Tag Archive : heritage

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It looks like heritage and culture can also be experienced in the living room.

Kaki Lima, a new light strategy board game designed by Penang-based media artist Goh Choon Ean promises a fun walkabout around the historic city of George Town, all in the comfort of your homes … or wherever one plays board games.

Kaki lima means five foot way, describing roofed walkways commonly found in front of old shops in Malaysia.

“The game was designed and themed to reflect a day in the life of a pedestrian in Malaysia, with hopes to bring up reflections on (street) accessibility and community. We incorporated into the rule book a few simple questions to trigger thought about those two things. How has the kaki lima experience been like for you? What are your views on kaki lima as a private, public and shared space? What is your idea of an excellent neighbourhood?” says Goh, 47, in a recent interview.

Expect very Malaysian, or rather very Penangite elements, in the game. From the design of the scoreboard and cards to its characters, Kaki Lima sports a street level feel.

This was something Charis Loke, Kaki Lima’s illustrator, was conscious about.

The illustrations of the game, from the scoreboard to the characters, were all based on actual people in George Town and kaki lima tiles. Photo: Kaki Lima

“The characters are based very much on real George Town residents whom I know or have seen walking around on the streets.

“I also spent a few months keeping my eyes open for interesting people around town, going to Chowrasta Market or streets around town and observing people there, making note of the way they dress and their routines.

“It is important for me that the Penangites (and Malaysians) who play this game will be able to recognise themselves, or their communities, in it, ” says the 28-year-old Loke, a freelance illustrator.

Goh says the idea for Kaki Lima came about in September 2017.

“It was an example for a tabletop game design workshop for Arts-ED’s Youth Arts Camp (in Penang). I decided to incorporate a long-time fascination with five-foot ways into a theme for a tabletop game.

“There was just something about walking through the archways of George Town that made you feel inspired to create. So I started by walking around George Town, taking pictures of both clear and blocked kaki lima archways, and close-ups of tiles found there to incorporate into the artwork of the cards, back and front.”

Goh Choon Ean says one of the goals of the game is to make players think about community and cultural heritage. Photo: Kaki Lima

The board game (retailing RM168) is a three to eight player game suitable for ages eight and up.

In the game, you have to pick up quest exploration cards to get you out and about in George Town, while completing tasks and earning points along the way. Just like real life, you will find some of these walkways in George Town blocked and you can collaborate with other players to remove the obstacles.

Kaki Lima gives players awareness about George Town’s heritage spots and the challenge of navigating five-foot ways safely. This is a small reflection of reality of George Town and a social issue that should be highlighted as the kaki lima path is a public space, ” says Lim Ming Ling, Kaki Lima Chief Packing Officer.

Players on a kaki lima along Lebuh Pantai in George Town intently playing the board game. Photo: Kaki Lima

According to Goh, this interactive feature of the game came about when she realised after the workshop period that Kaki Lima lacked interaction between the players.

“We noticed that nobody was talking to each other throughout the game, and we realised that we didn’t want people to just play on their own, do their thing in town and not talk, because in George Town, there’s actually a great sense of community.

“I thought of what happens when you meet a friend: you say, ‘Hey, where are you going? Are you going to the kopitiam? Wanna walk there together?’

“So that’s when I introduced this game mechanism called the ‘ajak’ culture: inviting friends or ‘jio peng yu’ (in Hokkien) to come along with you, meet you somewhere or do something together, ” explains Goh.

“Once that mechanism was in place, it just felt like a better game, talking about not just accessibility of the walk space, but also bringing community together, ” she concludes


Travel writer and avid book collector Azhari Mahmood, aka Zari Malaysiana, is a man on a mission. He loves books, especially rare Malaysian books. He aims to grow a nationwide community that appreciates and understands the value of these old books.

“Serious collectors have always been around when it comes to this kind of books. But I think a lot of younger Malaysians are now waking up to the fact that the only way to dig for our lost histories is to look through old books and to discover things. It takes effort, but it’s worth it,” says Zari.

This weekend, Zari is putting together the “Book Street” corner, which he calls “a pocket event” in conjunction with Collector’s Pick Merdeka market at Amcorp Mall in Petaling Jaya from Aug 30 to Sept 1.

The three-day rare book fair, starting this Friday morning, is all about gathering an independent community of vintage book sellers, and the focus will be on a vast selection of collectible and out-of-print books, rare antique maps, prints, photographs, manuscripts and antiquities, some over 100 years old.

A majority of the vendors are specialists in British Malaya-era vintage books and rare South-East Asian publications. An array of Malaysian first edition books from the 1960s and 1970s will also be available alongside contemporary books, indie publications, comics and fanzines.

This weekend’s vendors include GMS Buku, Pelita Dhihin, Balai Buku Raya, Taman Pustaka, Rumah Klasik Kuantan, Padajiwa, Obscura Malaysia, Kedai Hitam Putih, Antique Depot Buku and ITBM (Institut Terjemahan Buku Malaysia).

“I just wanted to start something new with this ‘Book Street’ idea. Vintage markets, admittedly, can be overwhelming, so to have all the book vendors in a dedicated area is a good thing. There will be 17 vendors. Due to space constraints, we had to limit ourselves.

“Book lovers will find a fascinating treasure trove. Think of it as a trip to an exhibit or museum.  I’ve organised the Book Street in such a way that newcomers can explore the diversity of vintage books, while regulars will also have plenty to pick from,” says Zari, who will be manning his book stall called Malaysiana.

Zari does admit that rare book prices can be steep for casual collectors, but he has picked out a wide variety of vendors to ensure there will be enough affordable books and bargains to go around.

“At the last book event in Amcorp, a vendor sold a copy of the Malay Peninsula, a 1907 book by German photographer Charles J. Kleingrothe, for RM6,000. It was snapped up quickly by an ardent collector. It was a rare boxed portfolio book. That gives you an indication of the value of such books.

“But that’s not to say you cannot snap up a bargain if you’re on a budget. There will be plenty of books to choose from and you might get lucky with a gem or two,” says Zari.

The Book Street initiative is also a good opportunity to network, especially for an event driven by a community of vendors, collectors and newcomers.

Zari also reveals that more grassroots rare book fairs are being planned to coincide with Kuala Lumpur named as the World Book Capital for the year 2020 by Unesco.

“We believe in community spirit. The Book Street, we hope, is a start of something very exciting for book lovers at a grassroots level. Also, since KL is the World Book Capital next year, we better make reading a habit,” he concludes.