KUCHING: The state’s historical aspects and heritage are often taken for granted as the people fail to appreciate such treasures.
Datin Patinggi Datuk Jamilah Anu — the wife of the Chief Minister — said there is a great need to preserve Sarawak’s culture and heritage particularly among the younger generation.
“Our state is rich in history and heritage,” she said at the launch of the Exhibition of Sketches of Heritage Buildings yesterday, while pointing to the old courthouse, now Sarawak Tourism Complex, which was built in 1874 during the rule of the Second White Rajah.
“The exhibition showcases through unique pencil sketches and paintings reflect our common heritage of historical buildings, and our cultural traditions in music, arts and crafts.
“It represents our diverse values, beliefs and traditions that are intricately interwoven into our colourful social fabric, which are manifested in our heritage of buildings, music, arts, crafts and our ethnic palates,” she said.
Jamilah stressed that appreciating the past is important because “the past makes our present, and our present, in turn, shall define our future”.
“For the past 50 years, we have learnt to appreciate our differences in our beliefs, racial backgrounds, culture and tradition. Our diversity has become our strong points that bind all Sarawakians together,” she said.
She added that Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem will stand alongside the people and across political divides in one common Sarawakian spirit.
The exhibition by the Urban Sketchers of Kuching, organised by the Sarawak Heritage Society (SHS), will be open to the public on Monday to Friday next week from 9am to 5pm daily.
Meanwhile, SHS president Karen Shepherd pointed out that once heritage is wiped out, our collective story would also be wiped out entirely.
“Right now we are creating the heritage of the future. We build buildings that reflect both our needs and our aspirations. We fill those buildings with objects that we use, represent us and we think are beautiful. Then we carry on our lives in those buildings with those objects, creating practices and traditions out of them that reflect the people that we are or the people that we want to be,” she said.
“One day, we will pass those buildings, objects and traditions to our children and they will tell our story, the way we live, the fashions we followed, the beliefs we had and the ideals we cared about. This is our heritage, tangible and intangible: the story of our lives and the lives of the people who came before us.”
Shepherd applauded the state government’s efforts to push forward an application for listing under the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco).
“SHS is participating as part of the government liaison role. Though for any listing, one of the main requirements is community involvement and this is where you come in,” she called on the people.
The exhibition also celebrates the launch of SHS’s year-long membership drive.