Significance of Heritage Sites in Mersing and Conservation Methods Kameelia Noor Haja Mohideen (AB100008) Department of Landscape Architecture, Faculty of Built Environment, University Technology Malaysia. Abstract Heritage conservation aligns with the context of protecting and supervising the naturalness and cultural attributions of a particular place. District of Mersing is very much defined for its coastal values and the islands close to it.
This scene is ideal for activities related to tourism and small medium industries which includes the attraction and increment of tourists or visitors to the land, and the daily activities of the locals respectively. This article aims at identifying the act of conservation of heritage sites in Mersing and the deficiency behind the subject matter. Evidences via landscape visual assessment indicates that the coastal areas are very much affected with waste disposal but at the same time the effort to maintain the activities at this particular area progresses in the hands of higher authorities.
Keywords: heritage, conservation methods, landscape visual assessment 1. 0 Introduction Heritage is defined as valued objects and qualities such as historic buildings and cultural traditions that have been passed down from previous generations (Oxford Dictionary, 7th edition). It is important to acknowledge and be in line with the heritage values of surrounding places as it integrates with the society, fulfilling better understanding on the identity of the cultural and natural value of the site.
This eventually leads to decision making that involves conservation method as understanding of the importance are being sieved. In Mersing, the heritage sites are widely dispersed creating varieties of cultural identity that differs accordingly to the location. For an instance, the identity portrayed in coastal area of Mersing may differ to that of rural area surrounded with agricultural and forestry activities.
The significant heritage sites in Mersing observe the stand of the surrounding as the influential factor of the differences in cultural identity along the coastal area and as that on rural areas (Chapter 5 Cultural and Historical Resources, Sustainable Development of Heritage Landscape, Mersing District, Johor;). This research involves the following features: 1. ) to identify the conditions of heritage sites in Mersing. 2. ) To observe the ongoing issues affecting the cultural and natural traits in Mersing. 3. To investigate the conservation methods carried out at heritage sites of Mersing.
Background of Study Mersing is identified and believed to contain rich cultural and natural value but somehow receives less acknowledgement, concern and awareness on this context from the community itself (Chapter 6 Socio demographic and economic – Community Awareness, page 121, Sustainable Development of Heritage Landscape, Mersing District, Johor). Apart from that, many latest projects tend to focus on the area of Mersing that may bring disruptions to the stated identity. ’
Most small infrastructure development projects are progressively eroding the wilderness values of natural heritage sites across the continent and others that impact cultural heritage’’ (Road and Infrastructure Development, Sites in Danfer, African World Heritage Sites, Supporting Conservation and Development of Africa’s UNESCO Designated World Heritage Sites). Thus, the study is conducted with the purpose of identifying the conservation of heritage sites in Mersing in the context of culture and nature, whether or not the ongoing issues at the sites are in favor or monitored to align with the conservation methods.
With this study, better conservation methods in protecting the cultural and natural heritage of Mersing could be imposed. After all, conserving the heritage of the district would help in enhancing the economic status and stability. Statement of Problem The embodiment of Mersing takes up a large percentage of sites being dominated diminishing the context of cultural and natural quality of the land. Nevertheless, this factor’s dependency focuses on areas that are highly active in the context of small medium industry production and tourism.
In terms of conservation on cultural heritage of Mersing, this includes the context of designation of building that contributes to part and parcel of tourism and appreciation towards the culture in hands. Since Mersing is made up of varieties of Malay ethics, thus this contributes to varieties of traditional architecture building style. Apart from that, the daily activities of the locals are deeply associated as their culture too.
This can be seen in the production of fisheries being industrialized as fish crackers and distributed wholly throughout Mersing, for its people and tourists (Local Authority – Pejabat Daerah Mersing, 2013), However, there are only remnants of buildings with traditional architectural style and the ones left to manage the production of fish crackers are within the ages of thirties and above, in which clearly indicates that the future generations are focused in different subject matter of the economics (Sustainable Development of Heritage Landscape, Mersing District, Johor; Chapter 6 – SocioEconomic, 2013).
The conservation on natural heritage of Mersing, lacks deeply in the context of waste management. Many areas suffer negligence in handling waster materials that covers mostly along significant coastal areas (Sustainable Development of Heritage Landscape, Mersing District, Johor; Chapter 3 – Landscape Visual Assessment, 2013). Nevertheless, it eventually affects the naturalness of the environment that leads to deficiency in the economic matter especially in tourism sector.
Apart from that, it is found that there are also many future proposals and ongoing construction developments along coastal areas and within forest areas (Rancangan Tempatan Daerah Mersing 2018-Strategi Pembangunan). The development focuses on improvising networking system and constructing more tourism spot. According to the local authority of Mersin district, any development to take place undergoes thorough studies on its effects upon the environment. The concern is to conserve surrounding flora and fauna despite the development taking place.
Aim and Objectives Study is aim to identify the significance of heritage sites in Mersing and methods of conservation of the stated context. To address the aim is as the following objectives: i. To identify the conditions of heritage sites in Mersing and influential factors with regards to this context. ii. To observe the ongoing issues affecting the cultural and natural traits in Mersing. iii. To investigate the conservation methods carried out at heritage sites of Mersing.
Scope of Study Mersing is 136 kilometer north eats of the capital state, Johor Bahru. Mersing town is particularly significant for a number of reasons: it is one of only two major towns situated in the eastern half of Johor state (the other being Kota Tinggi), it lies on the main trunk road that connects southern as well as eastern Johor with the east coast of Pahang state including Pahang’s capital Kuantan (part of Federal Route III), and it is the main departure point for ferries to the nearby offshore islands such as Pulau Tioman.
Research Methodology The research methodology corresponds to listed objectives. The main tools that will be used are questionnaire and literature review. Nevertheless, the study will be conducted in several phases to achieve in fulfill the listed objectives. Phase 1 (correspond of Objective 1) Step 1 Literature Review. This step is conducting review analysis to identify the condition of heritage sites in Mersing and it’s influential factors. Phase 2(correspond of Objective 2) Step 2 Literature Review.
This step is conducting review analysis to identify the ongoing issues that affects the cultural and natural traits in Mersing Phase 3(correspond of Objective 3) Step 3 Questionnaire This step is to evaluate the review analysis on the condition of heritage sites in Mersing and the influential factors with regards to that. It is also to identify the ongoing issues affecting cultural and natural traits in Mersing from the view and point of the community; all this with regards to provide recommendations of betterment, enhancement or conservation techniques or ideas in overcoming stated issues.
Step 4 Survey Survey in the form of interview with higher and local authorities of Mersing in conserving/ enhancing, (experiencing) the cultural identity, gaining more information on the heritage value, validate influential factors and indicators to the significance of heritage sites in Mersing. Step 5 Professional/User Outcomes The step is the evaluation of professional validation session and questionnaire outcomes for the significance of heritage sites in Mersing along with suggestions and ideas behind it. Factor analysis is used to identify the influential factors upon the significance of heritage sites in Mersing.