[last updated 14/11/2020]
THINGS WE DO, HAVE DONE
2020-2021 Pandemic control period: As for many civil society organisations, the restrictions associated to the Covid pandemic have had a negative impact on our activities. Our Committee has however remained active. We have analysed the Sarawak Heritage Ordinance 2019, which was gazetted end of 2019 and made public a few months ago. We have introduced ourselves to the new acting Director of the Sarawak Museum Department (see below). The Sarawak Economic Action Council (SEAC), tasked with the design of an economic recovery plan for the State, has put SHS in the loop of its consultations, in which heritage is touched upon, in particular, in discussions on the tourism sector; SHS is also involved in consultations on the design of a new long term Tourism Master Plan 2020-2035; we see these consultations (which are mostly run via digital meetings) as good occasions for SHS to advocate further for a boost in the management of the State’s cultural heritage. We still have several prospects of ‘Heritage Speakers‘ talks, a site visit and a photo exhibition in our pipeline. Our Annual General Meeting, which was due by April 2020, had to be postponed. It took place on 7 November and included the election of a new executive Committee.
GOVERNMENT LIAISON (2017- current)
14 and 28 January 2021 – The new SHS Committee met with Mr Hii Chang Kee, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture on 14 Jan. 2021 and subsequently, on 28 Jan. with Datuk Hj Abdul Karim Hamzah, Minister of Tourism Arts and Culture to introduce itself, to update the ministry on SHS’s activities. The discussion touched also on the status of the new Sarawak Heritage Ordinance (2019) and on the concerns of the heritage conservation community on the alterations made on the Round Tower, Kuching, as part of its repurposing into a cafe-restaurant. We also submitted to the Minister several projects for funding support.
3 Aug. 2020 – 5 members of the SHS Committee had a meeting with the new Director of the Sarawak Museum Department, En. Tazudin Mohtar. We had a wide ranging discussion covering the new Sarawak Heritage Ordinance, specific heritage sites around Kuching, our 2018-19 ‘Heritage Quest’ public campaign and other SHS projects, as well as collaboration possibilities going forward..
16 Jul. 2020 – A briefing and sharing session was held with several councillors from the Padungan Area Comnmittee of MBKS (Kuching South Municipaly) on 16 July on “The Story of Padungan” project, a private initiative by James Yong (SHS Vice-President) and John Soo (SHS member) to document the history and heritage of Kuching’s Padungan area. The project is supported by SHS.
9 Jan. 2020 – 5 members of the SHS Committee paid a courtesy visit to the new Mayor of DBKU (Kuching South) Dato Wee Hong Seng. SHS highlighted the potential for synergies between our two organisations for the conservation of heritage assets under MBKS jusrisdiction, such as the old Padungan precinct.
01 Nov. 2019 – SHS forwarded to the Sarawak Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture a comments note ‘SARAWAK HERITAGE BILL 2019 – Review and Discussion‘ on the Sarawak Heritage Bill, 2019 circulated for tabling at the November 2019 session of the Sarawak State legislative Assembly. The Bill was tabled (first reading) on 4 Nov. 20109, the first day of the November sitting of the Sarawak Sate Legislative Assembly. The second and third readings took place the following day, 5 Nov. 2019, upon which the Bill was approved without amendments. [ HERE is the unedited hansard of the State Assembly’s debate and approval of the Bill, as accessed on the Sarawak State Assembly website shortly after the debate – see pages 55 to 76]. The new Ordinance was gazetted on 13 Dec, 2019. Its coming into force remains subject to a decision by the Minister of Tourism Arts and Culture.
Full text of the new ordinance: SARAWAK HERITAGE ORD, 2019 (source: lawnet.sarawak.gov.my)
16-17 Oct. 2019 – Three SHS members participated in a workshop called by Pustaka Negeri Sarawak on UNESCO’s ‘Memory of the World’ programme.
15-16 Aug. 2019 – three SHS committee members contributed to the ‘Lab Program on the Proposed Outstanding Univerrsal Value (OUV) for Niah Cave World Heritage Site under UNESCO Listing‘ (Waterfront Hotel, Kuching).
