The Star, 7 September 2002
Was it written in the stars that all the recent major events were held at Starhill? From its re-launch as KL’s fashion haven to the Bridal Fair and Kenzo show, Starhill and J.W. Marriott glittered with glamour. MARILYN ONG shone like a star as well.
Aug 23 – An evening with stars
THE advertisement in The Star announcing Starhill’s re-invention featured the famous dome of Paris. Or something very similar, replete with stained glass and elaborate embellishments. Many thought that was the new interior of Starhill and were bemused when there was a distinct absence of multi-hued glasswork and cherubs.
Many questioned why that photograph did not feature the actual interior of Starhill which is contemporary glamour while the one in Paris is more baroque art nouveau.
“That picture is just symbolic of a new shopping experience as personified by Starhill. It simply represents our vision of an integrated and seamless shopping and hotel experience as Starhill and J.W. Marriott are linked with easy access throughout,” explained Tan Sri Francis Yeoh, looking his usual bright and happy self.
As it so happened, it was also his 47th birthday and those in the know were busy planting kisses on his cheeks.
His children – Jacob, Joseph, Joshua, Ruth and Rebecca – were on hand. His eldest son, 17-year-old Jacob, looks like a Hong Kong movie star. That’s not surprising as his mother, Puan Sri Datuk Rosalind Yeoh was a former Hong Kong star. His proud father told me Jacob scored three As in his A-Levels and is off to Imperial College, London this month to do engineering. Grinned Yeoh, “I wonder where Jacob got his brains from?”
The guest-of-honour was Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen, Deputy Minister of Culture, Arts and Tourism. “With the ringgit pegged at RM3.80 to the US dollar, shopping is now the second largest spending incurred by tourists,” she said. “My Ministry has taken steps to make Malaysia a shopping paradise. We have waived taxes on leather goods and selected branded goods so international brands are priced competitively.”
Beamed Yeoh, ”Since YTL acquired Starhill in 1999, our aim has been to position Malaysia as an international shopping destination, on par with Singapore and Hong Kong.” YTL enjoys untold synergies as they also own J.W. Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, Pangkor Laut Resort, Tanjong Jara Resort and Lot 10. They also created the highly successful Bintang Walk and now owns Sentidos Tapas and Shook! restaurants.
Also on hand to congratulate were Datuk Sulaiman Manan and Datin Ramona, former owners of Starhill and Lot 10. “Francis has done a great job enhancing the original concept,” remarked Ramony, who used to walk up and down Starhill advising her tenants on window display and interior décor. Watch out for her comeback.