This five-month project involved three parallel creative sub-projects in Music, Dance, and Shadow Puppetry focused on the theme of intangible heritage. Three teams researched intangible heritage, the collected data was transformed into creative performances, which were played to community audiences in George Town, Penang in a large-scale festival.



Interpretation is based on archival records and memory recollection of participants.

Download the Archive Record Inventory (PDF) for: 

Heritage Heboh (Project Inventory) (PDF)
Heritage Heboh – Wayang Bayang-Bayang
Heritage Heboh – Gerak-Gerak Borak-Borak
Heritage Heboh – Muzik Bunyi-Bunyian


1.1 Programme Name

Heritage Heboh Programme, Arts-ED Penang, 2006-2013

1.2 Project Title

Heritage Heboh Street Festival, 2006

1.3 Context and Objective

Digi’s Amazing Malaysians was a corporate social responsibility programme initiated by DiGi in January 2005. It aimed to support the preservation of Malaysia’s heritage by identifying passionate individuals working towards preserving Malaysia’s heritage, and who were willing to share their knowledge and skills with young people. In each project, an ‘Amazing Malaysian’ was expected to work with some 50-100 children or youth. The projects were designed both to be both educational and sustainable; in order to create a lasting love for heritage among the younger generation and to contribute in a concrete, long-term way to its preservation. In 2006, Janet Pillai, founder of Arts ED, was selected as an ‘Amazing Malaysian’ in the state of Penang; in response to this award she created the Heritage Heboh Street Festival.

1.4 Project Description

The five-month project involved three parallel sub-projects which were conducted simultaneously with three groups of participants; Music (Muzik Bunyi-Bunyian), Dance (Gerak-gerak Borak-borak),

and Shadow Puppetry (Wayang Bayang-bayang). The project involved learning the respective art forms, mapping and researching intangible heritage as content, and working with artiste-facilitators to compose performances based on the data collected. Each sub-project culminated in street performances played to community audiences in a large-scale festival.

1.5 Source Material


1.6 Producing Organisation

Arts-ED and DiGi Amazing Malaysians (produced by Ayesha Harben and Associates)

1.7 Project Initiators

Arts-ED and Ayesha Harben and Associates

1.8 Creative Team

Creative Team:

Music: Prof Tan Sooi Beng, Aki Uehara, Hafizah Jaafar
Arts: David Yeo, Ho Sheau Fung, Yap Jing Ling
Dance: Liew Yong Sean, Eng Hee Ling, Katherine Chua

1.9 Participants

St. Joseph Home 4
SK Convent Light Street 1
SJK (C) Peng Hua 10 1
SRJK (C) Hun Bin 10-12 1
SK Island 11 2
SK Wellesley 11-12 7
SRJK (C) Kwong Hua 11-12 1
SK Hutchings 12 3
SMK Westland 12 1
SJK Shih Chung 12 2
Convent Pulau Tikus 12-13 2
SMK Hutchings 13-16 6
SMK St Xavier 13-18 3
SMJK Chung Ling 14-15 4
SMJK Phor Tay 14-18 6
SMK Bukit Mertajam 15 1
SMK Sri Mutiara 15-18 2
SMK Methodist Boys School 15-19 10
SMK Convent Green Lane 16 4
SMK Sg Ara 16 1
SMK St Georges 16-18 6

1.10 Events and Activities

Recruitment & Auditions
22 Feb – 3 Mar 2006 Recruitment Schools George Town
4 March 2006 Auditions ABN Amro George Town
10 Mar 2006 Introduction to the projects i) The Actor’s Studio,
iii) Cheah Kongsi
George Town i) Dance
ii) Music
iii) Visual Arts
11-16 Mar 2006 Visit to heritage sites

Introduction to each sub-project

i)The Actor’s Studio,
iii) Cheah Kongsi
George Town i) Dance
ii) Music
iii) Visual Arts
15 Mar 2006 Project Launch:

Workshop performance

SMK Convent Lebuh Light George Town
Skill Building  Classes in the Arts  & Research on Content
25 March- 13 May 2006 Creative Arts Classes i)The Actor’s Studio,
iii) Cheah Kongsi
George Town i) Dance
ii) Music
iii) Visual Arts
27 May-10 June 2006 Composition workshops i)The Actor’s Studio,
iii) Cheah Kongsi
George Town i) Dance
ii) Music
iii) Visual Arts
2-4 June 2006 Shadow Puppetry Workshop

Storyboard Workshop

Perpustakaan Balik Pulau


Balik Pulau

George Town

Workshops conducted by ‘Wandering Moon’ Troupe
Rehearsals and Performances
17 June- 2 July 2006 Rehearsals i)The Actor’s Studio,
iii) Cheah Kongsi
George Town i) Dance
ii) Music
iii) Visual Arts
8 July 2006 Preview i)The Actor’s Studio,
iii) Cheah Kongsi
George Town i) Dance
ii) Music
iii) Visual Arts
15 July


