As one of Malaysia’s most recognised UNESCO World Heritage sites, Penangites have a lot to be proud of when it comes to the state’s history, heritage and culture. Thus, it is important that this pride is felt not just by the elder generation but also new blood in the state.
It is with this realisation that Think City decided to organise a fun day out for underprivileged children in Penang with a focus on heritage learning and education at the core. Working with 19 partners that comprised non-profit bodies, local authority, grassroot organisations, as well as independent and student volunteers, Think City optimised the Hari Hasanah platform to deliver a programme that enabled the community to get together and bring smile to the faces of close to 100 young children from Pertubuhan Rumah Kebajikan Seri Cahaya, Rumah Anak Kesayangan and Rumah Nasyiatul Aisyiyah.
The event which took place at Armenian Park, in Georgetown, Penang, begun at about 8 am with a fun dance and aerobic session led by Think City’s own staff volunteers to get everybody’s blood pumping and their minds psyched for the activities of the morning. Children from as young as three years old to as old as 16 were seen enjoying themselves, moving to the rhythm of the latest popular tunes.
This was followed by a free an easy session where children were taught how to play traditional games such as tuju selipar, batu seremban and lidi, and how to make traditional arts and crafts like Chinese Paper art. The younger children were also treated to a colouring session where they were taught how to identify local heritage sites in Penang.
While the younger kids were busy with their colouring, volunteers from the Penang Tour Guide Association (PTGA) took the elder children on a heritage trail walk around the area, starting from Armenia Street, and covering places such as Lebuh Acheh and Lebuh Carnarvon, the Penang the Islamic Museum housed in an elegant 1860 mansion built by Syed Mohammed Al-Attas, the Yap Temple and Yap Clan House as well as the Acheh Street Mosque (Masjid Melayu Lebuh Acheh), built in 1808 by Tengku Syed Hussain for the Straits Arab community.
Adding to the fun, Think City also invited one of Penang’s top caricature artistes, Azmi Hussin, a Yayasan Hasanah grants recipient to utilise his artistic skills by drawing the childrens’ caricature portraits. Likewise grant recipients LocalHouz added to the cheer with their live music performers and buskers serenading participants and volunteers throughout the event.
The children also received a special treat from Mat Ismail the Clown a Penang native who has been using his comedic skills to entertain children in the state for many years. His antics and animal balloons gained him a massive following amongst the kids, making him a fan favourite throughout the day.
Ultimately the fun day out was a simple yet meaningful event that really embodies the spirit of “Doing Good Together”. Even local organisations such as Jawi House and Badan Warisan Masjid Melayu Lebuh Acheh pulled their resources and provided breakfast and lunch to the children and volunteers during the session. At the end of the day, the children were able to learn and embrace their state’s cultural heritage while having a really good time. They left with excited cries of “Hari Hasanah Best!”, inspired by the good deeds of everyone involved.