US Cultural Heritage Restoration Fund open for applications

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Conservation and Preservation professionals and groups in Malaysia may be interested in this source of funding for Cultural Heritage Restoration from the United States. More details can be found here.

US Embassy Invites Applications For Ambassadors Fund For Cultural Heritage Restoration
Bernama, 05 December 2010
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China backs Malaysia's call for Asian Heritage chapter

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26 June 07 (New Straits Times) – Malaysia has previously pushed for an Asian version of UNESCO, and this call for an Asian chapter of UNESCO is now bolstered by backing from China. While I agree with the fact that the World Heritage sites seem skewed towards Europe and America, I can’t help but feel that this push by Malaysia and China (the latter not particularly known for actually treasuring their cultural heritage) is more keyed to economics and the tourist dollar rather that treasuring heritage for heritage’s sake.

China backs call for heritage chapter

The Chinese government supports Malaysia’s proposal for an Asian chapter of the Unesco World Cultural and Natural Heritage centre.

Chinese Minister of Culture Sun Jiazheng says his government agrees with Malaysia that Asia, which has its own distinct set of values and principles, deserves its own criteria for what constitutes a world heritage site.

Malaysia decided to propose an Asian version of the list in October 2006 because the government felt the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation is placing too much emphasis on Europe and the US, and not recognising enough heritage and historical sites in Asia.

“The Chinese government supports this proposal to Unesco and will continue to do so vocally in the international arena,” said Sun after a closed-door meeting with Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Seri Rais Yatim at Kompleks Kraft yesterday.

Read about the proposed Asian Chapter of the Unesco World Cultural and Natural Heritage Centre.

Call for Papers: The 2nd International Conference on Tourism and Hospitality

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For academics writing interested in the role of heritage and tourism, Universiti Utara Malaysia is holding a conference from 30 July – 1 August with the theme “Planning and Managing Heritage for the Future”. Papers for the conference are being solicited, with the deadline for submission of abstracts on 30 April 2007.

The 2nd International Conference on Tourism and Hospitality

Heritage resources are irreplaceable; they are non-renewable resources that become a subject of conservation and tourism. Heritage provides a tangible link between the past, the present and the future. Thus, having a good management is crucial in sustaining the resources. If it is done badly, we might lose a significant part of our heritage forever. There are many issues and challenges that threat the sustainability of heritage assets including the modernization, and tourism! Yes, tourism poses a threat to heritage

The future of heritage lies on good planning and management with the mission linked closely to conservation. Planning for heritage can be broken into three parts: long-term planning, integrative planning, and conservation-focused. Long-term planning is in terms of markets and products, authority, policy and so forth. Whereas integrative planning refers to acknowledging other uses and users and within the region involved, be it heritage tourism, tourism in general or non-tourism uses, and lastly conservation-focused which is aiming at protecting built environment, maintaining integrity of ecological system, and caring for local community and aborigines. Management for heritage on the other hand, is about caring for property and maintaining it in as pristine state as possible, with issues such as financial solvency and public access entering into the decision making process only as secondary considerations.

This conference is the second series of the International Conference on Tourism and Hospitality (ICTH). This time the theme is on “Planning and Managing Heritage for the Future”. The theme is chosen because heritage is diverse in terms of the resources and attractions, covering natural heritage (e.g. national parks and biosphere reserves), built heritage (e.g. artifacts, monuments and structures), and intangible heritage (e.g. culture and literature). Each segment is unique and poses different sets of management and planning requirements. Heritage is also becoming an important part of tourism industry and society as a whole, which is evident in Malaysia with the establishment of Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage. This development shows the government’s recognition of this sector’s role in generating income via tourism industry and in maintaining the national legacy.

Cabinet passes amendments to Ancient Monuments Act

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4 April 2007 (Thais News) – A 1961 law to protect ancient monuments in Thailand is amended to keep up with changing times. Particularly edifying is to see the act being amended to address the illicit transport (smuggling) of artefacts.

Cabinet passes amendments to Ancient Monuments Act

The Cabinet meeting approves amendments to the 1961 Act on Ancient Monuments, Antiques, Objects of Art and National Museums and draft of the National Archive Act to conserve Thai heritage.

Minister of Culture Khunying Khaisri Sri-arun (ไขศรี ศรีอรุณ) reveals that the amendments were made by the ministry to give a mandate to local administration officials to monitor ancient monuments. The minister says the amendments were written in line with the changing society and international standards on ancient monument conservation, especially those concern illegal transport of cultural objects. The amended Act also designates conserving areas for antiques and art objects located under water and on land.

Podcast 03: Heritage Watch

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Merry Christmas one and all! The SEAArch Podcast talks to Dr Dougald O’Reilly, the director of Heritage Watch, an NGO in Cambodia that seeks to preserve the cultural heritage of Cambodia. Dr O’Reilly talks about the work of Heritage Watch, the extent of looting of artefacts in Cambodia, and how you can help.

