Sabahans defend their heritage

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Just as many in West Malaysia are beginning to discover the eastern half of Malaysia, Borneo Malaysians are discovering themselves.

Walking along Gaya Street in Kota Kinabalu recently, I couldn’t help but linger at the shop fronts of establishments such as Chop Teo Seng, which had on display nostalgic photos of yesteryear. These were put up two years ago as part of a street celebration for the people living there. While most of the shops have removed their mini exhibitions, some have preserved them.

Chop Teo Seng is one of those.

The “Bonding with Gaya Street” celebration was a community-centred project to showcase personal stories. It was a unique way to celebrate history, and the vibes reminded me of Penang’s George Town Festival which focuses on local people and living heritage, celebrating what it means to live together.


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