Penang celebrates 10th year of UNESCO World Heritage status

GEORGE TOWN: The diverse and rich multicultural heritage of George Town took centre stage at the George Town Heritage Celebration Street Festival, marking the 10th anniversary of George Town’s listing as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

With the theme, ‘POTENTIAL – Of the Past, In the Present, For the Future’, the Street Festival held from 6pm to 11pm on Saturday, featured 25 community workshops in which the local communities showcased their culture and traditions through food, games, crafts and language.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said for the past 10 years the state government had risen above hiccups and challenges, explored sustainable, creative and innovative approaches in managing one of the most complex cultural heritage site in the world.

“While it wasn’t easy for us to receive the inscription, neither was it easy for us to manage the responsibility.

“Therefore, we wholeheartedly appreciate the status and have been working relentlessly over the weekends and overtime to care for our site and to protect, manage and safeguard our cultural heritage,” he said in his opening remarks at the George Town UNESCO World Heritage Site 10th Anniversary Celebration and George Town Heritage Celebration 2018 here on Saturday.

Chow said the annual George Town Heritage Celebration on July 7 was testament to the ability to collectively celebrate differences and appreciate similarities while commemorating the significant recognition from UNESCO.

“The celebration also serves as a capacity building platform where layman like you and me can learn more about shared cultural heritage in an interactive and creative way,” he said.

Meanwhile, speaking to reporters Chow hoped the federal government and National Heritage Department could work with the state government as well as provide funding for the preservation of the world heritage site.

He added that it was important for the local community to work together with the site manager in protecting, preserving and ensuring that the recognition is maintained and not taken away because we had not taken care of the site properly.