(That Thing I Do)

National Geographic Store @ Lot 10, Bukit Bintang

Posted on April 10, 2010 by marcky

National Geographic Genographic Project kit

Have you ever wondered where you came from thousands of years ago? The Genographic Project by National Geographic does just that. Is it even possible to trace your ancestry so far back? Impossible? No. Ambitious? Yes.

Ambition. This is precisely the attribute that drives National Geographic in their global endeavors to increase and diffuse geographic knowledge. They’ve been doing it since 1888, and they’ve been doing it with passion and ambition. Their presence can be felt in their publications and their own television channel. And on April 8th 2010, they have anchored their presence in the form of the National Geographic Store.

National Geographic Store, Lot 10, Kuala Lumpur

Tan Sri Francis Yeoh is delighted to meet with us

In collaboration with YTL Corporation , the store was officiated by a man who needs nointroduction Tan Sri Francis Yeoh . Also present with Tan Sri were Pere Matamalas (CEO, Worldwide Retail Store S.L.) and Alex Dotti (Sr. Vice President of the same group, which is working in partnership with National Geographic).

Tan Sri Francis Yeoh, Pere Matamales & Alex Dotti

Despite the suits, and the fancy food and beverages (more on that later!), the event was an informal one. Speeches were prepared (presumably tirelessly), for this event, but Tan Sri decided to toss all formalities out the window, and sit down with us bloggers and just… talk. Tan Sri began his conversation (yes, conversation, not speech) with us with an expression of how he holds in importance generation of “screenagers” and “greenagers”. We sank into comfort, knowing what he meant by those terms, without him having to elaborate. Tan Sri spoke a lot about the reason he pioneered to bring National Geographic to our shores, citing his deep love and respect for the earth and creation. It’s a love and respect that he wishes us to embrace.

Tan Sri’s enthusiasm is obvious from his animated elaboration

During our conversation with Tan Sri Francis Yeoh, one of us was given the privilege to participle in the Human Genealogy project, where one’s ancestry is analyzed and traced, based on gene samples provided. The idea is so amazing, it took me a while before I could digest the reality of this project.

In another moment of spontaneity, Tan Sri decided it wasn’t right that only one of us got the privilege of  this participation – which was the original plan. He decided to give all bloggers present the same opportunity. A clear testament to his passion for National Geographic and their undertakings; a passion he clearly hopes we emulate. This passion is reflected in a quote which Mr. Pere Matamales cited (paraphrased):

“A person who works with their hands is a laborer; A person who works with their hands and brain is a craftsman; A person who works with their hands, brain and heart is an artist.”

A testament to Tan Sri Francis Yeoh’s passion in delivering his message

Josh Lim of Advertlets volunteers to demonstrate how to collect DNA samples

Located in the iconic green Lot 10 at the Bukit Bintang area of KL, the National Geographic Store – the second in Asia and fourth in the world – aims to bring to Malaysians the essence of nature and adventure. The offerings at the National Geographic store extends beyond just merchandise and adventure gear; also featured are authentic, one-of-a-kind items hand-crafted by global artisans. Interested to know more about your ancestry? The Genographic Project kit is also available for purchase at the store. The award-winning magazines, books and DVDs are also available for the curious learner in you.

Merchandising can never be complete without T-shirts

Want a piece of the wild to bring home? Buy a stuffed animal

Rugged adventure gear for the great outdoors, and note books for the great indoors

Educational books for the young ones – I wish I had these when I was a kid

Now you can have the whole world in your hands… sort of!

Welcome to the National Geographic store

All is fine and dandy with the National Geographic store, but it isn’t just a place you go to buy “stuff”. No. It’s an experience. The store boasts an in-house cafe specializing in pinchos , featuring a menu designed by award-winning Spanish chef Miguel Espinosa. The store decor doesn’t feel like it intrudes into the cafe experience, but rather complements it.

Boys, meet Estrella. Damm!

Stay a while, if only for the signature Sangria

The stars of the cafe are the signature Sangria and Estrella Damm, a Spanish Catalan beer that you can hardly find anywhere else. A wise man once told me that a good cocktail must taste of liquor, but never of alcohol, so as to be a joy to drink. By this definition, their Sangria is a great cocktail. In fact, I almost forgot it was alcoholic, as I was knocking back Sangria after delectable Sangria. I didn’t neglect the beer. That would just be a shame. Estrella introduced herself as a fruity flavor on the tongue and a crispy sensation down the back of the tongue all the way down the throat. You’ll find yourself without any difficulty in washing down all the pinchos, including a some Malaysian-inspired varieties.

The bruschetta-like pincho was too good to last

Malaysian-inspired otak-otak pincho


The National Geographic Store in Lot 10 offers more than just things you can pay money to take off a shelf. It offers insight. It offers uniqueness. It offers an experience. We can expect National Geographic to hold events at the store from time to time. Drop by from time to time to get the latest on such events. Even if you’re not a “greenager”, try the pinchos and Sangria. Sink into the feel of the store. See if you can’t convince yourself to see the world. After all, National Geographic has brought the world right to you. Why not just put on a pair of boots and open your eyes.

I found difficulty in keeping my focus off the Sangria

The bloggers with Pere, Alex and Tan Sri Francis Yeoh

(Photographs courtesy of Bonnie Yap and Ogilvy , and Marcky – that’s me!)

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