Hear (or download) the podcast on the SEAArch Podcast page.

History Lost in Cagayan de Oro

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21 September 2006 (Minda News) – A commentary by Heritage Conservation Advocates (HCA) in the Philippines about the state of archaeological looting there. Incidentally, I’ve been to Cagayan de Oro as a kid, where I was staying with some family friends at the Del Monte pineapple processing factory.

COMMENTARY: History Lost in Cagayan de Oro

Archaeological looting in the Philippines is quite common: Three hundred years of Spanish rule and 40 years of American occupation have created a population largely apathetic to its roots. Widespread poverty and stories about alleged treasures buried by Japanese soldiers during the Second World War have prodded many people to take anything of perceived value from caves and other sites.

This condition has made archaeological work in the Philippines frustrating. Archaeology to most people is a vague occupation, and archaeologists are sometimes suspected as treasure hunters. Their presence in an area may cause looting instead of protection of fossils and relics. When archaeologists leave a site after hours of painstakingly slow scraping, they might find in the morning that their carefully made plot has turned into an ugly, gaping hole.

Angkor burdened with influx of visitors, job seekers

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16 September 2006 (Xinhua) – Another report on the unsustainability of Angkor because of its sharply rising tourist numbers; one million visitors a year is painful to the environment – but the projected tourist numbers is two million! The boost in tourism has also seen a spike in population numbers in Siem Reap from people seeking to cash in on the tourist boom, further adding strain to the environment. But tourism is an important part of the Cambodian economy.

Angkor burdened with influx of visitors, job seekers

The ancient Angkorian ruins face the danger of destruction as in the past years millions of visitors and job seekers rushed into Siem Reap, where the temples and the infrastructure were just unable to accommodate their overflowing admiration and aspiration, the Cambodian Daily reported here on Saturday.

“We don’t have enough infrastructure to welcome mass tourism. We are not ready. If one million come a year, the environment will be destroyed very quickly,” the paper quoted Tep Vattho as saying. She headed the development department of the Apsara Authority, which was entrusted by the government to manage the Angkor Archeological Park.

Tourism is Cambodia’s second largest foreign currency generator and Angkor contributes the lion’s share of the income.

M'sia Advocates Asian Unesco To Designate Asian Heritage Cities

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12 Sep 2006 (Bernama) – Malaysia is proposing the creation of a Asian version of UNESCO, but this push seems geared more towards promoting tourism, rather than heritage. The article mentions how a 110-metre rotating tower is planned for the historical city of Melaka…

M’sia Advocates Asian Unesco To Designate Asian Heritage Cities

Malaysia will advocate that Asia has its own organisation similar to Unesco to designate heritage cities in the continent, Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said Tuesday.

He said Unesco (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) had been recognising cities only in Europe and America under its Heritage Cities programme.

“We in Asia should have a body resembling Unesco, and it could be named the “Asian Cultural and Economic Body”, which will determine how China, the Philippines, Malaysia, India and other countries can obtain such recognition (for their cities),” he told reporters after opening the seventh Malay World, Islamic World (DMDI) convention at the Melaka International Trade Centre (MITC), here.

Rais said the Unesco symbol was used in the tourism business and claimed that many heritage cities with tourism potential had been denied the recognition.

Heritage that is 'very much alive'


14 August 2006 (New Straits Times) – An interview with Malaysia’s heritage commissioner – and archaeologist – Prof. Dutuk Zuraina Majid, who talks about recovering prehistoric skeletons and the preservation of Malaysian heritage.

Heritage that is ‘very much alive’

Early next year, Heritage Commissioner Prof Datuk Dr Zuraina Majid will go abroad — her destination is top secret. Her mission is to bring back an integral part of the country’s past — 10 boxes of prehistoric skeletons excavated from Gua Cha, Kelantan, in the 1950s. Next month, two graves of important historical personalities from Perak who died in exile will also be moved back to the country from abroad. Zuraina, well-known for discovering the Perak Man, the oldest human skeleton found in the country, explains that heritage is more than just old buildings and mansions.

A survey of heritage charters

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31 July 2006 (The Philippine Daily Enquirer) – An outline of heritage charters and cultural resource protection agencies around the world.

A survey of heritage charters

THE INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL of Monuments and Sites (Icomos) is the international organization of heritage practitioners based in Paris. It regulates the conservation profession through charters, resolutions and declarations developed by its committees and adopted in a general assembly.

The Charter for the Protection and Management of the Underwater Cultural Heritage was prepared by the International Committee for the Management of Archaeological Heritage and approved by the 9th General Assembly of Icomos in Lausanne, Switzerland, in 1996.