Final Performance of Heritage Heboh Street Festival i) Armenien Street
ii) Khoo Kongsi
iii) Pitt Street
George Town i) Dance
ii) Music
iii) Visual Arts
29 Oct-23 Nov 2006 Rehearsals for restaging of Heritage Heboh Street Festival ABN-AMRO, Dewan Sri Pinang, The Actor’s Studio A restaging of the festival was renamed Heritage Heboh Lagi
24 Nov 2006 Performances of Dance and Music Little India George Town
25 Nov 2006 Heritage Heboh Lagi Street Festival Cannon Street George Town

1.11 Promotional Material/Catalogue/Programme

Graphic designer Goh Hun Meng designed the promotional materials for the Heritage Heboh Street Festival. As an inner-city resident, Hun Meng had a very good idea of culturally appropriate design and language to use for the promotional materials. He selected a combination of comic drawings to attract younger audiences, and for older audiences, paired them with nostalgic poster design inspired by 1950s era posters from the Shaw Brothers’ entertainment centre New World Amusement Park. All promotional materials (flyers and posters) carried a caricature of Mr Love Lane, who would later become a mascot of all future Heritage Heboh projects.

Supporting Archival Materials

Heritage Heboh Street Festival Flyer (front)
Heritage Heboh Street Festival Flyer (back)

1.12 Final Script/Final Curriculum

Kisah Pulau Pinang story used for Muzik Bunyi-bunyian (LINK GIVEN IS BROKEN)

1.13 Multimedia Documentation

Music of Sound: Building Bridges Through The Performing Arts
a post-production DVD produced by Dr Tan Sooi Beng who led the music sub-project, Muzik Bunyi-Bunyian. This DVD shows the art-making process and the final performance presented at Khoo Kongsi on 15 July 2006, in George Town.

Shadow Puppet Project: Transforming Oral Stories into Performance
a post-production slideshow produced by Arts-ED, outlining the various activities undertaken in the visual arts sub-project, Wayang Bayang Bayang.

Gerak Gerak, Borak Borak
a post-production DVD produced by Arts-ED which tracks the making of the dance sub-project on the topic on street food culture. The DVD also documents the final dance presentation performed to a community audience, on the street in George Town on 15 July 2006.

Wayang Bayang Bayang
a post-production DVD produced by Arts-ED which tracks the making of the visual arts sub-project transforming a local folktale into a shadow puppet performance. The DVD also documents the final presentation performed on the street in George Town to a community audience, on 15 July 2006.

1.14 Previews and Reviews

“… an opportunity for the young to discover their roots and an opportunity to creatively express their connection with their environment through the arts disciplines of drama,
music and visual art.”
Heritage Heboh – An Alternative Educational Success Story.

“Though officials and corporate functionaries have tags, so do the participants’ parents, the street hawkers, the small business owners of Inner Georgetown; the community whose way of life was under young scrutiny is, to all intents and proposes, here, watching their traditions perpetuated in a successor generation.”
Zedeck Siew meanders through the streets of Penang and Witnesses an Amazing Malaysian at Work
Street Smart Heritage – 6th September 2006

Supporting Archival Materials

Caroline Marshall (2006, 15 July). Heritage Heboh – An Alternative Educational Success Story. Wacana Seni Journal of Arts Discourse. Jil./Vol.5.2006

Siew, Z. (2006). Street Smart Heritage.

1.15 Publications


1.16 Photographs

Soft copy of the photos are available in the hard disk of AEAM repository.

1.17 Final Report/Project Evaluation:

An impact study dated 30 May 2006, was carried out by researcher Clare Watson; and assessed the crucial areas of enablement (how learning occurs), skills development (what learning occurs), and outcome (impact of learning) on participants throughout the duration of the project.

Supporting Archival Materials

Watson. C., (13 June 2006) Heritage Heboh! Mid-Project Evaluation Results to 30 May 2006


Incorrect video URL

Synopsis of Story:
Digi’s Amazing Malaysian’s Madame “Heritage Heboh” of Penang Showcase is a live recording of the Heritage Heboh Street Festival which took place on 15th July 2006 in George Town. The DVD was produced by DIGI as a documentation of the event.

Supporting Archival Materials

Digi’s Amazing Malaysian’s Madame “Heritage Heboh” of Penang Showcase

Wayang Bayang-Bayang

Gerak-Gerak Borak-Borak

Muzik Bunyi-Bunyian


The Heritage Heboh Street Festival was a 5-month project, which consisted of 3 sub-projects in music, dance, and the visual arts, and was based on the theme of ‘intangible heritage’. Each group worked independently with their own programmer and team of artist-facilitators to devise their own respective performances.


Students aged 10-19 years were recruited from diverse ethnic and income groups. Students could choose to join any one of the three sub-projects; Music, Dance, or Shadow Puppetry. 68 students from a total of 20 schools auditioned for the project. 54 continued to the end of the project (23 in Music, 14 in Shadow Puppet, and 17 in Dance). An additional 20 students from a drama club and scout club volunteered during the festival for miscellaneous tasks.

