Don’t let economic progress kill our heritage

REFERRING to the articles “Schooled in sentiment” (Sunday Star, April 25) by Wong Chun Wai and “When a building is not just a building” (The Star, April 27) by Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi, I am greatly relieved that Convent Bukit Nanas (CBN) is now safe for another 60 years.

Unfortunately, my old school, Bukit Bintang Girls School (BBGS), could not escape the axe. All the appeals from my headmistress (the late Ms Elena Cooke) fell on deaf ears. On top of that, the name was also changed. Nowadays, most people do not even know BBGS existed. But to the old girls, BBGS lives on in our hearts forever.

Both CBN and BBGS stood proudly for many decades and were not in such a deplorable condition that they needed to be pulled down. As Mohd Tajuddin said so aptly: “Razing Convent Bukit Nanas – safe for now, yes, but razing any heritage building – can make new economic sense, perhaps, but it would wipe out a part of the memory of who we are and what we contributed to the building of the nation.”

Whenever I passed by BBGS (before it was demolished), I was always flooded with happy memories. These days, I don’t really care to look in that direction.

We were very proud of our uniform back then. It was specifically designed to show that students wearing that uniform went to BBGS.

What do we have now? All government schools as well as uniforms look the same. I feel that these days, nobody cares a dime which school you are from. There is no soul in anything. Everything that holds some history from the old days is being wiped out. Who cares about history? It’s all about progress now, they would say.

What I would like to know is do we really need so many shopping malls, high-rise apartments and office space? Are we so desperate to create a concrete jungle?

My guess is some super wealthy people just needed to make more money and looked for land to develop. Never mind that it was the site of people’s homes or school grounds, they just hired the right people to acquire the land for them. In the process, they have destroyed parts of our built heritage.

We seem to be at a soulless stage now, and this is indeed very sad.


Kuala Lumpur

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