Datuk Tan Pei Ing’s deep-seated convictions about architecture and her own philosophies in life are very much intertwined. Late last year, Datuk Tan was put into a spot when she was denied entry into Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) by a security guard for wearing a skirt. The incident unwittingly forced the architect to post a picture of herself on Facebook to justify her attire (she was professionally dressed in a skirt suit with its hem well below the knee). Her post drew ire from the public towards the bar and DBKL was quick to issue an apology on its Facebook page with even the mayor himself perplexed as to why she was not allowed into the building. It is to Datuk Tan’s credit that she did not back down.
“When I feel justice needs to be done, I’ll stand up and stick my neck out by fighting for an issue I strongly believe in,” she says in a cover exclusive with The Peak. Her frank views also take into account what Kuala Lumpur needs to preserve. “I live and work in the city, and what matters most to us are the environment and quality of life,” she says. “Kuala Lumpur could do with much better public spaces – parks, for instance.”
Clearly, the former first female Pertubuhan Arkitek Malaysia (PAM) president’s opinions have earned her the respect and dignity she deserves, all while remaining elegant and poised. “It’s such an important profession, and I want to be part of a process that enables change,” was her simple answer as to why she remains steadfast in her professionalism.
While Datuk Tan is the jewel in the crown of our Bejewelled issue, this month also sees our writer Kirat Kaur going on an incredible journey with Datuk Ramli Ibrahim, the renowned Artistic Director and Chairman of Sutra Foundation, to the Konark Dance Festival of which his dance company took part in. For our writer, it was an experience that left her enthralled and inspired, proving that you can’t put a price on some gems. MINDY TEH, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF