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ITB Berlin News 2019 - Day 3 Edition

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ADVERTORIAL SPECIAL FEATURE CULTURAL TOURISM 27 When local heritage becomes world heritage Bringing Penang’s capital, George Town, to UNESCO World Heritage status Baba Nyonya Restaurant another cultural attraction in Melaka Khoo Salma Nasution is a fifth generation Penang peranakan and an author, publisher and heritage advocate. For the past 20 years, she has struggled, but succeeded in conserving and revitalising much of George Town’s heritage, culminating in the significant role she played in George Town’s listing as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008. We asked her to tell us more about her background. I am a writer and publisher and I have been active in the heritage movement since 1989. As you know, George Town and Melaka are on the UNESCO World Heritage list. But it happened quite differently. In Melaka at that time, the government was pushing for it, whereas in George Town, it was always the NGO, the civil society pushing for it. We had a rent control act, which kept many of the buildings intact. We knew the rent control act would be lifted sooner or later, and in the year 2000 that’s what happened. So, we needed some sort of heritage protection to replace the Rent Control Act. What is happening to the heritage buildings now? Are many being repurposed? A lot of people have moved out, and these buildings have to find a new purpose. But at the same time, there are still some small numbers of people staying here. What we Khoo Salma Nasution Author, publisher and heritage advocate don’t want is that people buy up and then evict the existing people. How can tourists discover the best places to see when they come to George Town? Penang Heritage Trust has cultural heritage tours, and can also recommend certain tours or tour guides. There are a few dozen hotels in heritage buildings. Depending on the size of a group, 20 or 40 people can be booked into a few different places all adjacent to one another. How is the perception of George Town changing? Street food and street art are attracting a lot of younger people to George Town. We try to balance that, because you still have to keep the heritage intact Hall 26a / Stand 117 Melaka: culture takes centre stage Encore Melaka theatre tells touching life stories of local people Ten years after being placed on the UN World Heritage Listing, Melaka (capital of the state of the same name) has major ambitions to further its cultural impact on the world. The most recent example is the opening, in July last year, of the Encore Melaka theatre extravaganza: a timely and powerful addition to the city’s collection of treasures. Encore Melaka, a scenic venue overlooking the Straits of Melaka, is a purpose-built 2,000- seat theatre, designed for the high-tech telling of Melaka’s rich history. Encore Melaka presents a mesmerising performance with a series of touching life stories of the locals. It is not designed as a cultural performance for tourists, but more as a performance that reflects a society that embraces diversity and inclusiveness. In a 70-minute show, the audience is led through six centuries of history, crossing through time and space. What they take home is not merely the story of a rich historical place, but an intellectual reflection of the true essence of Melaka – a model of multicultural coexistence. Expect emotive storytelling, high-energy choreography, vivid stage settings with creative lighting and unbelievable stage effects along with a score of moving music that will not only inspire audiences but capture their imagination, too. Acclaimed as the most innovative director in China, Wang Chaoge serves as the chief director of Encore Melaka. Wang pioneered real-scene performances in China and has taken the Impression & Encore Series to commercial success internationally. During the live performance, about 200 local performers, young and old, from all over Malaysia take to the stage. The theatre itself is a work of art, creating a new landmark in Melaka with its contemporary design. The façade is tiled with fish scale-like LED panels which reflect light from the everchanging and vibrant sky of Melaka. It is the largest permanent theatre in Malaysia designed by chief architect Wang Ge from Beijing Institute of Architectural Design and is purpose-built solely for Encore Melaka Hall 26a / Stand 117 ITB BERLIN NEWS • Friday 8 th March 2019

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