Trip brings home importance of heritage

PUBLISHED : Monday, 02 April, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 02 April, 2007, 12:00am

The old village houses on Tung Ping Chau may be crumbling and covered with moss. But for a group of students from Chinese International School (CIS), the deserted houses are a treasure trove of precious relics and memories.

One hundred and twenty students from CIS took part in a heritage preservation project. They conducted research on the rundown village houses on Tung Ping Chau.

Sixty went on a two-day trip to the remote island last month to observe the houses and see whether enough conservation work had been done.

Divided into groups of three, the young researchers walked around the island collecting information about the structure, age and state of repairs of the village houses. Most of the 390 deserted houses had become a pile of collapsed roofs and walls, but the students saw them as unique artefacts of enormous cultural and historical value.

'The houses are old and falling apart, but most of them have a rich history and a breathtaking view of the sea. They could be transformed into weekend resorts if they were renovated,' said Wan Hei-jun, a Year Nine student from the school.

The students learned a lot about heritage preservation from the project.

'I did a lot of research before the trip. I think the government has not done enough to preserve historical sites. Many important cultural relics are fading into oblivion,' said Natasha Filbert, also a Year Nine student.

'If [nothing is done immediately] to reverse the situation, we might lose a valuable part of our collective memory.'

To help preserve the village houses, the students will produce a brochure about their findings from the trip.

'The brochures will be put in a box at a dai pai dong on the island. By spreading our message to the visitors, we hope that more people will be aware of the importance of heritage preservation,' said David Brian, the organiser of the fieldtrip and head of humanities at the school.