Monday, July 14, 2008

Please Protect Our Heritage Sites

I would like to congratulate Malacca and George Town that has been selected into UNESCO World Heritage site. This means that we have only 4 world heritage sites. The other two, Mulu Cave and Mount Kinabalu are natural heritage, while George Town and Malacca are historical sites. I’ve been to Mulu Cave and was lucky that I was brought around by one member of the British Royal Geographical Society. He obviously knows his way well and I must admit that till this day, it still leaves an indelible memory in my life, beautiful and inspiring, one of the nature most beautiful site that I’ve ever visited.

I have been to Mount Kinabalu many times but never had the chance to get to the top of Mount Kinabalu although my son made it to the top with a guide in one of my visits. I’m impressed with the wide range of wild orchid gathered in the orchid garden. Of course, a visit to Mount Kinabalu is not complete without visit to hot spring in PORIM in the Kundasang district. One should not miss also the canopy walk which I understand is the longest in this country. In some places, it is about 15-20 storey high. At this height, one can appreciate the flora and fauna of our country. Generally, in Sarawak and Sabah, the state government has done a good job in looking after heritage site. Let’s hope the Penang and Malacca state government together with federal government will do good job in preserving heritage site in Malacca and George Town.

Of course among the spin of effect will be an increase of tourist’s arrival and the increase in property prices around the area. It has been shown in China that when an area is classified as world heritage site, the rise in tourist arrival goes up many folds. What is important is to employ measures to continue to safeguard these local heritages. Planning should now be done so that any future development should be kept minimum in order for its historical authenticity to be maintained. Malaysians have this fixation in tearing down and building new buildings. Once we start doing that, it’ll spell a doom day for the world heritage site. There is also a need to see that while we welcome the tourist dollar; we should not overwhelmed by tourists which may bring disruption to its wake. The influx of tourists, both local and foreign is sure to destroy the authenticity of this place. Let’s hope that property developers will also not exploit the new found fame of these 2 cities and go on a massive property development. It will definitely spell the end of the world heritage status.

1 comment:

Seng Kok said...

WHAT NEXT AFTER HERITAGE LISTING BY UNESCO?

Georgetown and Malacca are going to hold a three-day and a month-long celebration respectively to commemorate their inscription as historical cities under UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.

It is a privilege indeed to have Malacca and Georgetown, the two historical towns of Malaysia, finally recognised and listed by UNESCO as world heritage sites.

The recognition will bring with it many blessings such as increase tourism and business associated with it, financial aid from UNESCO in maintenance of these sites and increased interest in research studies.

However, as we preserve these historical sites left by our forefathers, do we treasure, appreciate and preserve also the value and culture of the history that has brought these sites to what and why they are listed today?

It is the value of maintaining peace and harmony among the people of many races, cultures and religions who lived and worked together at that time that has made the heritage a rich legacy. It is something transmitted from the past and handed down by tradition to us. It is history.

It is meant not only for us to enjoy the heritage but also to learn and treasure what happened in the past.

Thus, history is the footprints of our forefathers that cannot be changed. It is through history that we learned the lessons and values that have helped us improve and progress.

As our younger generation learn from past events, they also develop an understanding of other’s culture and learn to appreciate one another despite their differences.

Thus, as we preserve these historical sites, are we also preserving the history of Malaysia so that it can serve as a purpose to unite the people and expose them to a wider world view in order to develop a broader mindset?

Or, are we leading them to a more narrow view and nutshell mentality that they might just lose out in a more competitive world?

I have, together with MCA Education delegation, presented a paper to the Minister of Education to request for a review of the history textbook in secondary school which contains many imbalances, incomprehensive and prejudice views.

It is indeed timely for the Minister to do a review as the teaching of history in a wrong way is not only going to influence and shape the view and mentality of our future leaders, but also derail the efforts by our forefathers in preserving peace and harmony that has made our nation a great one.


Yours truly,

Loh Seng Kok
Ex-Member of Parliament for Kelana Jaya.

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