Harmony through diversity

  • Nation
  • Monday, 09 Jul 2018

Respecting other religions: Visitors joining in the Heritage day excursion at St George’s Church in Farquhar Street, George Town. — ASRI ABDUL GHANI/The Star

GEORGE TOWN: Several houses of worship will be opening their doors to visitors for the George Town Heritage Celebrations 2018.

Themed ‘Potential – Of the Past, In the Present, For the Future’, the festival, which was to mark the 10th anniversary of the declaration of George Town and Melaka as a World Heritage Site by Unesco, kicked off with a site excursion to the two-century-old St George’s Church in Farquhar Street on Saturday.

Some 60 visitors took part in the two-hour tour around the church buildings to learn about the oldest Anglican Church in South-East Asia, which was completed in 1818.

They also had a chance to witness a performance by an organist on the church’s pipe organ.

Guide Helenn Wevers said the pipe organ was presented to the church in June 2017 in conjunction with its bicentenary celebration.

“The pipe organ was donated by the family of the late Datuk Tan Kim Yeow and it was custom made by the prestigious Mander Organs of London,” she said.

Michael Cheah, 66, who was visiting the St George’s Church for the first time, described the tour as “magnificent”.

“I am a Buddhist but I always enjoy visiting places of worship of other religions as well as the culture of different ethnic groups.

“This is the beauty of Malaysia – a cultural melting pot,” said Cheah, who promotes Baba and Nonya culture.

The church is open to visitors every Monday to Thursday from 10am to 4pm. It also provides audio description tours for the visually impaired.

Besides St George’s Church, there are site excursions to other houses of worship — the Church of the Assumption, the Kapitan Keling Mosque in Pitt Street and Kramat Dato Koyah in Transfer Road, the Nattukottai Chettiar Temple in Jalan Kebun Bunga, the police Gurdwara Sahib Penang in Patani Road, the Acheen Street Mosque and the Thai Pak Koong Temple in Tanjong Tokong.

The tour is free for Malaysians and RM100 for non-Malaysians.

Other highlights of the festival include the North Malaysia Hainan dialect singing competition and the Meng Eng Soo open day.

There is also the George Town: Beautiful and Irregular Exhibition to be held until July 27 at the UAB building in China Street Ghaut.

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