There is no doubt that Penangites are becoming more conscious of how wonderful their city is. But since it is its living heritage that makes George Town unique, its intangibles must be promoted as much as its tangibles. Preserve the architecture by all means, but let’s not forget the concrete history found behind doors that open easily on request.
The George Town community, in particular families who have lived there for generations, as well as traders who have plied their trade in the inner city for just as long, has been crucial in sustaining the city’s extraordinary history and diverse culture. Unlike many heritage cities in the world where most artefacts are statically displayed in museums, or with overly organised historical sites bordering on artificiality, George Town has remained a true living heritage city.
Nevertheless, with tourism booming after its Unesco listing in 2008, George Town now faces a new set of challenges.
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