9 Dec 2013, STAR Online
THE words say it all. “The remains of candi no 11 could not just step aside for a property project; what had once been an ancient temple was wiped off the map when developer Bandar Saujana Sdn Bhd cleared land in Sungai Batu in Bujang Valley, Kedah.” (The Star, Dec 4).
Yes, media reports regarding the demolition of candi number 11 at Bujang Valley in the Merbok District of Kedah by a private developer have generated much outrage and consternation among Malaysians.
The incident has also received international coverage.
How could an archaeological site, believed to be many centuries old, and reportedly listed on the National Heritage Register, be demolished for private development at the expense of preservation and protection of an ancient historical and cultural site?
Who is/are the authorities involved in the approval of the sale of the land and subsequent destruction of candi 11? None has come forward to assume responsibility.
“Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it,” so said George Santayana.
Something similar is also brewing in Malacca.
A historical city, Malacca is well-known for its sub-communities of Portuguese-Eurasians, Baba and Nyonya and the Chitty community.
The Portuguese-Eurasian and Chitty communities have their respective ‘residential villages’ – Kampung Portugis and Kampung Chitty. Both are ‘heritage villages’ or kampung warisan.
However, some great transformation is in the pipeline for Kampung Chitty. The vacant land opposite Kampung Chitty has reportedly been approved for the construction of a 22-storey highrise building.
There are also reports that a road will be built right through Kampung Chitty, dividing the village into two.
As a kampung warisan, Kampung Chitty is steeped in history and rich in cultural heritage.
What will happen to the village when the construction of the highrise building begin? And what happens when the new road divides the village into two?
This is where education plays an important role in ensuring that our young generation understands our unique cultural heritage.
They can learn from an early age how to accept the diversity in this country.
Cultural diversity can unite the people as they learn to appreciate the historical heritage of the different communities.
ONG PUAY LIU