20 June 2019 – SHS President DS Ridu and SHS adviser (architecture) Ar. William Khoo represented SHS in a Sarawak Government “Lab (on) Proposed Transforming Brooke Dockyard Into Maritime Museum“. See SHS notes-Brooke Dockyard Lab 14062019 w.
17 Apr. 2019 – SHS Committee meeting with Sarawak Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports to present SHS’s ‘Heritage Quest’ project and proposals for the upgrading of Sarawak’s institutional and regulatory framework for cultural heritage. [Summary of points presented to the Minister]
6 Dec. 2018 – Two SHS Committee members participated in a Sarawak Government workshop on the “Old Kuching Smart Heritage” initiative.
01 Nov. 2018 – SHS participated in a discussion meeting on the revision of the Sarawak Cultural Heritage Ordinance convened by the Sarawak Museum Department.
10-11 Jan. 2018 – Four SHS committee members participated in Sarawak Ministry of Urban Developement and Natural Resources ‘Lab’ on cultural heritage management. [Follow up SHS letter-28/03/2018]
15 Dec. 2017 – SHS Committee meeting with Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports further to the Dec. 2016 meeting with the Sarawak Chief Minister. [SHS Media Release-15/12/2017]
14 Nov. 2017 – SHS Committee meeting with Sarawak Chief Minister to present SHS current activities and forward a Position Paper on cultural heritage management in Sarawak. [SHS POSITION PAPER-Nov. 2017 presented at the meeting]
July 2016-Aug. 2017 – a Committee member represented SHS a Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) meetings on the preparation of a Master Plan / Management Plan for Santubong national Park.
SITE VISITS, TALKS, WALKS, LAUNCHES, SHOWS, REPRESENTATION, COLLABORATIONS
29 March, 1 Apr. 2021 – Members of SHS gave a briefing and led an observation stroll on the history & heritage of the Petanak and Blacksmith Road area of Kuching to students and lecturers from the Faculty of Built Environment, UNIMAS (Universiti Malaysia Sarawak). This was followed on 1 April by a meeting of SHS Exco members with Dean Prof Ar NurAkmal and members of the UNIMAS Faculty of Built Environment to explore further collaboration opportunities.
20-22/11/2019 – Two SHS Committee members attended the BIMP-EAGA (Borneo-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asia Growth Area) ‘BUDAYAW Colloquium‘ that took place at the Old Court House complex, Kuching as part of a BIMP-EAGA Budayaw Festival. The Colloquium focused on arts and culture in the region. Among the speakers were CraftHub Malaysia Director Heidi Munan (on material culture and tourism) and Jacqueline Fong (Tanoti Malaysia), both SHS members.
14 Nov. 2019 – SHS public sharing session on UNESCO’s ‘Memory of the World” programme further to SHS’s participation in a workshop called by Pustaka Negeri Sarawak on the latter programme mid-October 2019. Attendance: 24 pax.
12 October to 10 November 2019 – Five SHS Heritage strolls “Kuching’s law and order under the Brooke Rajahs”: a new stroll developed by SHS committee member and volunteer guide Paul Gerarts. The strolls were SHS’s input to the WAK (What About Kuching) festival 2019. Total attendance; 89 pax.[Flyer] [On 9 Aug. 2019 SHS manned a stall at the event to introduce the WAK 2019 Festival at the Old Court House].
October 2019 – SHS supported the publication of the “Ho Nuen Foh, Tinsmiths“, a booklet by SHS member Charlotte Hunter by providing a Foreword by SHS President DS Robert Jacob Ridu.
25-28 Sept. 2019 – The ‘International Conference on Archaeology 2019: Promoting Archaeology as Heritage Tourism‘ (Miri) was attended by a SHS Committee member.
25 Sept. 2019 – Heritage Speakers Series: “The Sarawak Forest Supermarket“, public talk by Dr Katharine (Kit) Pearce [announcement flyer]
15 Aug, 2019 – Several SHS members attended the Tan Sri Datuk Gerusin Lembat Memorial Series Lecture ‘Revisiting the Battles of Bitik Sadok: War, peace and progress of Saribas Iban 1850-1950‘ by Dr Peter Kedit at Tun Jugah Foundation (on-invitation lecture).
