French book on Penang launched in Paris

A book on Penang entitled Penang: la Porte des Secrets (Penang – Through Gilded Doors) as well as an exhibition of photographs on the Malaysian island were launched today, 18 October 2006 in Paris.

The book, its French edition stylishly written by Julia de Bierre and superbly photographed by James Bain Smith was officially launched by the Malaysian Ambassador to France, H.E. Dato? S. Thanarajasingam, at a ceremony held at the Café des Initiés in Paris.

In his opening address, H.E. Ambassador Dato’ Thanarajasingam said that the gilded doors of Penang were indeed a gateway to Malaysia, rich in culture and natural resources.

“With 2007 being the Visit Malaysia Year, Malaysia looks forward to welcoming all its guests and visitors with its traditional warmth and hospitality”, he said, calling on French people to visit Penang and Malaysia to savor the cultural diversity of Malaysia.

The event organized by Tourism Malaysia Paris was attended by more than 100 guests comprising of members of the local travel industry, corporate guests and media representatives. The guests present were treated to a spread of traditional

Malaysian delicacies such as murtabak, curry puffs, cucur badak, seri muka, pakora, kuih lapis and spring rolls, plus Malaysia’s favourite drink, ‘teh tarik’ were also served to guests.

The book Penang: la Porte des Secrets published by Areca Books, a Malaysian publisher based in Penang, would be an inspirational guide to the island for any foreign traveller. Julia de Bierre who was born and grew up in Penang is not only a Paris based writer but also an arts and antiques specialist with an in-depth knowledge of Malaysia. The book which will be on sale in Europe will not only be available at bookshops but also at hotels, airports and museum shops.

Photographer James Bain Smith is an international artist and leading specialist in decorative arts. A fine arts graduate of the Royal Academy School in London, the exhibition on the beautiful photographs of Penang was part of his photography works.

The launching of the book together with the photo exhibition of Penang in Paris was indeed a golden opportunity not only to introduce Penang as a cultural destination for French tourists but also an added mileage to promote Malaysia in France.

This article first appeared on 18 October 2006 on the website of the Embassy of Malaysia, Paris.