[Article updated 05/08/2022 to, in particular, add the link to the video of the talk, kindly produced and put on YouTube by Badan Warisan Malaysia]

In 1983, Lucas Chin, then Director of the Sarawak Museum, wrote: “Our heritage is not only being increasingly threatened by the natural causes of decay, but also  by economic and social changes. (…) What has so far been done (…) is not adequate. With rapid developments that are taking place or earmarked for implementation throughout the state, careful planning must be undertaken so that as little of our heritage as possible will be unnecessarily destroyed“.* What is today’s situation?

On 7 July 2022, in a web talk entitled “Sarawak’s Endangered Heritage”, Sarawak Heritage Society President James Yong looked at the current status of Sarawak’s  heritage. The talk was the last of the Badan Warisan Malaysia (BWM) series entitled “Spotlight on Sarawak” curated by YBhg. Tan Sri Leo Moggie and Puan Sri Elizabeth Moggie. It was attended by 135 persons and moderated by PS Elizabeth Moggie, who is a member of both BWM and SHS.

Based on a discussion (i) of current approaches to heritage assessment and management, and (ii) of the values ascribed to heritage assets, James Yong brushed a panorama of Sarawak’s heritage and looked at the ways it is managed, the progress and challenges. He highlighted past, present and future threats to which these assets can be exposed and the dangers ahead if a proactive and comprehensive approach is not taken to preserve them.

Global experience shows that agile heritage management contributes to sustainable economic and social development. It can for example re-energise communities and places, boost tourism, arts and crafts, etc. In this regard James stressed on the importance of collective responsibility: only when government, the civil society and the private sector work together can the nation achieve sustainable heritage management.

The video of this talk can be uploaded at:  https://youtu.be/2tA4YwqM5G4

The set of slides presented at the talk can be downloaded here . Below is a sample. (please quote the source if you share this material or parts of it).

Readers’ comments are welcome (use the “LEAVE A REPLY” box below).


*Our Heritage and the need to preserve it“, Lucas Chin, 1983, in Sarawak Museum Journal, Vol XXXII, No.53 Special Issue, pp.61-69. That issue of the SMJ included 6 articles on Sarawak heritage. Lucas Chin was at the time Director of the Sarawak Museum.