Recruitment and Launch of the Project


The 5-month long project was split into 5 phases based on the Engaged Arts Methodology developed by Arts-ED;

i.            Introduction to the site
ii.            Skill Building Classes in the respective art forms
iii.            Research on Heritage Content
iv.            Composition
v.            Rehearsal & Performance

All 3 sub-projects began with a historical walk in the heritage site. They were briefed on the projects and received ‘taster’ sessions, after which they made a final choice to commit to one of the art mediums. Students were introduced to the different mediums by their facilitators via talks and videos. Within each group, students took on tasks in their area of talent. For example, within the visual arts group, students with strong linguistic capacities took on scripting and narration, while visual-orientated students carved the puppets, science-orientated students explored lighting, and students with musical capacities created the soundscape.

Within each sub-project, students were introduced to some form of tangible and intangible heritage through interactive tasks with the local community and environment. For example, all students in the visual arts group interviewed the community for local stories, then selected a folktale related to one of the local clan temples. Participants in this group were exposed to traditional shadow theatre or wayang kulit, as well as the accompanying instruments and puppets. Inspired by the traditional forms, students studied traditional decorative motifs as a prerequisite to designing the puppets for the local folktale.

Guest artists provided professional guidance to the students. For example, in the visual arts group, a wood carver and a puppet master introduced the students to various decorative elements, their symbolism, and the process of puppet-making. ‘Wondering Moon’, a puppet group from Thailand, was invited to teach the students how to create a comic storyboard and script the dialogue of the local folktale, as well as how to create simple puppets, and play with light and shadow.


The project culminated in the three student groups creating and performing three original works at a street festival in George Town, Penang on the 15th of July 2006.

Muzik Bunyi Bunyian
A Music project which transformed migration history stories into song and music, using traditional instruments and choral forms

Gerak Gerak Borak Borak
A Dance project based on the theme of street food culture, choreographing the vernacular movement of cooking, cleaning tables, serving, and eating into a contemporary dance vocabulary

Wayang Bayang Bayang
A Visual Arts project using shadow puppetry or traditional Wayang Kulit to dramatise a local folktale

Besides the performances by the students, there were additional activities during the day for children such as a craft fair, Hunting Heritage with Mr Love Lane, Traditional Games, and DIY T-shirt printing with traditional motifs. There was also a special guest performance at night by Yudi, a Chinese classical singer, for the older generation from the community. The student performances were located at different venues along one street, and the audience moved from one performance to the next. Performances were also screened live on large outdoor screens.

As part of the project, a small team consisting of a few students observed and documented the project over the 5-month period. Their output was a published catalogue consisting of information on the three creative sub-projects, the instructors, the art-making process, and feedback from participants.

Heritage Heboh Festival Catalogue

The success of the festival inspired Arts-ED to restage some of the performances again in inner-city George Town under the title of Heritage Heboh Lagi, held on the 24th and 25th of Nov 2006. The restaging provided an opportunity for audiences who missed the initial festival to view the students’ works.

Heritage Heboh Lagi Performances


Hasmizan Bin Abdul Hamid
Participant from Gerak-Gerak Borak Borak

“Through this project, I feel proud to be someone from this city. Initially I did not feel anything special about this place but now I can feel the impact; how this program has widened my knowledge about the place that I come from and introduced me to the Street of Harmony. From the time of (participation) in the program, I have discovered that Penang has its own unique character that cannot be found in anywhere else.”

Laura Yee
Participant from Muzik Bunyi-Bunyian

“I am particularly grateful for my exposure to gamelan and wayang kulit, though I was too young to fully understand its cultural significance at the time. Studying these musical cultures and religions now, I feel very blessed for these early memories, and deeply appreciate the opportunities I was given growing up in a culturally diverse city such as Penang.
Obviously, the program has shaped me in very concrete ways, whether directly or not. For one, I’m studying a major that is in direct relation to Heritage Heboh’s purpose. The workshop was one of the earliest influences on my love for music and culture, so for that I am very thankful.
The skills I obtained from the projects are used in many ways. Though I have moved away from the performance aspect of music, and focussed more on organizational and management roles, music performance was the beginning of my love for music and culture. It was that wish to keep music and culture in my life in some shape or form that has driven me to the place I am now, the major I am studying, and the organizations I’m a part of.”

 Yee Sue Ki
Participant from Gerak-gerak Borak-borak

“It was truly a collaborative process among the facilitators and all participants. I remember that even though at that time I was the youngest kid with practically zero experience in creating, each and every one of us were really involved in the creative process: from researching through field trips, brainstorming for ideas, illustrating and mind-mapping our ideas, experimenting with different tasks. Our (or my) lack of experience was not a problem as we had facilitators who truly guided us without spoon-feeding us, by giving us specific tasks and exercises to inspire and guide our process, as well as giving constructive feedback and suggestions. Also, we were often split into smaller groups, sometimes even in twos and threes, with different people each time in order to really get a chance to work with everyone, and smaller groups really helped in ensuring that everyone gets to contribute something.”