Melaka’s tourism drives prosperity but threatens its charm; Simon Roughneen; Nikkei Asian Review

Malaysia – Melaka and George Town, Historic Cities of the Straits of Malacca

As business booms, many locals lament the loss of the city’s heritage and old-world vibe

MELAKA, Malaysia — “Fun” is a subjective concept, as is the even more nebulous “culture.” As for “heritage,” it is a debatable term too, but can be more or less quantified by the range and antiquity of buildings and monuments that make up a place.

But how about cruising through a UNESCO World Heritage site in a garish Pokemon or Hello Kitty-decor trishaw, a speaker blaring Taylor Swift from the roof and exhorting passers-by to “Shake It Off,” as a wizened driver struggles to pedal a cartload of tourists along a cobbled street toward the ruins of a 16th century church? Fun?

Going by the steady trade these trishaws do in downtown Melaka, a lot of people enjoy that jaunt. Indeed it is not only fun to many, but possibly cultural too, in some jarringly postmodern, Andy Warhol-meets-St. Francis Xavier (who visited Melaka) sense of the word.

It is hardly “heritage” though, not yet anyway.

Source: Melaka’s tourism drives prosperity but threatens its charm- Nikkei Asian Review

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