Johor plans Street of Harmony & Culture

The Johor government plans to bring together relevant stakeholders to develop a tourism product dubbed the Street of Harmony and Culture in Johor Baru’s heritage quarter. 

Guest of Honour, Datuk Tee Siew Kiong [4th from Right,
Front Row] join representatives from the JB Tiong Hua
Association and drummers to beat the 24 Festive Drums
Johor Domestic Trade, Tourism and Consumerism Committee chairman Datuk Tee Siew Kiong said he plans to will chair a meeting with the mayor, Tourism Johor and various Non-Governmental Organisations to work in a concerted effort to create this Street of Harmony and Culture.

He said this meeting will likely occur when the project to upgrade Sungai Segget and beautify Jalan Wong Ah Fook is completed.

He said this after officiating the grand opening of the Drums Café here recently.

The development involves a range of culture and heritage attractions found in the network of roads linking Jalan Trus, Jalan Ungku Puan, Jalan Pahang, Jalan Dhoby and Jalan Tan Hiok Nee.

Ribbon-cutting Ceremony at official opening of Drums Cafe
The opening of Drums Café, designed in the theme of the 24 Festive Drums, a proudly JB-born art of drumming, augurs well because it embodies the preservation of a unique Johor tradition.

The café occupies a pre-war shop formerly used by the Hakka Association of Johor which enjoys two road frontages at Jalan Ibrahim and Jalan Tan Hiok Nee.

Tee said the state government supports entrepreneurs who are developing and creating their own brands which have the potential to go international.

“With the rapid development currently taking place in the state, especially in JB, any initiative to promote local culture and urban heritage through tourism is most welcome,” said Tee.

Co-founder of the 24 Festive Drums art of drumming,
Tan Chai Puan, presenting the original sketch made
during brainstorming sessions to create this
unique art of drumming back in 1988
“We fully support the initiative of the cafe owners which combines a trendy concept with a traditional musical instrument, in promoting the state’s heritage in a creative way,” he added.

Tee said such cafes in the city’s heritage quarter can become a popular tourism product which can be promoted to local and international tourists to enhance business activities and stimulate economic growth in the state.

He said the recent launch of direct flights between Senai International Airport and cities in China and Indonesia should also attract more visitors from these countries to experience the wide range of culture and heritage products in Johor.

He said Chinese visitors to Johor increased from 650,000 in 2014 to 797,000 in 2015 and Johor authorities target is to achieve some one million Chinese visitors this year.

Also present at the event were JB Tiong Hua Association chairman, Datuk Seri Tey Kim Chai, representatives of the five main dialect groups in Johor as well as co-founder of the 24 Festive Drums, Tan Chai Puan.

The café is decorated by 12 Chinese drums suspended from the ceiling, interesting artefacts and information about the creation of this art of drumming by founders, Tan Chai Puan and Tan Hooi Song in 1988.  There is also an art installation of the Chinese character for “drum” made with 1700 drumsticks.

Café owners, Lee Sheah Liang and Chong Hai Liang, said they were excited that JB now has a place where drummers from the world over may come to discover Johor’s heritage of the 24 Festive Drums.

A version of this was published in NST online on 1 July 2016

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