Friday, December 22, 2006

Taking Tourists Back to the Beginning of KL

KUALA LUMPUR: Most city folks know that the confluence of the Klang and Gombak rivers is where it all started for Kuala Lumpur. Tourists may not.

In the old days, this was the place once used for loading tin ingots, food supply, weapons and wares, and the arrival point of immigrants who would work in the tin mines.

Today, visitors to the city may not really feel they are walking through history because of the lack of organised heritage trails that provide an insight into the historical sites.

Badan Warisan Malaysia is wondering what has happened to its proposal a few years ago for a series of information panels at certain places of early KL.

“There are many examples where cities provide simple yet informative ways to interpret their historical sites, such as through signages, information stands, markers, pamphlets and brochures. KL can learn from this,” said its executive director, Elizabeth Cardosa.

“What would a visitor who walks across the bridge at Lebuh Pasar and sees Masjid Jamek standing at the confluence of the Klang and Gombak rivers understand?”

She said unless the visitors had done some reading up of the city, it was unlikely they would understand its significance or even know how the city got its name.

Historian Prof Emeritus Datuk Dr Khoo Kay Kim said the time had come for the Government to pump in money into research and to have an organised heritage tourism strategy.

“We don’t have proper research, and it is hard to get the money to carry out research. Kuala Lumpur will be just one of the modern cities in the world, and people from similar cities will no longer be interested in visiting us,” he said.

“We should go around the city to search for buildings that are worth preserving.”

“I asked tour companies where they start from when taking tourists around the city. They seem to be directionless,” he said.

“They should start from the confluence of the rivers. It is time for the Government to do something to create that awareness.”

Source : STAR
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