I had been writing about new cities and developments like this all over Asia for many years, and doing informal visits where I could get a feel for the place, chatting with home buyers and people running local businesses, was part of my standard operating procedure.
But something happened here that I hadn't experienced before: I was approached by a security agent and was sternly told that I couldn't use my camera—that cameras were not allowed in Danga Bay.
I questioned him: "So in a development where 20,000 people are supposed to live, nobody is allowed to have a camera?"
He said that was correct.
Of course, that wasn't true, but there was nothing that I could do: I was in a small city-sized development that was 100% privately-owned and operated by the Chinese developer Country Garden. The word of the company was law.