Saturday, 25 July 2009

George Town UNESCO heritage celebration

Have you bought your copy of the George Town heritage passport yet? You should, if you intend to go wandering around the city today as it celebrates its first anniversary on the UNESCO world heritage list. To me, it's also an acknowledgement (and celebration) of the close shave we went through when UNESCO was re-looking at our status in the wake of the four hotels' height controversy. Anyway, with all that behind us, the month-long celebration continues in earnest today and really, the book should be a must if we want to commemorate our world cultural heritage status. It costs only RM8 and when you visit the 12 participating heritage sites listed within, you can have their marks rubber stamped in the booklet.

Anyway, the 12 heritage sites participating in this celebration will be the Syed Al-Atas Mansion and the Sun Yat Sen Penang base in Armenian Street, the Meng Eng Soo Temple in Rope Walk, the Kapitan Keling Mosque and the Kuan Yin Temple in Pitt Street, the St George's Anglican Church in Farquhar Street, the Arulmigu Mahamariamman Temple in Queen Street, the Teochew Ancestral Temple in Chulia Street, the Hock Teik Cheng Sin and the Cheah Kongsi in Armenian Street, the Acheen Street Mosque in (where else?) Acheen Street and the Khoo Kongsi in Cannon Square.

Except for the Meng Eng Soo, the rest of the participating heritage sites are located within a narrow corridor from the St George's Anglican Church at one end to the Acheen Street Mosque at the other end. The activities start at 5pm and should end at about 10.30pm. I also hear that there'll be a film screening of Road To Dawn at the Penang Chinese Town Hall at 8pm. For the uninitiated, this Chinese historical film is all about the brief sojourn in Penang by Dr Sun Yat Sen from July to December 1910 as he attempted to raise funds from the overseas Chinese to support his revolution. Nice show, set against an historical background, but not entirely correct. Besides, it's a drama, not an action movie.

There are also 13 heritage sites not participating directly in this celebration today: the Church of the Assumption in Farquhar Street, Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion in Leith Street, the Logan Memorial in Light Street, the Town Hall, City Hall and Fort Cornwallis at the Esplanade Road, the Cantonese Tua Pek Kong Temple in King Street, the Chung Keng Kwee Ancestral Temple in Church Street, the Queen Victoria Memorial clock tower at the corner of King Edward Place and Fort Road, the Malayan Railway building in China Street Ghaut, the Clan Jetties at Weld Quay, the Yeoh Kongsi in Victoria Street and the Nagore Durgha Sheriff in Chulia Street. However, you can still get their rubber stamps from the Penang Heritage Trust office in Church Street. So that's it, all 25 of them.

1 comment:

stephen said...

Most of the 12 mentioned are places of worship.Although these buildings rank among the oldest for the simple fact that they are normally the first to be built by migrants, it does not reflect the whole picture of the heritage of penang.What is needed is meticulous restoration of ordinary houses back to their original condition and putting them up as a showcase of the past.