Chew Jetty in Malaylsia’s George Town attracts tourists by the boatload. Historic homes are now commercial stalls branded with neon signs; one-time fishermen peddle T-shirts, magnets and postcards. Tour buses deposit vacationers from early in the morning until well after sunset.
The daily intrusion has clearly taken a toll: windows are boarded, “no photo” signs are pervasive, and tenants quickly vanish at the sight of a foreign face.
“I would like to remind people that we are not monkeys, and this is not a zoo,” says Lee Kah Lei, who runs a souvenir stall outside her home on the Chew Jetty.
Although Kah Lei notes that “the more people who come here, the more the shopkeepers sell”, she wishes camera-wielding tourists were respectful of her privacy – and especially not duck into her home uninvited.
This is an excerpt from an article first published by The Guardian. Read the original article here: ‘Unescocide’: does world heritage status do cities more harm than good?