Khamis, 10 Oktober 2013
Posted: 06 Oct 2013 11:17 PM PDT
GEORGE TOWN: BALIK Pulau, the southwestern tip of the island, will soon have its very own Hakka Village.
Expected to cost some RM20 million, the new tourist attraction will sit on a 8.1ha piece of land at Kuala Sungai Pinang.
According to the deputy president of the Federation of Hakka Association of Malaysia Datuk Dr Cheah See Kian, they hope to break ground by year-end.
"This month, we will submit the layout and later, the building plan, to the Penang Island Municipal Council for approval.
"We hope that within three years, the entire village can be completed," he said on the sidelines of the Penang Hakka Association's 74th anniversary dinner held at the Han Chiang High School hall here recently.
While construction has not taken place, he announced that there will be a modern hotel-standard lodge designed according to the traditional earth building in China.
"The round building will house the Balik Pulau Cultural Museum and art gallery. The exhibits will be presented in three languages," he said.
Cheah, who is also the village committee's chief planner, said that they were collaborating with one of the Taiwanese universities' College of Hakka Studies to establish a Hakka cultural base as a resource centre for the academicians.
Other notable features of the village include a hawker centre selling local delicacies and souvenirs, Cheah said.
"We have also preserved a durian orchard with nutmeg, clove and rubber plantations to showcase the natural heritage of Balik Pulau.
"We hope the tourists can enjoy the true value of Balik Pulau's ecology and culture," he said, stating the potential for cultural and heritage tourism in Balik Pulau, aside from eco-tourism.
Cheah said he had invited the Taiwanese Hakka scholars to conduct fieldwork and research in Balik Pulau to identify the composition and ratio of the Hakka population there.
"In the end, we concluded that Balik Pulau is indeed a settlement place of the early Hakka clan," he said.
"Hakka dialect was widely used to such an extent that the Catholic church in Balik Pulau used it to recite Bible verses in its early days.
"This (village) will be a significant landmark for the Hakka on the world map.
"The Hakka village will be an ideal leisure and cultural spot, and truly a pride of the Hakka people."
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