Youths’ thoughts on heritage


Rebecca showing her artwork to Soon Hin during the exhibition at China House in Beach Street.

WHAT do the young think of Penang’s colonial heritage buildings?

“Colonial buildings are the blood and sweat of our elders who worked hard to build them,” wrote one young student.

“Heritage reminds us of our past, present and future,” wrote another.

“Yes, because buildings are what makes Penang, Penang.”

A young woman who took an interest on Penang’s colonial heritage, organised an art exhibition, ‘Write Your Heritage, Tomorrow’, recently and it opened a channel for hundreds of students and other Penangites to express themselves.

On the artwork, Rebecca Yeoh drew City Hall to represent the state’s heritage and invited people to add their thoughts to the composition on little pieces of paper.

The exhibition was displayed at China House in Beach Street recently.

“It’s important for young people to know our history, not just from textbooks but to take the initiative to be more aware of our culture and heritage and embrace our identity.”

Majoring in English and literature at Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Yeoh organised the exhibition for her dissertation project.

“Growing up in a household of intuitive storytellers especially my grandparents, I got to hear stories on the way of life before Independence and that sparked my interest to know more,” she added.

She said 140 Penangites between the ages of 17 to 25 participated by writing down their perspectives on the colonial building heritage.

Some of the statements were written by students from SMK Haji Zainul Abidin and International School of Penang (Uplands).

State Heritage, Culture and Arts Committee chairman Yeoh Soon Hin opened the exhibition and added his own message too.

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