Latest Event Updates
Badan Warisan Malaysia held its 32nd AGM on 22 Dec 2015. Here’s the line-up of our new council!
President: Elizabeth Cardosa
Vice President: Ar. Helena Hashim
Honorary Secretary: Lim Ee Lin
Honorary Treasurer: Ishak Ariffin
Council Members: Liz Tajuddin, Dato’ Zahim Albakri, Ar. Lim Take Bane, Suridah Jalaluddin, Md Nazri Mohd Noordin, Abd. Razak Abu Bakar, Maganjeet Kaur
Honorary Council Members: Dato’ Henry Barlow, Johan Razak, Lee Jia Ping, Mariana Isa
MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT
It’s still January, and with the Lunar New Year coming up in a couple of weeks, it’s timely to wish you Happy New Year. I should begin by thanking all our members and friends of heritage; we deeply appreciate you continued support and dedication towards our events and programmes through the past year.
It’s really edifying to see how heritage is increasingly visible and appreciated by the general public. From our programmes alone, we have seen a substantial rise in the active engagement of so many members and friends. THIS KUL CITY programme brought a new energy into our work, and drew upon a much wider audience. We developed new alliances with like minded people and organisations such as ICOMOS Malaysia, Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society (MBRAS) and the Malaysian Heritage and History (Facebook) Club (MHHC), and collectively, this has contributed to growing our social media presence.
So what will 2016 be like for cultural heritage conservation? Waveney Jenkins, one of our founder members, recently asked me whether it would be less stressful being at the top of the tree (as President), rather than the main motor (as Executive Director) of Badan Warisan. I approach my appointment as President with a great deal of trepidation, tinged with excitement but with an overwhelming sense of the great responsibility which I have taken on.
This year the new Council will be focussing on two major tasks. The first is to secure a permanent home, or at the very least, a long-term home, as our heritage centre. We will also be working to strengthen our financial position and plans are afoot to hold another Heritage KUL Ball in the second half of this year. The Secretariat will focus on delivering another year of exciting events with more discovery walks and talks, and at the same time, to promote our excellent, but unsung Chen Voon Fee Resource Centre (CVFRC), which carries an invaluable collection of materials relevant to Malaysia’s heritage preservation and conservation.
I hope you will join Badan Warisan in discovering the many special heritage places and stories here.
We’re BACK ON AGAIN!
This time the walk is scheduled for SATURDAY, 5 DECEMBER 2015
Starting Point: Bangunan Sultan Abdul Samad
Time: 8.00am – 12.00noon
Come dressed comfortably, wear your hats, umbrellas and comfortable shoes. It’s going to be a wonderful morning exploring the city!
“Archipelago: A Journey Across Indonesia”
Indonesia is the world’s largest archipelago nation comprising as many as 17,000 islands spread over the same distance as Los Angeles to New York, or Perth to Sydney. Indonesia is also the most culturally diverse nation on the planet. Travelling by bus, plane, train, ferry, boat, car and motorcycle from Java to Timor, Ian Burnet sets out on a journey across the archipelago to discover this rich
“Archipelago: A Journey Across Indonesia” describes how the early Malays came to these islands and the influence of the Indian religions of Hinduism and Buddhism on the islands of Sumatra, Java and Bali. This book also explores the heritage of the Indians, Chinese and the Arabs, the rise of Islam and the introduction of Christianity to these lands.
About the Author
Ian Burnet grew up in South Gippsland, Victoria, Australia and graduated with a degree in Geology and Geophysics from the University of Melbourne. He first went to work in Indonesia in 1968 as a young geologist and became fascinated by the diverse cultures and rich history of the archipelago. Ian Burnet’s book, Spice Islands, tells the 2000 year history of the spice trade from the Moluccas of Eastern Indonesia through China, India and the Middle East until the spices reached Europe. His second book East Indies begins in the port city of Malacca, and tells the story of the 200 year struggle between the Portuguese Crown, the Dutch East India Company and the English East India Company for trade supremacy in the Eastern Seas.
From Naming Kuala Lumpur, THIS KUL CITY brings you FOUNDING KUALA LUMPUR. Three speakers will give you three different perspectives of prominent personalities who played a part in the formation of Kuala Lumpur, from a muddy town to a world-class city it is today.
The talk starts with Kaki Jelajah Warisan giving us their interpretation of Yap Ah Loy through vivid illustrations.
Then, Santa Kumari, great granddaughter of Thamboosamy Pillay relives his presence through photos, memories and experiences.
Finally, Faisal Rahman gives us an insight into the three Sultan’s whose exploits, actions and efforts paved the way to modern Kuala Lumpur.
Dear members, friends and supporters of Badan Warisan Malaysia,
The health and safety of all our participants for THIS KUL CITY: DISCOVER KWALA LUMPUR remains our top priority. We have been monitoring the haze levels and hoping that the haze would reduce but unfortunately, it has reached unhealthy levels.
Therefore, Badan Warisan Malaysia together with our co-organizers regret to announce that we will be postponing this discovery walk and all BWM outdoor activities and programmes temporarily.
This decision is further enforced with the recent news on the health warning of typhoid by the Ministry of Health Malaysia.
We appreciate the support shown by all members, friends and supporters of Badan Warisan Malaysia and we would like to apologize for any inconvenience caused.
Badan Warisan Malaysia
The roof repair works at no.58 Rope Walk or Jalan Pintal Tali in Penang is in plain sight for all to see. And I am rather proud of the end result because of how it will contribute to the critical discussion on appropriate conservation approaches, choices and forms of interpretation being offered to shophouse owners in Penang.
