Not the Retiring Type

The golden spires of Putrajaya, Malaysia's new administrative capital, shimmer in the tropical heat. Below them, manicured lawns and neat villas housing civil servants line the spotless avenues. Barely a blade of grass is out of place in this modern cityscape, which sprung out of a former palm-oil plantation a decade ago courtesy of a single man's vision. But there is one road in Putrajaya that is different. Although the path affords a telescopic view of the onion-domed citadel that is the new prime-ministerial office, this strip of asphalt is mysteriously overgrown with weeds and scrub. No gleaming skyscrapers have taken...

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