Artisans, cultural traders recognised with George Town World Heritage Incorporated’s heritage awards

Opalyn Mok
·4-min read
Tokong Thai Pak Kong won the conservation, enhancement and adaptation award for the conservation of the Fu De Ci Temple. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
Tokong Thai Pak Kong won the conservation, enhancement and adaptation award for the conservation of the Fu De Ci Temple. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

GEORGE TOWN, April 21 — A total of 56 organisations and 28 individuals consisting of artisans and cultural traders were selected as recipients of George Town World Heritage Incorporated’s (GTWHI) inaugural heritage recognition and awards 2020.

The inaugural awards are held in conjunction with GTWHI’s 11th anniversary which falls on April 21.

GTWHI General Manager Ang Ming Chee said the awards is the first step to recognising the artisans and organisations for their dedication and contribution to their respective fields.

“This recognition is to honour their importance in contributing towards our cultural heritage in George Town which has shaped our cultural identity,” she said.

She thanked the jury panel members who had given their guidance and support in selecting the recipients of the awards.

She added that the recipients were selected for their outstanding contributions to the maintenance of the Outstanding Universal Value of George Town Unesco World Heritage Site.

“During the assessment process, we were informed that some old documentation had been lost due to incidents such as World War II, fire or floods.

“We hope that anyone with old photos or old documentation related to the award recipients can contact us so we can have more documentation on the recipients,” she said.

An award ceremony for the recipients will be held in conjunction with this year’s World Heritage Day celebrations on July 7.

The local artisans, cultural traders and individuals were selected for the lifetime achievement awards due to their skills, dedication and advocacy efforts.

There were four different categories under the lifetime achievement awards where individuals are recognised for their mastery of skills, dedication on knowledge transmission, cultural heritage advocacy work and outstanding efforts and dedication.

Among the recipients are carpenter Chor Teik Heng; traditional hand glove puppeteer Chua Saw Tin; Ghazal Party performer Jimah Chin; stamp dealer Anthony Chan; Teochew opera performer Toh Ai Hwa; Nyonya beaded shoes artisan May Lim; and Thai menora dancer Noo Wan @ Wandee Aroonratana.

Organisations and companies of a minimum age of 25 to over 100 are also given due recognition under the cultural continuity recognition.

A total eight organisations and companies that are over 100 years old obtained platinum status under the category.

The organisations are Ghee Hiang Manufacturing Co Sdn Bhd (circa 1856); Hameediyah Restaurant (1907); Kwongtuck Sundries and Liquors Sdn Bhd (circa 1836); Hospital Lam Wah Ee Chinese Medicine Division (circa 1883); Penang Fooi Chew Association (circa 1822); Red House Alcohol Distributor (circa 1900); Thai Pak Koong Temple Tanjung Tokong (circa 1792); and Yin Oi Tong Co Sdn Bhd (circa 1796).

A total of 18 other organisations that are between 50 and 99 years old received gold status while seven organisations that are between 25 and 49 years old received silver status.

Two organisations won the conservation, enhancement and adaptation award for their conservation works.

The recipients are Tokong Thai Pak Kong (Ng Suk) for its conservation efforts of the King Street Fu De Ci Temple and Penang Chinese Chamber of Commerce for its conservation efforts of the Penang Chinese Chamber of Commerce building.

There were also four honourable mentions by the jury and four special mentions by the jury under the conservation, enhancement and adaptation award.

Two hotels were the recipients of the honourable mention by the jury, namely, Spices Hotel at Lorong Lumut and Seven Terraces at Lorong Stewart.

The recently restored Makam Dato Koyah along Jalan Transfer also received honourable mention by the jury.

The Penang Island City Council’s conservation project for its heritage building, City Hall, and upgrading of backlanes around George Town received special mention by the jury.

A total of 13 organisations received honourable mention and special mention by the jury under the cultural heritage events and activities category.

The Hong Kong Street Tow Boh Keong Temple and Omara Production received honourable mention for the Nine Emperor Gods Festival and Ghazal Party activities respectively.

Among the organisations that received a special mention by the jury for their cultural heritage events and activities are Persatuan Warisan Dato Koyah for its Maulidur Rasul celebration; the Penang Hindu Association for its numerous Hindu and cultural heritage events; and the State Chinese Penang Association for its hand-crafting of nyonya beaded shoes.

GTWHI received a total 107 nominations in 2020 for the awards and the nominations were reviewed by an international jury panel members.

The jury panel members consisted of former National Heritage Department director-general Datin Paduka Siti Zuraida Abdul Majid, Unesco Office Jakarta’s programme specialist and head of unit culture Moe Chiba, The International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property project manager Rohit Jigyasu, The Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Anthropology Centre former director Paritta Chalermpow Koanantakool and Ang.

The full list of award recipients and information on the awards can be obtained from or go to

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