29 and 31 Jul 2019 – SHS committee members had sharing sessions with a group of members of the Taiping Heritage Society who were on a visit ot Kuching. Memos were exchanged.
16 July 2019 – Heritage Speakers Series: “Sarawak’s Unique Tradition of Timber Shophouses” by Dr John Ting, Assistant Professor, Univ. of Canberra, Australia. Co-organized with Friends of Sarawak Museum (FoSM) [handout]
9 July 2019 – SHS Committee sharing session with Ms Koo Salma, Penang Heritage Trust
5, 12 & 13 July 2019 – Heritage Strolls by SHS volunteer guide and committee member Paul Gerarts
21 June to 7 July 2019 – Kuala Lumpur Architecture Festival (KLAF) 2019
10 June 2019 – Heritage Stroll for German visitors by Committee members Paul Gerarts and John Chin
30 Apr. 2019 – 13th SHS Annual General Meeting
23 Apr. 2019 – Sharing session on cultural heritage with UNIMAS (University Malaysia Sarawak) students at the occasion of the UNIMAS Heritage Week. By SHS Committee members John Chin and Nicole Chan.
May 2018 to March 2019 – Six guided Kuching Heritage walks by Paul Gerarts, SHS volunteer guide (additonal to the below-mentioned ‘WAK’ strolls) . Total attendence: 89 pax.
11 Apr. 2019 – Heritage Speakers Series: “Civil Society and Sustainable Heritage“, public talk by Dr Chua Ai Lin, VP and Executive Director, Singapore Heritage Society, and Mr. Fauzy Ismail. [poster] and SHS Committee sharing session with Dr Ai Lin Chua.
13 March 2019 – Sharing session : “Reviving the Magic of Chinese Opera“, by SHS VP James Yong and SHS member John Soo and members of the Yi Sing Fukien Dramatic Association (Kuching). [poster] [20190313 SHS ChinOpera handout 1 – pdf 67Mb] [20190313 YSDA Prez – pdf 15Mb]
20 Feb. 2019 – Two SHS Committee members attended a presentation of the new Sarawak Museum Campus projected exhibitions
February 2019 – Several SHS members were interviewed on heritage related topics in the shooting of “Jateman” and “Colour of Sarawak”, a series of travel documentaries for a Malaysian TV channel.
8 Nov. 2018 – Media Conference : launch of “Heritage Quest“ campaign.
18 Nov. 2018 – Media Release on the Old Kuching Railway terminus further to the ‘rediscovery’ of old railway tracks at sewerage worksite.
Oct. 2018 (06, 07, 13, 27, 28) – (6) “Strolls through Sarawak’s Very Unique History: The Brooke Rajahs“, by SHS volunteer guide Paul Gerarts, in partnership with the Brooke Trust and in conjunction with the WAK Festival. Total attendence: 82 pax. [poster]
11 Aug 2018 – “Misc. Heritage News’ Feb.-July 2018 e-bulletin published.
29 Jul. 2018 – Exploratory discussion meeting between SHS Committee members and representatives of St James’ Church at Quop on the idea of a fund rising event for the conservation of the old timber church. The level of priority allocated by the local stakeholders to the conservation of the church appeared unclear.
02 June 2018 – Talk/Visit to Ramsey Ong studio, Kuching (SHS members-only event).
20 May 2018 – Launch of “SHS Community” (WhatsApp) chatgroup (joining on ‘opt-in’ basis – open to all).
09 March 2018 – Public talk: “Endangered Arts of Sarawak”. By Edric Ong, award Malaysian designer and expert in natural dye textiles, fashion and crafts.
13 Feb. 2018 – Public talk on the Japanese WW2 shipwrecks off Sarawak coast: what they are, what happened to them, and the need to preserve what is left of them. By Ernest Teo, diving instructor and SHS Vice President.
11 Jan 2018 – Public talk: Heritage management in urban rejuvenation programmes; and conservation GIS (Geographical Information Systems) – Think City Sdn Bhd experience. By Matt Benson, Programme Director, Technical Services, Think City, and Dr. Ceelia Leong, Think City Fellow, Conservation and GIS specialist. (for members).
