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Archive for October 17th, 2009

Some thoughts, not directly related [yet] to good food, although it’s a sign on the wall that also our dear hawker food, traditional centres and even cafes and local restorans are probably more endangered than we think…  in a not too far future. 

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Every time we fly back to Penang, I am mortified  to see at what quick pace George Town is changing, not always for the better. Old big mansions left without  basic maintenance are falling literally apart, sold already to the real estate “developers” who start planning how to get authorisation and permits for another high rise with shopping mall, another hotel and more so called upscale condos. However, after its listing by UNESCO in 2008, the 18 meter height restrictions were imposed. So what’s going on with city planning?A city landscaping mess... and that was only 2006!  Serious action needs to be taken to preserve and restore historical houses, heritage mansions and to not allow high rise construction everywhere.  

According to an article (March 26, 2009) by Yusof Sulaiman, eTN Asia/Pacific :

 [Quote] Together with Malacca, UNESCO has proclaimed George Town a historic site of The Straits of Malacca as it “constitutes a unique architectural and cultural townscape without parallel anywhere in East and Southeast Asia. Featuring residential and commercial buildings, George Town represents the British era from the end of the 18th century.

“It is believed there were “inconsistent and contradictory” statements given to UNESCO as part of Penang’s listing process, according to Ooi Chun Aun, an aide to Penang’s chief minister. He has now proposed holding an “official domestic inquiry” to extricate itself from being at the end of a legal lawsuit by four property developers who claim they have been prevented from continuing with their hotel building projects because of height restrictions, under terms of its World Heritage Site ruling. [Unquote]

Could be much nicer... How about cleaning away some of the road polluting fron that building? And a lick of paint on the outside walls?

Could be much nicer... How about cleaning up the car exhaust related pollution from that building? And a lick of paint on the upper outside walls.

George Town also has streets full with rows of pre-war “shophouses” where generations of Penangites lived and still live, conduct businesses, operate restaurants or traditional craft chops on the ground floor, their living quarters being upstairs. Smart way to avoid rush hour traffic from and to work. 

although many houses nowadays remain in a questionable condition.More pollution and... not cleaned in about a decade?

 IMG_1244Individual owners also have some responsibilities…

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IMG_1275A good thing is that here and there people who changed those houses into pure residential housing achieved fine and remarkable results. Pictures here about a few examples along Burma road and another successful renovation along Bangkok road.IMG_1007bis2

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