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Sir Jackie Stewart in Pangkor Laut

   
Kuaal Lumpur, 22 March 2003

Sir Jackie Stewart, winner of 27 Formula One races and three-time Formula One World Championship winner from 1965-73 took a respite in the tropical paradise of Pangkor Laut Resort before the Malaysian Grand Prix recently.

Currently a member of the board of directors of Jaguar Racing, Sir Jackie gave YTL Community an exclusive interview at one of the exquisite Estates in Marina Bay where he stayed during his four-day visit.

Excerpts of the interview:

On Malaysia
I came to Malaysia originally in the 70ís. When I got here, KL was already a big cityÖ a truly Asia Pacific metropolis capital.

There is a transformation I see. Kuala Lumpur is now a major city, with the highest building in the world. It still has a taste of Asia-Pacific, but it has developed as most large metropolises develop Ė high-rise buildings, communication systems, first-class hotels, very successful businesses.

The most impressive thing for me of Malaysia is the infrastructure. Politically, the country has developed, using the colonial past for very good foundations for education, for police, for transportation, for social services. Tour airport is one of the finest in the world that I have seen. Sepang, the F1 Grand Prix circuit is extraordinary, certainly the best facility in the world at any time for the Formula One Grand Prix races. And you look at the (Petronas) Twin Towers, just extraordinary examples for the modern society, modern world, modern city, modern people and yet you still have incredible jungles and islands.

   
   Pangkor Laut General Manager Laurent Myter welcoming Sir Jackie at the helipad.
I very much enjoy Malaysia. I think the prime minister has done a fantastic job. Dr Mahathir (Mohamad) has done a great job in developing this country into a major player of the world today Ė with multi-national corporations wanting to come to Malaysia. And now, Malaysia has invested (internationally), YTL for example, has invested in Wessex Water in England, a major company. You have a really global environment but still a culture that is incredibly multicultural.

On Pangkor Laut Resort
Ironically, I have never been to any resorts. The resort, Pangkor Laut, is probably as good a health spa resort that Iíve ever been to in the world, and I travel all the time. The mood here is so relaxed, so natural, so beautiful. For whatever reasons, it was something that I have never done in my visits before. A lot of times, my visits here have to do with the Formula One. I donít know why Iíve never been here before.

Last night, I telephoned my wife, and I told her we have to come back here. I donít know why I didnít come before, but sure, Iíll come again.

You have here a special place. I think people are going to want to continue coming here for a long time.

On Spa Village
I think one of the things that attract me to come to Malaysia and the Asia-Pacific region is, there is all this culture, which fortunately has been retained. When I was at the spa, I have a strong reminder that that was still very much in place. I was treated by a therapist from Bali yesterday. Today, I am going to take an Indian programme. What Iíve experienced so far has been nothing short of perfect, on the basis of the way I was treated, and the facilities here are superb Ė comfortable, private, very well appointed. Itís very impressive, I must say.

On the Malaysian Grand Prix
Formula One Grand Prix racing is incredibly popular. Malaysia is an important stopover because Asia-Pacific is a big marketplace. When the Prime Minister Dr Mahathir decided to build a Grand Prix track, it was because he wanted to project the image of Malaysia in a high technology sport and he has successfully achieved that.

On the ban on tobacco sponsorship
Tobacco sponsorship has been a very large source of revenue, much more than on a normal basis for a good many years. Every government has seen the reason to no longer have cigarette or tobacco sponsorship to project the image of the sport. Young people should not be encouraged to smoke. It is very bad for the health.

   
Myter escorting Sir Jackie for a tour of the resort
As a sport, we have to be responsible. I think it (the ban) gives the opportunity of the marketplace to broaden. Tobacco sponsorship took away the opportunity for other multi-national corporations to use that space to promote because they couldnít compete with the cost of sponsorships that the tobacco sponsorships could afford.

On safety standards of racing
When I was racingÖ I made the comment once, ďWhen I was racing, that was when men were men.Ē It was very dangerous, not because it should be but because nobody had taken an interest in removing the unnecessary hazards. Iíve been a big mover for safety Ė refusing to drive if there was no correct medical facilities, or no correct safety equipment, or not enough safety barriers for the spectators.

When I was racing, if you were racing for a period of five years, there was going to be a two out of three change that youíre going to die. And that seemed to be to be illogical. When I was racing, motor racing was dangerous and sex was safe. Unfortunately, thatís no longer trueÖ because all sorts of people are making motor racing safer. Iím not sure about sex.

On dyslexia
I am dyslexic. Iím not sure if everybody knows what dyslexia is, but itís a learning disability or learning difference. Dyslexics have a problem of consuming information in the traditional sense. You donít see words the same way as other people Ė it looks like a jungle of letters and sometimes they are the wrong way round.

I could never recite the alphabet. I donít know the Lordís Prayer, I say it a millisecond slower than everybody else.

Because you are a disabled, does not mean that you cannot achieve. I won three Championships. I did trap shooting for Scotland and Great Britain. I made a lot of money from business. But I still had the same problem. It was very frustrating. I didnít know that I was dyslexic until I was 42 years of age. (When I found out), it was like somebody had saved me from drowning. Suddenly, I realised I wasnít stupid.

I donít know the alphabet, but I remember every corner, every gear change, every braking distance at the Nurburgring in Germany, which is 23km or 14.7 miles. I just cannot remember the left from right Ė left is the hand with the watch, the right is the one without the watch. But if a very pretty girl gives me her telephone number, I would never forget!


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