In August 2007, the month when Malaysia celebrated 50 years of independence from colonial rule, two historic cities on the Straits of Malacca were assessed for inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage List. This book explores the cultural, social and physical history of one city and its multi ethnic population, tracing its urban evolution, the cultures of its population and the reflection of their cultures in their architecture and urban forms. It also investigates national and international influences - including those of heritage conservation bodies, and examines their impact on cultural perceptions, in order to unravel the identity reconstructions that have taken place over the nation's first 50 years.
Trained as a 3D designer Dr Gwynn Jenkins moved to live and work in Penang, Malaysia in 1995. After 11 years of pioneering heritage conservation with a Penang architectural practice and gaining a PhD in Social and Cultural Anthropology supported by the University of Hull, UK, Gwynn continues to live, research, conserve and write from a restored Chinese shophouse in the heart of the old city.