Penang Cultural Fest 2008 launched

iGeorgeTown Penang, a nine-channel information platform, was launched yesterday by Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng at the opening of the Penang Cultural Fest 2008, a programme to celebrate Penang’s listing as a World Heritage Site.

The information platform, a privately driven service featuring integrated and comprehensive information about George Town’s culture and heritage, is an undertaking of communications firm Sympologic Sdn Bhd.

The nine channels are print, internet, events, audio visuals, mobile phone services, media stories and syndication, media relations, souvenirs and guided tours.

Sympologic managing director Lim Siang Jin said iGeorgeTown was for the benefit of local and visiting end-users as well as those in the information, travel and hospitality industries.

“iGeorgeTown will lean on existing structures, develop win-win relationships among the varoius stakeholders in the heritage and related industries and be a networking platform for them.

“We hope that we will be able to encourage civic pride by revisiting Penang’s place in history where people of age-old civilisations engaged each other and evolved rich and complex cultural practices.

“iGeorgeTown will also help the state government’s tourism arm by providing heritage tourism-related information as well as an informational map of all stakeholders in the industry,” Lim said.

He said iGeorgeTown’s main objective is to interpret culture in the larger context of economics, politics, the arts and popular entertainment as well as help rebrand Penang as a global heritage and cultural centre.

Among those involved in the iGeorgeTown platform are associates from a variety of backgrounds, including academia, culture and heritage, technology, the arts, and the food industry.

Lim said with this pool of resources, those involved in the iGeorgeTown platform will be able to draw extensively on existing resource networks, develop new ones and organise them to be streamed methodically through the nine channels under the iGeorgeTown brand.

Lim said the addition of George Town to the Unesco World Heritage List had created a new urgency for such a platform.

“Among the heritage and cultural destinations the world over, George Town stands out as a living ‘intercultural city’ with a mix of practices that has evolved from the contact and engagement of people from Southeast Asia, the Far East, the Indian subcontinent, Europe and the Middle East.

“The living intercultural city concept has been adopted as the main theme of the platform,” he added.

A video presentation of iGeorgeTown was shown at the event held at the E&O Hotel, where the Penang Cultural Fest 2008 was launched.

Also launched at the same event was a coffee-table book by Ilsa Sharp titled The E&O Hotel — Pearl of Penang.

In conjunction with the fest, an art exhibition George Town: A Retrospective in the Visual Arts was held, featuring Penang’s visual heritage in the last 300 years. The exhibition is on at the E&O Hotel until Monday.

Other events held in conjunction with the Penang Cultural Fest include the Penang Jazz Festival that runs till Sunday at the Bayview Beach Hotel, Batu Ferringhi; Penang Food Hunt 2008 & Food Bazaar tomorrow and Sunday at various locations, including the New World Park, ending at the Esplanade; and Penang Cultural Night from 7.30pm to 11pm tomorrow at Fort Cornwallis.

Penang’s most well-known musical talents have been invited to perform at the Cultural Night. They include Dakshal Logan & Band, James Boyle & Band, James Rozells & Kathleen Rodrigues, and Jean Yangtze Trio and The Alley Cats.

Meanwhile, there’s also the Little Penang Street Market on Sunday from 10am to 3pm at Upper Penang Road and an international conference on The New Economic Vision for Penang and Malaysia today and tomorrow at the Traders Hotel.

By Regina William (The Edge Daily)

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