5 Dec. 2017 – Presentation on the Garcimunoz medieval castle refurbishment project (Spain): public talk by Dr Izaskun Chinchilla, Senior Research Associate and Public Engagement Fellow at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College, London [handout]
2 Dec. 2017 – Site visit: Darul Maziah, Malay heritage house, Kuching (for members) [handout]
July 2016 to Aug. 2017 – a SHS committee member participated in 4 meetings called by the Sarawak Forestry Corporation on the drafting of a Master Plan/ Managemetn Plan for Santubong National Park. Two SHS comments notes were addressed to SFC.
8 July 2017 – Sharing session with Think City Penang team on heritage conservation in urban rejuvenation programmes (for members)
4 July 2017 – Screening of a documentary on an episode of Sarawak history (for members)
5 May 2017 – “Ethos, Heritage Conservation and Advancement“, public talk by Datuk Seri Lim Chong Keat. [bio]
15 Nov. 2016 – “Kuching Courthouses” : how the developments of governance under the three Rajahs can be viewed through the development of their courthouses. Public talk By Dr John Ting, Assistant Professor of Architecture at the University of Canberra. Co-organized with Friends of Sarawak Museum. [synopsis]
11-12 Nov. 2016 – Study tour to Penang by a 3 pax SHS delegation led by SHS President. Meetings with representatives of Penang Heritage Trust, GTWHI, Penang Municipal Council (Heritage Dept), ThinkCity and with conservation Architects Laurence Loh and Loh-Lim Lin Lee (Blue Mansion).
13 Aug. 2016 – “The pagan rites of the people of Mount Singai“, public talk by Dr. Andrew Alek Tuen (professor at the UNIMAS Institute of Biodiversity and Environmental Conservation) and Boniface Dowell (former RTM broadcaster) on their personal research in this topic. [synopsis]
30 Apr. 2016 – site visit to the Batu Lintang War Memorial mini-Museum, Kuching (site of WW2 Japanese internment camp), led by Mr. Lim Kian Hock (Sarawak Tourism Federation Heritage Development Committee Chair) and co-organized with Friends of Sarawak Museum (for SHS and FoSM members). [synopsis]
6 Sept. 2015 – Visit to Rajah Charles Brooke Memorial Hospital (ex-) leprosarium and mini-museum. For SHS members and their friends. The visit was guided by Dr Goh Yi Xiong and Ms Angelina Jong, managers of the hospital involved in the museum.
22 Aug. 2015 – Site visit to the Old Hokkien School building Kuching. Jointly by PAMSC (Malaysian Institute of Architects, Sarawak Chapter) and SHS, with a historian from the Kuching Hokkien association.
25 July 2015 – “The architecture of Sarawak before 1963”, public talk/seminar by Dr. John Ting, architect and historian, prominent expert in Sarawak built heritage. Jointly by PAMSC and SHS.
14 June 2015 – “The Penang House and the Straits Architect 1887–1941″, public talk by Dr. Jon Lim. SHS joined PAM (Malaysian Institute of Architects) Sarawak Chapter for this event. [for more, see our article of 20 June 2015]
22 Feb. 2015 – talk for members : “Episodes from the history of bunglo Segu” : on the ‘Segu bungalow’ (Park Lane, Kuching) and the history associated to it, by Dr John Walker, Senior Lecturer at UNSV Canberra (International and Political Studies programme) and author of the book “Power and prowess: the Origins of Brooke Kinship in Sarawak” (2002). Co-organised with Friends of Sarawak Museum (FoSM).
07 Feb. 2015 – Launch of the guided tour “A stroll through Kuching’s Chinese History“. (2 hour tour, given by an experienced volunteer heritage guide). Under the joint aegis of FoSM and SHS. [See our article of 27 March 2015]
21 Nov. 2014 – Launch of exhibition of heritage sketches by Urban Skectchers Kuching and of SHS Membership Drive [pamphlet (extract)]
2014 : several visits for members to Fort Margherita (Kuching) and Fort Alice (Sri Aman) as the conservation projects progressed; visit of renovation project of private shophouses that had burnt down Gambier street, Kuching.
Nov. 2014 – Urban Heritage sketches: An exhibition of heritage buildings sketches from Kuching and Siniawan by eight talented local sketchers – by SHS and the URBAN SKETCHERS KUCHING network. More in our article of 24 November 2014.
