indians, Malays and Caucasians all working together to produce one of the world's most vibrant economies, in an atmosphere of respect and congeniality. The bustling capital of Kuala Lumpur, known as KL, boasts the world's tallest skyscrapers, the Petronas Towers; shopping to die for; rollicking nitelife; and some of the best and most luxurious hotels in the world (they had to drag me from the KL Shangri-La Hotel).
Outside of KL, you'll find some of the world's best beaches in places like Langkawi; an orangutan refuge in Sabah; and opportunities for adventure trekking in Sarawak. The latter can be either "hard" or "soft" adventure, but both types give you the opportunity to canoe down a river in the Borneo rainforest, hike in the jungle, meet indigenous people like the Iban tribe, and visit their native longhouses. (For more information, look up Jolly Travel at www.jollytravelsarawak.com.)
Visiting Malaysia allows you to see many Asian cultures in just one country, and you'll be accorded one of the friendliest welcomes you've ever experienced. For more information, contact the New York office of the Malaysia Tourist Promotion Board at www.visitmalaysia.com, or e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.