Month: January 2018

Legends of the Secret Tunnel of Malacca by Dennis De Witt

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ABOUT THE TALK

Dennis De Witt will share the tales of the subterranean tunnels under the historic town of Malacca that has existed for over a century. There were stories of a tunnel under St. Paul’s hill and how people had gone into these tunnels but were never to be seen again.

This talk will give an overview of the book. What secrets do the tunnels contain and why were people willing to risk their life by descending into the dark and unknown orifices below Malacca? Is there lost treasure still buried in Malacca? This book uncovers the layers of history that unfold Malacca’s most bizarre and amazing legend. He will share pictures of Malacca and the historic St. Paul where the tunnel is, some of which are featured in the book. A book sale will also be held after the talk.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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Dennis De Witt, a management consultant in Kuala Lumpur, is a 5th generation Dutch Eurasian originally from Malacca. He has a keen interest in subjects relating to the history of Malacca and Dutch influences in Malaysia.

Over the years, he has participated, spoken and presented papers in various academic, private and public seminars and events organized by the Malaysian National Archives, and the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Malaysia, the Malacca Museums Corporation, the Institute of Occidental Studies at UKM, Taylor’s University Lakeside Campus, the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies and Universiti Teknologi MARA.

He also regularly conducts CTRE training for the Kuala Lumpur Tour Guides Association and speaks to the volunteers’ group at the National Museum. He has contributed articles for the Journal of Malaysian Biographies and written articles for various newspapers and magazines.

He has published several books, including ‘Reconnecting Through Our Roots’ (2006), ‘History of the Dutch in Malaysia’ (2007), ‘Melaka from the Top’ (2010), ‘Historical Tombstones and Graves at St Paul’s Hill Malacca’ (2016). In 2009, he was named the winner of the ‘Dutch incentive prize for Genealogy’ for his book ‘History of the Dutch in Malaysia’ and he received his prize in the Netherlands. He was the first-ever recipient of the prize who is not a Dutch citizen. His latest publication is entitled ‘Legends of the Secret Tunnels of Malacca’ was just released in 2018.

Summary of the Year 2017 at Badan Warisan Malaysia

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Badan Warisan Malaysia wishes all members & friends a great 2018!

We held our 34th AGM on Wednesday, 20 December 2017. We welcome Justine Chew to Council and thank Abd Razak Abd Bakar who regretfully had to stand down due to work commitments. 

Council 2018

President: Elizabeth Cardosa
Vice President: Ar. Dr. Helena Hashim
Honorary Secretary: Lim Ee Lin
Honorary Treasurer: Ishak Ariffin

Council Members
Justine Chew
Ar. Lim Take Bane
Liz Tajuddin
Maganjeet Kaur
Mariana Isa
Dato’ Zahim Albakri

Honorary Council Members
Johan Razak
Lee Jia Ping

 

2017 has ended on a really positive note. On Monday, 18 December, Badan Warisan received a generous donation of RM100,000 from YTL. This donation was in memory of the late Tan Sri Yeoh Tiong Lay and in total, RM10 million was distributed to the 103 organisations. We are grateful for the continued support of Royal Selangor from the sale of their limited edition Mia series of pendants and we’d encourage you to support us by buying these especially if you are looking for gifts! In addition to this, the Chen Voon Fee Trust continues to support our work on research and documentation of Malaysia’s architectural resources. And although we had originally planned to hold a fundraising event in 2017, that was not possible and we decided to push this event to the second half of 2018. We will need a lot of help with this event, so please, do let me know, or inform the Secretariat, that you are available and interested. All help, no matter how small, is always much appreciated.

We have continued this year to grow especially in activities related to the RumahPenghulu Abu Seman. Our visitor numbers now exceed 2000 (compared with 1,600 last year), mainly due to support from three tour companies as well as our curated programmes for schools and other organisations. On an average, we host over 1 school or university per month with students ranging from pre-school through to primary and secondary schools and mainly undergraduate university programmes, from both local and foreign institutions. In addition, every other month we host three-hour long interactive visits for various private organisations and companies.

