Saturday, February 20, 2016

Keep calm and Kuala Lumpur

My five-day experience at the middle/upper campus of International School of Kuala Lumpur was stellar. After one of my talks, a girl told me she’d heard me present (about two years ago)…at her Virginia middle school. First time I’m aware of that I’ve encountered a student twice—but on different continents.

One night, my kind host Beau Cain and his equally kind wife took me to dinner in Kuala Lumpur. Another first for me: ordering Thai food at an Irish pub (in Malaysia, no less).

The day I arrived, I’d heard from Malaysian radio personality Umapagan (Uma) Ampikaipakan, who does a popular drive-time show and also produces When We Last Left Our Heroes, a monthly radio show/podcast about the cultural influence of superheroes. He asked if I’d come on the show.

It was fun to discover that I have had professional dealings with several of the gents (Paul Levitz, Neal Adams, Brian Cronin, Arnold Blumberg) who have been on Uma’s show. Yet another first: I was the first guest on the show to be interviewed at the studio.

To get me back to my hotel, Uma ordered an Uber. When I got in the car (while Uma was upstairs on the air), the driver said “You’re not Uma.” Uma is a local celeb and I totally dashed the driver’s hopes. When I asked Vernon (his real name) how long it would take to walk to my hotel from the mall he was taking me to, he said he wasn’t sure. He elaborated: “In KL, only white people walk.”

At that mall, I visited the DC Superheroes store. Unlike most mall stores, it has two entrances:

Interestingly (though not in a good way), the store sells no comics and very little reading material.

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