Just a quick post to let you know that the 8th edition of my heritage newsletter, WWWarisan, is now out. You can read the newsletter online here. If you enjoyed reading the letter and want monthly heritage headlines delivered straight to you inbox, do consider subscribing – which you can do here.
Hello friends! Just a quick update this time. I’ve started a new side project called WWWarisan: Heritage Sites. This monthly email newsletter aims to cover the region’s big heritage stories, with selected updates from further afield.
If you haven’t subscribed yet, no worries — the first letter is available to read online.
You can subscribe here if you’re interested. Do feel free to @ me on twitter if you come across any heritage news items you think are worth including in the next edition. It’d be good to build up a lively, active readership — particularly as heritage issues seem to increasingly fire people up.
I look forward to hearing from some of you. Take care till then, and keep your eyes on the street (it’s what Jane Jacobs would want you to do).
I’ve written two pieces for the March issue of Penang Monthly. The first is a look at the island’s colonial water infrastructure, illustrated with historic picture postcard views. In a place known for its built heritage, the sometimes hidden heritage of the state’s waterworks turns out to be an important legacy. You can read the full story in Penang Monthly.
The second article addresses more contemporary concerns about water management. Penang is Malaysia’s thirstiest state, and while the state’s water management is the most efficient in the nation, climate change and federal politics both have the potential to stop the taps flowing. Once again, you can read more in Penang Monthly.
2016 hasn’t been great for Penang’s heritage. On 9 February, a number of buildings at the Runnymede site on Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah were demolished.1 While families across the island were tucking into Chinese New Year lunches, a demolition crew was picking away at the remains of George Town’s colonial past. The demolition was controversial for two main reasons: firstly, among the buildings destroyed was a bungalow associated with Sir Stamford Raffles, widely regarded as Singapore’s founding father; that the demolition was carried out during a significant public holiday also raised eyebrows.
Less than two weeks later, villagers in the nearby Kampung Siam began preparing to leave after the High Court threw out their appeal to remain in their ancestral homes.2 The historic village will soon give way to new development. The two incidents, though not directly related, reveal how Penang’s rich heritage — both tangible and intangible — is under considerable pressure from development. And the outcomes at both sites give cause for concern about the future of this island’s historic legacy.