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Malacca: S.E. Asian City in Transit

Malacca was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008. It is chosen for its colourful mixture of multi-cultural heritage and tradition of Asia as well as European colonial influences, which attract many tourists every year. Conservation never fails to raise many questions and skepticism. Can this status stop development from running against the very effort to preserve it as a heritage city? What should be conserved and how much allowance to be made for a city's natural evolution? Will preserved shophouses of unique architectural features become empty shells disembodied of their vernacular life? What about the old mobile drink stalls, abandoned cinema and the featureless bus terminal together with the shop fronts of businesses it supported that once were important nodes of socio-economic interaction? What is the purpose of conservation and for whom do we conserve?

Tan Wan Ting