May 2014 – “The hidden beauty of Nature”, paintings by NARONG DAUN. In partnership with the Sarawak Museum. For more: SHS Press Release on this event.
Feb. 2013 – Paintings by CHIN KEE , Kuching. An exhibition of paintings by the late Sarawakian painter Chin Kee, co-hosted by the Sarawak Museum and SHS. Chin Kee followed the China Lingnan school of brush painting, a blend of traditional local style with elements of Western and Japanese realist painting, meant to be more accessible to the population, after the Chinese 1911 revolution. See and Borneo Post article on this event (8 Feb. 2013).
Jan-Feb. 2012 – “From studio to old street – capturing cultural heritage through art”. Paintings by Hoan Kee Huang. In partnership with the Sarawak Museum. See related SHS Newlsletter article.
“Sarawak Heritage and its interpretation for Tour Guides“ Nov. 2014 (2 days workshop) and May 2015 (3 days workshop) with Sarawak Tourist Guides Association (SKTGA) members. In collaboration with Sarawak Ministry of Tourism. Media coverage: Sarawak Tribune, 15 Nov. 2014 Borneo Post, 16 Nov. 2014, Borneo Post 22 May 2015
Kuching Heritage Trails: The Brooke Legacy, Self-guided tours (2007, SHS & Malaysian Institute of Architects, Sarawak branch, 28 pages) [currently out of print but freely downloadable from our Archive page]
This website started to operate in October 2014, replacing our production of printed SHS Newsletters.
[for more on publications, including Press Releases, see our Archive page]
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT PROGRAMMES/ACTIVITIES
Feb. 2017 – SHS sponsored the participation of a team of 6 girls from Kuching’s Salvation Army Children Home to the Kuching Heritage Race.
2013-2015 – “REMINISCING FORGOTTEN TREASURE… SIMANGGANG” : FORT ALICE (Sri Aman) (completed)
Fort Alice, in Sri Aman (formerly named ‘Simanggang’), is one of the remaining from Sarawak’s Brooke era. It is a remarkable, large “fortified” wooden building which served for many years as the main administrative centre for the area.
SHS supported the Sarawak Government-funded Fort Alice Conservation Project (restoration of the building+setting up of a museum, MYR 5 mln allocation) through a complementary community engagement programme to promote the valuing and methods of cultural heritage conservation. The Simanggang Soon Heng Society and the Kuching-based Talents and Arts group were also partners. The project was sponsored by PAMSC (Malaysian Institute of Architects, Sarawak Chapter (MYR 15,000) and NS Bluescope Lysaght (Sarawak) Sdn Bhd (MYR 20,000), and SHS contributed MYR 5,000. Architect and SHS member Mike Boon was the Programme Director. Friends of Fort Alice, a community-initiated local heritage conservation group, has been set-up in the course of the project (Click here for their blog -partly in Chinese language). The restored Fort re-opened to the public on 18 Apr. 2015. A special event was hold one week earlier to conclude the SHS supported community engagement programme.
2009-2011 – “REMINISCING FORGOTTEN TREASURE… SINIAWAN” : SINIAWAN CULTURAL HERITAGE PROJECT
This SHS project initiative helped record Siniawan’s history and heritage. An inventory of the heritage buildings and measured plans of the old wooden shophouses were undertaken. The project involved community groups, in a participatory approach, contributing a revival of Siniawan. Besides volunteer work, the project was made possible by gracious inputs from Arkitek JFN Sdn Bhd and a MYR 20,000 sponsorhip from NS Bluescope Lysalight Sdn Bhd.
11-12 Nov. 2016 – two days study tour to George Town, Penang, by the SHS President, a Committee member and a SHS member (self-funded by the participants)
Oct. 2016 – SHS website upgrade
2008 – SHS undertook measured drawings of several threatened historical buildings along Gambier Street, Kuching : old vegetable, fish & poultry markets, old information building and ‘bunker building’, and presented to the Sarawak Government a documented project proposal for their conservation. This project was not retained by the Authorities. The old riverfront markets were demolished in June-July 2009. [More on our Archive page. See also our post of 14 Dec. 2014]
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