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Monday, 9 July 2012

GEORGE TOWN AS A LIVING PLAYGROUND FOR CROSS-CULTURAL EXPERIENCES

Some would use the term a 'Living Museum'. Since the 'colonial' notion of a museum has already been 'deconstructed' and re-interpreted' (or left to die of 'natural cause'), the term 'living museum' seems to be popular in the mainstream discourse of heritage preservation. I would prefer the term 'living playground'. The term 'museum' will only traditionally imply a 'dead' subject for 'showcase' in glass enclaves. On the other hand, a playground for me seems fitting because I found George Town to be an excellent case study of contradictions and paradoxes, all happening on daily basis on the streets. 

Muzium & Galeri Tuanku Fauziah (MGTF) USM, out of no where, was somehow roped into the 4th. Annual Celebration of George Town as a Heritage Site by Penang Islamic Foundation, a state government wing, to contribute in 'making the street of Lebuh Acheh alive' with several Malay forms of cultural traditions. It was quite a late call, but knowing that we could contribute something to George Town and in honor of its citizens, we obliged.  Despite a tiny bit of egoistic territorial 'claim' by certain group of people (as I said before in my previous entry, some over-passionate Penangites can be quite annoying), the whole event went smoothly, with plenty of joy, fun and engaging learning experiences.

The following pictures, by Malcom, one of MGTF USM's practical students (from UNIMAS), capture what I refer to as the above-mentioned 'living playground for cross-cultural experiences'. The streets of George Town were lit up by so many different interpretations of culture and heritage. Of course, one may not agree with all the interpretations. Some may reduce the whole thing as just an amalgamation of 'events'. I may go on babbling and bore people to death when it comes to my reading of heritage (especially 'spiritual heritage'). But then, this is Penang ma!, let the people decide how they want to interpret what they assume as heritage. The Malay community inside the compound of the iconic and historical Lebuh Acheh mosque for example, had their own way of interpreting and responding to 'spiritual heritage' even though I may not prefer their methods. One have to respect their chosen method, nevertheless.  

A big thank you to all the staff members of MGTF USM for helping, plus friends from Jabatan Mufti, from Silat Cekak Association, traditional music group from Balik Pulau, from Kelab Basikal Klasik, Maizul, Shamsul Bahari and Fadzil, Nony, Dr. Chong, and all the practical students from UNIMAS.

A big thank you to all who have joined, enjoyed and most importantly, 'experienced' our 'street events'.

Main guli (marble game)
Sepak raga bulat
Sepak raga bulat
Dam Aji
Congkak
Dam Aji
Wood carving
Tour around the small alleys of George Town with classic bikes
Adding to the cross-cultural 'inter-textuality' at the iconic wall mural ofArmenian street


See also :

http://hasnulsaidon.blogspot.com/2012/06/happy-george-town-festival.html

2 comments:

  1. The Cultural Heritage of the Penang Malays or Anak Melayu Pulau Pinang is under the threat of becoming shelved into history even as we watch the changes in the face of this island; the island is taking the shape of a square instead of that of a turtle in the past; we reclaim to get more space to erect our own needs and desires.While we tear down our hills and bury our natural landscape under concrete and asphalt, here we strive to show our cultural heritage for the benefit of tourism: perhaps it might just be the saving grace left for any form of survival for those who wish to remain unaffected by change, for better or for worse; those who finds values worth keeping from those of the past to remind us of who we are and where from did our heritage originated from why and what for am I who I have become after years of growing up among you, I am bound to change, evolve and accept who I am in order that i may proceed on further into time and into other realms and dimensions awaiting me out there.
    So to those who assume the role of deciding the fate of this Island that I was born into, let it be known that I am silent but not ignorant of what your scams and schemes are and have always been, I am fully aware; my awareness is often too painful to express or too anger ridden to be of any creative value to society , so i chose to keep a tight lip and become the watcher, the witness, the man standing on the fringe of his society looking into what is.

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