When I decided to repair the roof of my grandfather’s shophouse, I applied the principles of replacing like for like in respect of the heritage fabric and of maintaining the layers of history as found. What you see today is exactly the way it was when the Control of Rent Act was promulgated after World War II. There have been no material changes since then as the implementation of rent control literally discouraged all owners of tenanted buildings from spending money on maintaining their properties.
The contractor who installed the roof chose to create two cemented strips as permanent hard bases in the direction of the roof slope. A worker needing to replace a broken tile or adjust a displaced tile could lay a timber plank transversely across the roof on top of the cement strips and use it as a working platform without endangering the tiles. For all I know, it could have been my grandfather’s suggestion for he was an innovative and yet practical man who had come to Malaya from China as a young boy and who eventually developed the town of Lunas in Kedah.
And I also recall very vividly, when I was growing up, witnessing my father’s contractors securing the end tiles at the fascia of shophouses with cement, as was the case with many shophouses in town. Lime was otherwise freely used in other works like plastering of walls and mortar for brickwork.
The simple exercise of repairing a roof has thrown up several positives. One, it has allowed me to step back in time to “converse” with my grandfather and to personalize the architectural and social history of the place. And for me this is one of the most meaningful reasons for conservation because there is a story to tell, of making the past come alive in the present.
Two, it invites us to question whether our city fathers should continue to promote the purist, prescriptive, Eurocentric conservation approach or whether we should be leaning more towards what is being offered by the Hoi An Protocols 2005, a UNESCO document which I contributed to. The Protocols contain the following points:-
- In Asia, the structuralist analytical approach towards assessing significance and maintaining authenticity that is characteristic of Western conservation practice needs to be nuanced by the metaphysical concepts which prefigure the construction of space throughout the Asia region. It should also be tempered by the region’s time-honoured traditions of practice.
- Conservation practitioners should not over-emphasize the authenticity of the materials or physical substance of a resource to the extent that they overlook other equally or even more important dimensions of authenticity.
In terms of authenticity, the Nara Document on Authenticity 1994, Clause 11, states:-
All judgements about values attributed to cultural properties as well as the credibility of related information sources may differ from culture to culture, and even within the same culture. It is thus not possible to base judgements of values and authenticity within fixed criteria. On the contrary, the respect due to all cultures requires that heritage properties must be considered and judged within the cultural contexts to which they belong.
As a corollary to the ideals and principles stated in the Document, Herb Stovel (deceased), one of its authors, suggested that respect for cultural and heritage diversity requires conscious efforts to avoid imposing mechanistic formulae or standardized procedures in attempting to define or determine the authenticity of particular monuments and sites.
Last but not least, I am reminded of earlier efforts by Badan Warisan to formulate conservation principles that reflect Malaysian values based on the premises mentioned in the preceding paragraphs. It appears timely for us to revisit the material in our archives and to embark on a project to deliver what we once called the Stonor Principles, named after the location of our present heritage centre. China has its China Principles. Australia created the Burra Charter. The conservation of Malaysian heritage should be guided by local observations, experiences, traditions and wisdom.
Laurence Loh, Badan Warisan Malaysia
Google, Wikipedia, Yahoo Answers. I love them, such great tools. It’s become so easy to become an authority on any subject nowadays; anyone can be an expert on anything. With Melaka and George Town’s inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List, it’s like, suddenly, everyone is a conservation architect/expert. I have found, in my limited experience of being involved in a handful of international award winning restoration projects, that when the project team endeavours to consider a range of conservation approaches which are based not only on the multitude of documents outlining principles and standards which we should aspire towards, but also on collective experiences and practices, that the outcome is “right” and stands up to the test of time.
Let’s consider the debate of lime vs cement. Experts will loudly chant the mantra “lime good, cement bad”. Nothing wrong with that in many instances, but then, not always right. Add in another mantra – “replace like for like”. Then what happens when the heritage fabric is not lime? Do we replace with lime and then we can easily put a tick against the “right” box? Or should we instead acknowledge that conservation is possibly more complex and there are probably several other issues which affect the authenticity of the place? I will desist from going on….Just to say thought that I liken this to walking a tightrope between what is the more accepted standard – a somewhat prescriptive “Western” conservation approach – and our (Asia’s) longer traditions of cultural practice and context.
So, next time, before jumping on whichever band wagon catches your fancy, guns blazing, shooting off your “expert” opinion, you may want to #getyourfactsright. It could save you a little embarrassment.
Elizabeth Cardosa, Badan Warisan Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur’s history is evident in its street names, both past and present. Roads such as Ampang Street, Batu Road, Petaling Street, and Pudoh Road were named after the tin mining villages that these roads led to while names such as Abraham, Foss, Horley, Marsh, Peach, and Shaw pay tribute to educators whose legacies stand till today.
Join independent researchers, Mariana Isa and Maganjeet Kaur, and discover the stories behind the early streets in Kuala Lumpur, from 1889 until 1921. Their upcoming book, Kuala Lumpur Street Names is an enclclopedic A-to-Z which explores the stories behind more than 1,500 street names, and provides a fascinating new perspective on KL’s evolution over the years.
About the Speakers:
Founders of Heritage Output Lab, Mariana Isa and Maganjeet Kaur are independent researchers of Malaysian and Southeast Asian history. As heritage enthusiasts, they are actively involved in organising activities and projects to promote local history and heritage in Kuala Lumpur. Through Heritage Output Lab, they provide research-based services to organisations and individuals requiring further background for print, audio and film projects. Researching Kuala Lumpur’s street names is a personal interest over the past three years. Mariana received her Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia and an MSc. in Conservation of Historic Buildings from University of Bath. Maganjeet holds a Bachelor of Applied Science degree from Universiti Sains Malaysia and an MSc. in Information Technology from RMIT (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology).