Belgian Banker-turned-author promotes Malaysia through books
Fascinated by Malaysia's pretty landscape, a former Belgian banker, François Walter, wants to promote this part of the world to his fellow countrymen through his own books.

Colourful coffee-table books portraying Malaysia's diverse cultures, its beautiful sandy beaches and monuments is Walter's way of telling the Europeans about the tropical country in Southeast Asia.

To date, he has successfully authored two books about Malaysia.

"As a young banker I was interested in Southeast Asia and visited some 10 countries in the region, but I stopped in Malaysia. I was not only interested in the country's multiracial culture but also the growing economy.

"Malaysia is much more interesting. You see the multi-ethnic aspects, you see the architecture, dressing and people's personality. Malaysia is truly Asia.

"But in my country, people only know of Hong Kong and Singapore, not Malaysia, so I wanted to promote Malaysia," he told Bernama during his recent visit to Kuala Lumpur.

After quitting his job as a banker for the past 32 years and using his personal savings, the 58-year-old Belgian published his first book in 2001.

Titled "Walter François Presents Malaysia", the 265-page book with 240 pictures, mainly portraying Malaysia as a popular tourist destination, sold more than 3,000 copies.

"It was a real success. More people in Belgium were keen to visit Malaysia after reading the book and they came to my house to seek information," said Walter.

Over the span of 17 years Walter visited Malaysia at least 34 times and even managed to learn Bahasa Malaysia. His fascination did not stop with the first book, and he immediately decided to produce a second.

But this time, Walter focused on Pulau Langkawi and with the help of a local journalist, he completed the book.

"Langkawi has more to offer than beaches. For instance, there is eco-tourism, underwater world, bird park, agricultural farming and crocodile farm. It also has its own legend which I explained in my book through some sepia picture, about the old Langkawi.

Walter plans to promote the book during the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace (Lima) exhibition next month.

"It is an ideal time, Lima attracts about half-a-million visitors. It is an ideal gift for the visitors and I hope this book will stimulate more tourism for Langkawi.

"I plan to translate the book into Japanese, Chinese and Arabic and hope to get the cooperation of the tourism ministry in Malaysia to translate it into the three languages," he added.

Besides, Walter also plans to have a photo exhibition in Langkawi during the Lima exhibition.

Source: Bernama
Date: 02/11/2005
Author: P.Vijian

Other articles:

•  2011/01/28 Former PM launches Book
•  2011/01/19 For the love of Malaysia
•  2011/01/17 Malaysia 'kekasih' Walter (Malay)
•  2011/01/07 Belgian writer launches his fourth book on Malaysia
•  2010/12/30 Wherever you go, have respect!
•  2008/09/19 Walter François: "MaleisiŽ is echt geen apenland" (Dutch)
•  2008/08 Ghent in Kuala Lumpur, a photographic exhibition by Walter François
•  2008/08 Ghent in Kuala Lumpur
•  2008/06/18 Bonding two nations via photographs
•  2007/09/19 From banking to writing
•  2006/11/17 Gemeente Lochristi: Exotische sfeer in gemeentehuis (Dutch)
•  2005/12/27 Walter François's new book on Langkawi
•  2005/12/27 Penulis Belgium hasilkan buku tentang Langkawi (Malay)
•  2005/12/14 Belgian writer's new book On Langkawi out next week
•  2005/11/02 Belgian Banker-turned-author promotes Malaysia through books
•  2002/02 Walter François presents Malaysia
•  2001/06/11 Belgian banker to publish picture book on Malaysia
•  2001/06 Kekaguman warga Belgium terhadap Malaysia (Malay)
•  1999/07/03 Borneo anders bekeken (Dutch)
•  1999/04/28 Pictorial book on two States being compiled
•  1998/06/26 Dok Mungki Walter
•  1997/07 Tentoonstelling 'Borneo 2000' (Dutch)
Preview Gallery
Below a small selection of pictures which are featured in Walter's latest coffee table book. Click on the pictures to see the larger version.