Hornbill Unleashed

November 15, 2009

Mysterious super-rich Malaysian in New York, Kuwait, and Sarawak

Filed under: Alternatives — Hornbill Unleashed @ 12:01 AM
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By Bunga Pakma

Gazillionaire‘‘On and on it flows like this! Never ceasing, day or night.’’  When Confucius said that (Analects 9.17), he was referring to rivers and time.  Here—without any disrespect but with crude irony—I’ll apply the same thing to the news in Malaysia.

The river I have in my mind’s eye to represent Malaysian Events is the Sungai Kelang which winds its muddy way in a concrete trough through Muddy Confluence.  In the dry season it can resemble a trickle; when the rains come it swells and boils.

The Klang River in KL feels no influence from the far-away sea.  It flows continuously downwards, without the back and forth of tides to cleanse it.  Its water is opaque and stinks, and it carries along with it all sorts of curious objects.

Now and again a real eye-popping oddity comes bobbing along.  I refer of course to the “Mystery Man” gazillionaire playboy/financier Low Taek Jho, who has been painting New York City red with such unparalleled abandon that his behaviour has startled New Yorkers themselves, a pretty blasé bunch who view celebrity and megabucks  with bored cynicism.

Hornbill Unleashed readers are expert and assiduous Netizens and I don’t need me to tell them who Mr. Low is, how much he spends, what he owns, and who he’s connected to.  Imagine, blowing US$50,000 on an evening in a club, on many occasions.  The blogger “Est Modus in Rebus” summed it up wittily:

“Far be it for me to deny anyone some partying, but when New Yorkers are scratching their heads over how you party and drink, oh lord, you must really be dishing it out. It takes some balls to be flashier than Donald Trump in his city”.[1]

First Low was rich, now he’s famous.

Est ModusThe original New York Post article sent to me by a Malaysian lawyer in Washington quoted an “inside observer” as saying, “Nobody spends their own money like that. It’s just weird.”[2] That’s an acute comment. The Post quoted a Kuwaiti, Hamad Alwazzan, as saying he was the man who bankrolled Low.  But now, as Investigative Bloggers have gotten into the issue, where all this fun-money comes from (and, perhaps, what it’s all “really” for), is a question become considerably more complicated and murky.  “Est Modus” has dug up very interesting connections, and Anilnetto has found a link with Sarawak’s régime.[3]

Something must be festering, because the MSM has been silent. It must have cost the newspapermen at the NST and Star much heartache to have to suppress this story.  Think of the potential spike in circulation!  Wow, a real-life, Malaysian Jay Gatsby!  It is time to re-read Fitzgerald’s great novel and imaginatively flesh out the bones of Mystery Man’s career and life. (Though I must say, “Joe Low,” as he goes by in the Big Apple, sounds a lot closer to salesman “Willie Loman” than to the glamorous Jazz-Age hero.) 

I see a book here, a movie, and I’m sure we’re going to get it, even though the plot might come to a different end.  Mr. Low is taking the precaution of keeping bodyguards around him constantly, something that the imprudent Gatsby failed to do.

There’s room for serious reflections on this episode of spendthrift glitz quite apart from confecting conspiracy-theories, or at the other pole, getting all moralistic and sniffy about wasting money.  It costs US$50,000 to drop a bomb on a village, and with 50 grand to blow wouldn’t you rather give yourself and a whole lot of people a good time rather than create a big hole and fill it with stiffs?

Three considerations arise when I consider Joe Low’s lavishness. One, where does the money come from?  Anybody would ask that question even if it were widely suspected that his fortune came from the popularity of a nutritious, eco-friendly cat food he manufactured.  We’ll hear about this in time.

Second—which follows from the first—is this excess the kind of thing that super-rich and super-connected Malaysians are up to all the time, and only now has one of them come out of the closet and partied in the limelight with gusto for all to see?

Third—and this follows from the last—does Joe Low arrange his fêtes with style and taste?  This is hardly a trivial matter.  Right now as far as New Yorkers are concerned Low IS Malaysia.  Mr. Low is an Ambassador for our country; it is of vital importance to the Malaysian National Image whether that champagne he doles out so generously be a vintage brut or a sickly demi-sec or doux.  The truffles and the caviar must not be “second-grade fresh,” —as the Russians put it.

excledcomoglioleprcoloror1Does Mr. Low wear rich and varied shirts of silk, flannel, and linen such as those whose beauty brought Daisy to helpless tears? Who’s his tailor?  Who cuts his hair? Does his cologne smell like it came from the men’s section of a pharmacy? And, not least, how good is his English?

No Ugly Malaysians, please.  New Yorkers are willing to grant the rich their little diversions.  After all, New York invented the Astors, Vanderbilts, Rockefellers, Morgans, Diamond Jim Bradys and a whole lot of others.  These folks got up some swell orgies in the Gilded Age.  It was excess with class, and New Yorkers respect class.

Wait, wait…..   I feel a chill  of conspiracy breathing on me….  Yes.  It’s all a plot! Since Mr. Low’s behaviour is so unusual, too flamboyant for a Malaysian, and inconsistent with his former character as a complete nobody, could it not be that he is sending a signal, a cry for help?

Here’s the scenario.  Sarawak is building dozens of huge dams; dams need concrete; concrete needs sand.  We know who supplies Sarawak with concrete. But, I understand, Sarawak’s sand-resources are nearly exhausted. At the current rate sand is extracted, the beaches will be gone by 2012.

So, Low’s friendly with the Kuwaitis. Kuwait’s got lots of sand, Sarawak has lots of pineapples, and Low can fix something up. Everybody’s happy, money is going around….  Then, something goes wrong. A deal is botched, friends in high places become deadly enemies. Immense fortunes—and many lives—hang in the balance.  Low’s in between, he’s got the information. He’s scared. He’s got to get the message out and get help.  How, when he’s being watched?  Through consumption as conspicuous as blazing neon.

As they say, watch this (cyber-)space!

[1] [http://laych.com/2009/11/10/just-who-is-jho-low/

[2] [http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/big_spending_malaysian_scene_the_Fu1amZaRx9MOMsr9HCIOzK]

[3] http://anilnetto.com/energy-resources/big-spending-malaysian-in-new-york/


  1. […] The Chief Minister has been in power for 28 long and filthy years.’  or better still this:-Mysterious………….. Ooooh Wow!!  Do they know how to shoot or what? Maybe they dont even know how to Bash people up but […]

    Pingback by BN Sarawak”CM Taib or Sng Bashing Time” « Audie61’s Weblog — November 15, 2009 @ 10:38 PM | Reply

  2. The blogs say this Low fellow works with Taib’s son Mahmud Bekir. So if he has big bucks to spend, what are the chances the loot is squeezed from Sarawakians, like blood and tears?

    Comment by Pak Bui — November 15, 2009 @ 3:22 PM | Reply

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