The Peak (Malaysia) - - View From The Peak - MINDY TEH, ED­I­TOR-IN-CHIEF The Peak Malaysia the­p­eak­malaysia

If F. Scott Fitzger­ald once said that there were no sec­ond acts in Amer­i­can lives, then surely An­thony Bour­dain’s sto­ried life has dis­proved this. Bour­dain’s ca­reer took off rather late in life – he would pub­lish Kitchen Con­fi­den­tial, the book that set him on the path to fame, at age 44 and his travel shows only com­menced from then on. That he had been given this fan­tas­tic sec­ond chance was not lost on Bour­dain and he em­braced it, liv­ing deeply and suck­ing on the mar­row of life with rel­ish.

To hear word of his sui­cide, then, is shock­ing and sad. We’d come to see him not just as a mere TV pre­sen­ter but also a bea­con of hope for those of us look­ing for­ward to our own sec­ond acts. In the mean­time, we would do so in front of the screen, liv­ing vi­car­i­ously through his many trav­els abroad, en­vy­ing his bravado, and his frank, acer­bic voice.

News of his death ar­rived just as we were putting the fin­ish­ing touches to our travel is­sue and a tribute to him is al­most cer­tainly nec­es­sary. Per­haps, though, a more fit­ting send-off would be for us to heed some his advice: “If I’m an ad­vo­cate for any­thing, it’s to move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or sim­ply across the river. The ex­tent to which you can walk in some­one else’s shoes or at least eat their food, it’s a plus for ev­ery­body. Open your mind, get up off the couch, move.”

Or else, con­trib­ute – Bour­dain’s pi­o­neer­ing TV work sees his pro­grammes go­ing be­yond food, evolv­ing into so­cio-po­lit­i­cal com­men­taries and ex­plo­rations of how peo­ple live around the world. Also, stay cu­ri­ous: “Without ex­per­i­men­ta­tion, a will­ing­ness to ask ques­tions and try new things, we shall surely be­come static, repet­i­tive, and mori­bund.”

These are sen­ti­ments also shared by Dato’ Teo Chi­ang Quan, whose long-stand­ing con­tri­bu­tions to Para­mount Group not only in­clude prop­erty de­vel­op­ment but also an early, ground­break­ing foray into education with the KDU brand. In a rare in­ter­view, the soft-spo­ken yet in­ci­sive Dato’ Teo talks about see­ing be­yond what is good for busi­ness. “When­ever I say that we’re in these two busi­nesses and that they both in­volve na­tion-build­ing, peo­ple some­times laugh at me and ask, ‘Are you sure you can do na­tion­build­ing?’ But that’s ex­actly what it is – we sim­ply have a softer way of say­ing it.”

Dato’ Teo also talks about the im­por­tance of be­ing brave, ei­ther in do­ing some­thing we’ve never done be­fore but also in be­ing able to go against the grain, mir­ror­ing Bour­dain’s words with a sim­ple, pointed state­ment: “You should not be afraid to be the ex­cep­tion.” Words to live by, whichever act you find your­self in the movie of your life.

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