In the second half of the twentieth century, many nations around the globe promoted themselves through pictorial magazines. I don’t know of any academic study of these works, but I wish someone would undertake one, as it would be very interesting.

There were many such magazines published in Communist countries as well as in “the free world.” It would therefore be interesting to compare and contrast the images and ideas that were displayed in these magazines.

I recently came across some issues of one such magazine from Malaysia in the 1970s called “Malaysian Panorama.”

Women feature prominently on the cover of this magazine. Why would this be the case? The feeling that I get is that someone was trying to send a message that Malaysia is an “exotic” and yet nurturing and calm land, a land of wholesome beauty.

At the same time, the magazine also has several covers which clearly point to the modernity of Malaysia and depict it as a place which is scientifically on par with other nations.

And it is a place which has the modern infrastructure and all of the amenities that any foreign business would require.

So perhaps this is why the cover has a combination of images of exotic yet wholesome women and scientific modernity. It is advertising the nation of Malaysia as a modern land with a distinct identity and culture, and one which welcomes foreign investment. There is nothing to fear.