Melaka and George Town: five years on

There is a price to pay for the honour and glory of possessing an UNESCO World Heritage Site. The government and her agencies become responsible in managing and maintaining its outstanding universal value and other significance as prescribed, or suffer the humiliation of having its status rescinded.

The success in getting Lenggong Valley inscribed as UNESCO World Archaeological Heritage has got Jabatan Warisan Negara working hard on the management plan and its implementation. Now the whiff of Taiping and Ipoh gunning for inclusion comes with alarming alacrity. No details have been revealed, not least of all their respective “outstanding universal value”. Without a doubt, the euphoria of such an endowment is alluring and therefore worthy of supreme efforts in preparing a persuasive dossier for the application.

Five years ago, the Straits Settlements of Melaka and George Town were listed as the Historic Cities of the Strait of Malacca. The third of the Straits Settlement, Singapore is now another country and too much of its historic core has been transformed, perhaps too soon to save a wealth of heritage sites for the world. Meanwhile, Singapore has applied for its Botanical Gardens for World Heritage listing. By the way, it is noteworthy that the fourth Straits Settlement of Dindings did not get developed – the British had too much on their plate – and Dindings was returned to the state of Perak in 1934.

Now, what has happened in Melaka and George Town? Through our heri.network, Jo Chua of Melaka informed Law Siak Hong of the stories written by prominent journalist, Himanshu Bhatt. We wish to share them with you. See links below. Read them.

Photo of Himanshu Bhatt by Beng Siang, 2007. Source: thestar.com.my/

REVIEW OF GEORGE TOWN’S UNESCO STATUS (5th anniversary):

George Town’s Unesco status: A review – Part 1
http://www.fz.com/content/george-towns-unesco-status-review-%E2%80%93-part-1

George Town’s Unesco status: A review – Part 2
http://www.fz.com/content/heritage-city-vs-tourist-dollar

REVIEW OF MELAKA’S UNESCO STATUS (5th anniversary):

Heritage, the forgotten victim of Jonker Walk
http://www.fz.com/content/heritage-forgotten-victim-jonker-walk

Melaka: Historic city under siege
http://www.fz.com/content/melaka-historic-city-under-siege

Dilemma of Melaka’s vanishing living culture
http://www.fz.com/content/dilemma-melakas-vanishing-living-culture

We hope you will learn much from Himanshu’s stories. The picture he’s painted is not all rosy. It is not premature to consider the issues as both Taiping and Ipoh are working towards the listing.

Why don’t you tell us what you think? All relevant comments are welcome.

PHS had published our own assessment in the Heritage News five years ago. Read it in this blog site, under “Heri-news”: Volume 5: issues 4 & 5, July-October 2008, page 4 & 5

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