This year our talks and events programme has also expanded. We not only organise our own talks programme every other month, but we also co-organise talks by other organisations including ICOMOS Malaysia and MBRAS which means we are running these public awareness raising programmes on an average once or twice a month. MHHC (Malaysian Heritage and History Facebook Club) continue to hold their exhibitions and talks here and there have been some months when almost every weekend we are hosting an event. This brings in a lot of people who would not normally otherwise come to Badan Warisan. No.8 Heeren Street continues to attract a wide range of visitors all of whom without exception have excellent comments about the project and the tour of the project by both Colin Goh, Manager, and Raymond Fredricks, Assistant Manager.

In the coming year, we will be working on expanding our activities and adding on some site visits as well as developing trails for our heritage gardens (we have three distinctive gardens) and looking at how to enhance our visitor experience in our Malacca centre at No.8 Heeren Street. We are also hoping to help PNB develop a more regular visitor programme to Stadium Merdeka, and we started this just recently by bringing over 200 LHDN staff members to learn about the history of the stadium and its architecture. We intend to arrange a visit for Badan Warisan members to the stadium, as well as to the Masjid DiRaja Sultan Sulaiman in Klang where we were part of the team involved in its restoration. We also plan visits to other buildings which have been restored in the past couple of years in the Klang Valley and we’ll keep you appraised of the details of the visit programme. On this note, I would like to encourage those members who are interested in participating in programmes for members – talks, visits, exhibitions, etc – to please volunteer your time and expertise in giving us ideas and contacts and helping organise the activities!

Our Chen Voon Fee Resource Centre is in the process of digitising our various collections – we have been at this intermittently over the past three or four years, and we are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Our image collection is for most part available in digital format, as are our newpaper cuttings collection. We are working on our maps and measured drawings collections. While we will not be digitizing the printed books and journals, the catalogue of these collections are already available on-line at the Chen Voon Fee Resource Centre website.

We are planning in the new year to start a regular training programme to enhance the knowledge and practice of matters related to cultural heritage. We will be collaborating with like-minded organisations including the Malaysian Institute of Planners in rolling out some courses related to heritage planning and cultural mapping, as well as conducting more technical workshops and seminars on cultural and architectural heritage. Watch this space!

In our role as a heritage advocacy organization, we have continued to be a main point of reference by members of the media – radio, online  and print – for issues and questions on Malaysia’s cultural and built heritage. We started off in January by commenting on the de-gazettal of the heritage status of the MATIC building and we have ended the year on commenting on the issues related to getting places protected by gazettal under the National Heritage Act 2005. Our website savemyheritage.org is now live! It has taken us some time to get to this place, and we are continuing our work on developing the content for this website. We definitely welcome all help on this – do come forward if you are web-savvy and keen on helping out with this project! In the meantime, our social media presence – Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter – together with our e-bulletin Warisan continues to gain traction and followers. Comments on how to improve them, or content suggestions, as well as bouquets, and shares are always appreciated!

Before I end, it would be remiss of me not to thank the staff at the KL and Malacca heritage centers for their dedication and perseverance in promoting BadanWarisan’s mission forward. I wish to thank Melanie who left us in October for her 7 years working with Badan Warisan, four of which were in Penang at Suffolk House, and to welcome Rosmiza who joined us in November. To our volunteers and members who tirelessly support our activities, a heartfelt thank you. Your continued presence will always motivate us to carry on! To my colleagues on the Council, thank you all! We strive on!

To all members of Badan Warisan Malaysia, we are depending on you to continue promoting the message that our past matters and that heritage conservation is not about keeping things wrapped up “under glass” so to speak, as in a museum. Rather, and I quote John Sawhill who was the President of the Nature Conservancy in the US, “In the end, our society will be defined not only by what we create but by what we refuse to destroy.”

I’d really appreciate your sharing your thoughts and ideas or if you just want to let me know how you can help! I’m contactable on elizabeth@badanwarisan.org.my. If you prefer, send a private message via our Facebook!

 

Elizabeth Cardosa, President

20 December 2017