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Penang Youth Groups Clean Vandalised 80YO World War II Artefacts

Penang Youth Groups Clean Vandalised 80YO World War II Artefacts

Youth groups Generasi Penang and Penggerak Komuniti Muda (PEKA) volunteered to clean up vandalised pillbox fort in Pantai Permatang Damar.

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Vandalism is not cool. Especially if you do it to a nation’s artefact. This was the sad case of various post World War II forts in Penang.

Recently, a group of youth volunteers in Penang helped to clean the area of the 80-year-old fort and revitalize the fort’s appearance itself. The initiative started from a program called “Sayangi Warisan Kita” (Love Our Heritage) initiated by a joint effort between two Penang youth groups, Generasi Penang and Penggerak Komuniti Muda (PEKA).

Around 30 youths passionate about preserving history volunteered to clean a part of the beach and restore the vandalised ‘pillbox’ from 8 am to 12 pm. They picked up rubbish along the beach that filled up 10 trash bags!

10 plastic bags filled with trash along the beach (left). Volunteers working hard to restore the fort to its former glory (right).
(Credit: @Joshuawsz / Twitter)

To restore the appearance of the bunker, they bought around 11 graffiti removers that they could find in hardware stores and online shops and diligently removed the illegal visuals. They also had to bring their own water as there was no source of clean water near them.

Their efforts did reveal astonishing results as most of the aimless scribblings on the walls of the pillbox did vanish. They must’ve done some real hardcore scrubbing all morning.

Before (left) and after (right).
(Credit: @Joshuawsz / Twitter)

While there are a few effects from spray-painted graffiti left due to the shortage of graffiti removers, they still managed to remove most offensive words and useless symbols.

Before (left) and after (right).
(Credit: @Joshuawsz / Twitter)

Military Base Turned Vandalism Hotspot

These small bunkers are called ‘pillboxes‘. It’s sort of a fort or a concrete blockhouse, normally with loopholes where the armies can use to fire weapons. The name pillbox is said to be associated with the shape of the old box used to carry medicinal pills, which could be square, oblong, polygonal or round.

There are an estimated 20 pillbox forts on the shores, hills and road junctions in Penang built to serve the British during the Japanese raid on Tanah Melayu in World War II, long ago. They were used as military defence posts that could fit around 12 soldiers, according to Berita Harian Online.

Some of the views of the initially vandalised pillbox near Permatang Damar Laut beach.
(Credit: budakmatang3780)

What’s sad about it is that, now that they’re abandoned, they’re being misused by vandals and drug addicts for corrupt activities, and some even end up as trash dump sites!

However, a silver lining about this is that there are still people who care and put a lot of effort into reviving the environment of the fort.

The volunteers wish that the public will always be vigilant about the effects of vandalism and stop it from destroying precious historical artefacts like this one. They also urge the public to be more appreciative as the historical structure is part of the state’s history and could be a good spot for tourism.

READ MORE: Get Your Spook On In Penang With These Eerie Dark Tourism Spots

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