Protecting George Town’s legacy


Crowds enjoying a lively Boria performance at Armenian Park during the George Town Heritage Celebrations 2017.

COME next month, the George Town Heritage Celebrations 2018 in Penang will mark the 10th anniversary of the city’s UNESCO World Heritage listing.

Themed ‘Potential — Of the Past, In the Present, For the Future’, the celebrations will explore the potential ahead, based on past narratives and current experiences.

The much-anticipated Street Festival on July 7, to be held from 6pm to 11pm in George Town’s heritage zone, is once again the highlight.

It covers Armenian Street, Acheh Street, Cannon Street, Ah Quee Street, Soo Hong Lane, Pitt Street, Jalan Kampung Kolam and Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling.

Over 20 local communities will be showcasing their distinct cultures and traditions through a variety of engaging activities and performances.

George Town World Heritage Incorporated (GTWHI) general manager Dr Ang Ming Chee urged visitors to take part in the festival’s many workshops.

“One can discover elements of auspicious celebrations, learn an age-old craft from artisans or taste timeless traditional dishes passed down through generations.

Businessman Woo Shee Khow (in blue) and his brother Woo Saik Khow sharing their background with a group of the ‘Walky Talky George Town heritage trail members during the George Town Heritage Celebrations 2017.
Businessman Woo Shee Khow (in blue) and his brother Woo Saik Khow sharing their background with a group of the ‘Walky Talky George Town heritage trail members during the George Town Heritage Celebrations 2017.

“Crowds can also take in traditional performing arts or contemporary interpretations at the main stage in Armenian Park as well as folk dances at the dance floor in Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling,” she said.

Dr Ang, who is also the celebration’s executive producer, said the community-powered event was aimed at giving the public a platform to take in the city’s diversity.

“Collectively, we can safeguard the cultural heritage of George Town for future generations,” she added in a press conference at the GTWHI office recently.

In his speech, state Tourism Development, Heritage, Culture and Arts Committee chairman Yeoh Soon Hin said following the Unesco recognition, George Town gained a stronger international status for cultural heritage tourism.

Yeoh (centre, dark coat) and Dr Ang (on Yeoh’s right) posing with representatives of participating local communities for the George Town Heritage Celebrations 2018.
Yeoh (centre, dark coat) and Dr Ang (on Yeoh’s right) posing with representatives of participating local communities for the George Town Heritage Celebrations 2018.

This year’s celebrations also feature Taiwanese Opera performances by the world-renowned and award-winning Tang Mei Yun troupe.

The shows will take place at the Khoo Kongsi on the day of the festival, and then at the Majestic Theatre on July 8 and 9. All start at 8pm.

There will be site excursions to eight places of worship in George Town and beyond, on several weekends in July.

Discover the St George’s Church, Church of the Assumption, Kapitan Keling Mosque, Dato Koyah shrine, Nattukottai Chettiar Temple, Police Gurdwara Sahib Penang, Acheen Street Malay Mosque and the Thai Pak Koong Temple.

To join these tours, register at gtwhi.com.my/gthc2018. Places are limited and one may sign up for one tour only. It is free for Malaysians, but a RM100 fee applies for non-Malaysians.

The celebrations are by GTWHI with the endorsement of the Penang government, and in cooperation with the Penang Island City Council, Penang Global Tourism and Malaysian National Commission for UNESCO.

For information, visit gtwhi.com.my/gthc2018 or call 011-51319213.

Otherwise, follow George Town Heritage Celebrations on Facebook or @heritagecelebrations on Instagram for the latest updates.

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