My journey - Wong Hon Wai 黃漢偉

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My journey - Wong Hon Wai 黃漢偉

Inventory on Intangible Cultural Heritage in George Town Heritage Area

Posted: 03 Apr 2013 10:43 PM PDT

As reported in The Star
Study shows 611 businesses engage in traditional trades

THERE are more than 600 businesses operating traditional trades and occupations within the George Town Unesco World Heritage Site.

This was discovered following an extensive study and survey on intangible cultural heritage at the site by the George Town World Heritage Inc (GTWHI) over the course of four months.
Titled 'Revitalising Intangible Cultural Heritage', the first survey of its kind focused on the traditional trades of George Town, including the multi-faith and multicultural practices and festivals that animate the city.

GTWHI general manager Lim Chooi Ping said that there were altogether 611 businesses operating traditional trades and occupations.

"Of that figure, 26 were over 100 years old, and 403 were between 50 to 100 years old.
"We also found 305 residents with artisan skills and 84 with artistic and cultural skills," she said.

Lim said that more than 200 cultural surveyors took part in the project.

"A total of 5,064 distinct businesses and residences were surveyed via a street-to-street and door-to-door method.

"The traditional trades are extremely varied and include traditional bakeries and food trades, makers of canvas and leather goods, pawnshops and money lenders, tailors, barbers and traditional health practitioners," she told a press conference at the GTWHI office in Lebuh Acheh on Tuesday.

Valuable information: (From left to right) Penang Heritage Trust president Khoo Salma Nasution, project consultant Lim Gaik Siang, Wong and Chooi Ping examining the survey results. Valuable information: (From left to right) Penang Heritage Trust president Khoo Salma Nasution, project consultant Lim Gaik Siang, Wong and Chooi Ping examining the survey results.
She also mentioned that 20 heritage practitioners were chosen to be featured in an e-brochure which was available online at

"The objectives of the project are to produce comprehensive inventories of intangible or living heritage in the World Heritage site of George Town, for use in planning and future research," she said.

She added that it could also contribute to knowledge development required in GTWHI's role as custodian of the World Heritage Site.

"It'll also help carry out pilot development programmes and produce outputs that can increase public awareness and community support for intangible heritage," she said.

State Town and Country Planning, Housing and Arts Committee chairman Wong Hon Wai, who was also at the press conference, said that the studies on George Town's heritage usually focused on its heritage buildings.

"This is the first time a survey is conducted on its intangible culture which is just as valuable to George Town," he said.

He said that the results of the survey could be used for heritage planning and education.

"It can also be used to increase awareness among the public about the importance of our multicultural heritage," he said.

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