Wednesday, July 7, 2010


What is heritage? How to define heritage? I think everybody might have different definition about that. If not, 100 years later, all structural buildings in Malaysia will be considered as heritage. For me, heritage refers to building that is more than 100 years and has significant values. KLCC and Penang Bridge may be considered as heritage 100 years later since both has been the tallest and longest architecture before. The heritage that I would like to discuss is Pudu Jail which has been built by British since 1985. Can it be considered as a heritage structures? For me, it can. Firstly, it has been built for more than 100 years. Secondly, it was built by British during colonial time. These two factors might cover a lot of structural buildings in Malaysia especially in Penang and Malacca. Let us look at the third factor. The wall of the jail is painted by the longest mural in the world. Furthermore, it is painted by convicts themselves. How many structures in this world have such values? But back to reality, in terms of economic, the land’s value is very high since it is located in the middle of a city. So economically, it should be demolished and pave way for development. This should be the debate and not the question of whether the area is or is not a heritage area. Generally, lots of people do agree that the area should be classified as a heritage area. Read a quote in The Star before; “just say you want to get revenue and don’t accuse Chinese of liking to gamble” (not exact quotation but the meaning is almost the same). The same case applied here. Debate whether this prison is worth to be demolished for development and not simply say that it is not a heritage area. Personally for me, it is a waste to let the high value area to be abandoned like that. At the same time, it is also a waste to demolish such a rare building. So wouldn’t it be a good idea if a large portion of the prison to be demolished for development purposes but at the same time, a reasonable area be preserved for education, heritage, and tourism etc usage.

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