While George Town’s historic cityscape and architecture were duly recognised by Unesco in 2008, of significant importance to the city’s inscription was its living cultural or intangible heritage. Over an intensive four-month period, groups of researchers from George Town World Heritage Incorporated (GTWHI) hit the streets, knocking on doors and conducting thorough interviews with the people who make this city so unique, focusing on traditional traders, artisans and artists. “We couldn’t leave any stone unturned as this was the baseline study. In the end, our survey covered over 5,000 distinct businesses and residences within the George Town World Heritage Site,” says Lim Chooi Ping, general manager of GTWHI.
From food to idols, books to garlands, worship and spirituality are tightly interwoven into the city’s fabric; all this is compiled into a book published by GTWHI, Penang’s Living Legacy: Heritage Traders of George Town, and reproduced here in brief.