A passion for conserving historical buildings“, Borneo Post online, 11 Dec. 2016

A page-long Borneo Post article on architect Mike Boon (former Sarawak Heritage Society president, who has been instrumental in setting up the SHS and on stimulating awareness and advocacy on the preservation of Sarawak’s built heritage) and Dr John Ting (architectural historian, Assistant Professor, University of Canberra and foremost expert on Sarawak’s pre-independence architecture and settlement patterns).


“On the buildings [Ting] regretted not having a chance to save, he said: “Yes, I don’t have the power to save them. I could try and influence the decisions on whether to save or lose them. But in many cases, this was not part of the decision-making process. If the decision had already been made, then there was not much I could do.

“I think it’s terrible that a historical building should be demolished but by the same token, all I could do was bring the knowledge of the building out so that people could see its value and help in the decision-making process. These things happen very quickly. Once a decision has been made, it’s very hard to overturn.”

For example, the Treasury Building built in the 1950’s at Barrack Road was demolished to make way for the Waterfront Hotel.

It was a very important building in terms of Sarawak’s architectural history but by the time it was known that it would be demolished, it was too late to change the decision.”

This is a vivid reminder of the level of effort still required to preserve Sarawak’s heritage buildings before it is too late. Too many have already disappeared forever in the name of narrow concepts of  “modernity” and development.

Comments are welcome.