Giving new life to buildings

Chow (right) viewing some of the exhibits at the George Town World Heritage Site 10th Anniversary Exhibition at the UAB Building in China Street Ghaut, Penang. — Photos: CHAN BOON KAI/The Star

HERITAGE buildings owned by foreigners is not necessarily a bad thing as it helps towards the restoration and conservation of such property, said Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow.

He said some buildings were very old and dilapidated and these owners who have acquired them had taken steps to restore the properties.

“Restoration of these buildings have given them new ‘life’ with added value and new uses,” Chow told reporters after opening the George Town World Heritage Site 10th Anniversary ‘Beautiful and Irregular’ Exhibition at UAB Building in China Street Ghaut recently.

Chow was responding to a question concerning foreigners acquiring heritage buildings in Penang.

In his speech, Chow said Penang had achieved a number of accomplishments after 10 years of being a World Heritage Site.

He, however, added that the road was still long.

Volunteer Rebecca Yeoh (right) explaining a card game to Yap Chee Fean, 50, and his son Edmund Yap, seven, at the event in George Town.
Volunteer Rebecca Yeoh (right) explaining a card game to Yap Chee Fean, 50, and his son Edmund Yap, seven, at the event in George Town.

“The George Town Unesco World Heritage Site belongs to all and we need to work collectively in ensuring sustainable management through shared responsibilities and commitment,” he said.

The title ‘Beautiful and Irregular’ was inspired by a letter written by Augustus Prinsep to his wife when he saw Penang for the first time in 1829 from the deck of the ship that was taking him to Australia.

Among the exhibits included the ‘Prince of Wales Island Gazette’, the first newspaper in South-East Asia that was established in George Town in 1806 and the front page cover of The Star’s first edition in 1971.

Also exhibited are pictures of The Star’s old office building, its printing plant and editorial office in Pitt Street, and also samples of Penang Sin Poe, which was established by a Straits Chinese man, Lim Seng Hooi in 1894 and later incorporated into Kwong Wah Yit Poh.

The exhibition is organised with support from the state in partnership with Khazanah Nasional Berhad, Penang State Museum, Centre for Global Archaeological Research of Universiti Sains Malaysia, Image Farm Productions, Studio Good Think and Think City.

It is open to the public daily from 11am to 7pm except Mondays until July 27.

Details, visit or follow George Town World Heritage Incorporated on Facebook.

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