Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Being proud of our heritage

The past is a lesson for the present and future

Despite the ongoing protests against the actions of the authorities, there seem to be an systematic and planned demolition of heritage buildings in the country. The most recent of these was the Bok House in Kuala Lumpur and the former Uplands School in Penang.

It simply goes to show the lack of respect for the wishes of the rakyat by the local authorities who blatantly bulldoze their decision without due consideration for the peoples opinion.

The Culture, Arts and Heritage Ministry which pledges to protect and maintain all heritage sites and buildings appears to be either dumb founded or offering excuses every time a historical site or building is destroyed.

Our national heritage is something we should all be proud of, but unfortunately our authorities are bent on destroying them one by one. If this trend were to continue soon all historical events and contributions of past generations, to our success as well as failures, will be totally erased. Our future generations will never get to know and appreciate the greatness of past leaders and citizens who sacrifice so much to bring our nation to where it is today.

Most of our social ills are due to our ignorance of the sacrifices of earlier generations. If only children appreciate the sacrifices of their parents, many of them will be better people. Similarly if only the younger generation appreciate the contributions of their forefathers, then many of the ills in the society will never surface.

Why are our authorities bent on demolishing our historical sites and buildings?The Penang Heritage Trust vice-president Tunku Ismail Mohammad Jewa says these are done in the name of the “almighty ringgit”. The almighty ringgit surely is an important consideration in all our decisions in development but it should not be the one and only criteria.

The past, both good and bad, is a lesson for the present and the future. Unless we learn to appreciate the contributions of the past it would be almost impossible to progress now and in the future. We must be more serious in our endeavors to preserve our heritage to be used as lessons by the future generation.

Dr.Chris Anthony

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