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Old August 7th, 2006, 11:51 AM   #1
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W KUALA LUMPUR HOTEL & THE RESIDENCES BY TROPICANA | Kuala Lumpur ( KLCC - Jalan Ampang ) | S.O.M. | 55 fl | 232m | U/C

Do we want to save this house?



DRIVE along Jalan Ampang in Kuala Lumpur and you’re bound to notice the magnificent house standing forlornly back from the bustling road. The Bok House is a grand testament to the city’s architectural and social history. This single building encapsulates the hopes and loss of our built heritage, standing as it does with its structure intact, yet facing impending demolition.

In June, a Development Order for its site was filed with the Kuala Lumpur City Hall. Badan Warisan (the Heritage of Malaysia Trust) noted that the proposed development would include the razing of Bok House and the building of a 60-storey building.

On June 12, Badan Warisan nominated the Bok House for classification as important to national heritage, as allowed under the National Heritage Act 2005. They see this nomination as a test of the new Act, which was passed in March.

The non-governmental organisation deems the house one of the best examples of classical European architecture adapted to Malaysia’s tropical climate while retaining the principles of its Palladian villa inspiration.








The Bok House in an old photo (left) provided by the Architects Institute of Malaysia and as it is now (right): sadly diminished.







While it remains a Western building, much of the Bok House draws its concepts from Malay building traditions. The large verandas and anjung, or porte-cochere, give it a feeling of being built on stilts. More importantly, it uses the concept of rumah ibu and rumah dapur (literally, mother house and kitchen house), where the front building was the formal entertainment area while the adjoining smaller building was the less formal family area.

The Bok House was built by self-made millionaire Chua Cheng Bok, founder of the Cycle & Carriage Company. He commissioned Singapore-based architectural firm Swan & Maclaren, one of the best in the region then, to build the house in 1926. And there is the oft-told tale of why Bok did this: to impress the father of a woman he wanted to marry!

The building housed the Yokohama Specie Bank during World War II and was later a boarding house. Its heyday was during the 1960s and early 1970s when it was the grandly named Le Coq D’Or Restaurant. Since the restaurant closed in 2001, Badan Warisan noted that the structure has deteriorated badly and has suffered a lot of vandalism.

Badan Warisan executive director Elizabeth Cardoza says, “The Bok House has so much cultural significance for our heritage. It has high architectural, social and symbolic values. It is one of the last remaining buildings of its kind in Malaysia and has been well documented through the years.

“The question is, does KL want it or not?”
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Old August 7th, 2006, 11:56 AM   #2
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The battle for survival



Yvonne Yoong


Fate, is seems, is dealing a cruel blow to one of Kuala Lumpur’s grandest mansions, which is holding on to the legacy of its past by the barest thread of its existence.

The object in question is none other than Bok House, in the heart of the city’s bustling Golden Triangle just a stone’s throw from the Petronas Twin Towers. And the issue is nothing less than its total demolition – in favour of a proposed 60-storey highrise mixed development.

How strange this must all seem to the old dame, whose courts once boasted the company of the crème de la crème of society.

If her walls could tell tales, they would perhaps whisper memories of enchanted evenings and velvet nights bathed in the moonglow of fine company within their opulent embrace. Like a diamond with many facets, the house was the epitome of elegance and fine living.

The language of aesthetics was one she was well acquainted with.

Nothing but the finest marble imported from Italy would do for her floors and verandahs, while marble statues, worth a reported US$35,000 then graced the internal framework of the mansion.

Fate was in her favour then, thanks to an owner fuelled with riches due to the boom in the tin and rubber industries. The late Chua Cheng Bok never doubted for a moment that his house would outshine every other mansion on the street, and every house in the city. The Bok House, after all, was conceived out of a labour of hard work. And, in many ways, a labour of love.

Chua, it has been told, had set his heart on marrying a rich man’s daughter but was deemed unworthy because of his humble origins.

He then set out to either impress or spite the girl’s father by building a symbol of his love across the road from the man’s house at 121, Jalan Ampang. However, it is dubious whether he ever got her hand in marriage.

Beyond bricks and mortar Fortune was kind to Chua, and saw to it that his years of toil and determination was rewarded with a wealth that could allow him to build a mansion the likes of which had never been seen in Kuala Lumpur in then Malaya.

Rising from the ranks through sweat and hard work, Chua’s early start as a poor migrant slaving away in a spice shop by day and mending bicycles and carriages at the Red Light Corner in Ampang by night eventually led him to establishing the Cycle & Carriage company in Singapore in 1899 with his brother. By the 1900s, Chua was in the league of Malaya’s other influential Chinese towkays then, and helped to shape Kuala Lumpur by building many properties, including the Coliseum café and Coliseum cinema along Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman.

In Ipoh, Perak, where his Cycle & Carriage outlet (the main dealer for the country’s Mercedes-Benz marque) planted its Malaysian roots in 1906, he built the Chua Cheng Bok Building on Jalan Chua Cheng Bok.

In 1926, Chua put his money where his heart was and engaged the expertise of Swan & Maclaren of Singapore to build Bok House.

Completed in 1929, it lived up to its owner’s expectation of a mansion that showcased a neo-classical Greek style – considered the “epitome of civilised society” – and was adapted to suit the tropical weather with its generous verandahs and balconies.

Patterned after a Palladian villa, Greek columns and architectural classical elements complete with imitation classical statues reigned supreme in its front hall.

Inside, there was a mixture of East and West influences with European art and stained glass displayed alongside Chinese mother-of-pearl furniture and Peranakan tiles. No cost was spared, no detail too trivial to consider.

In 1958, Bok House was converted into a fine dining French restaurant, Le Coq d’Or. Interestingly, Chua and his family preferred to live in the rear portion of the mansion for over 20 years – a portion that was sadly demolished in 1999 with the approval of the authorities.

Once gone, forever lost Because of Bok House’s cultural and social significance and its “high level of authenticity with very significant architecture”, Badan Warisan Malaysia (The Heritage of Malaysia Trust), is understandably concerned about her fate. Its president Tan Sri Dr Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid recently said the house could be demolished soon as an application to develop the site has been made to Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur (DBKL).

“If such an act is permitted, it would be an ignominy and constitute an act as infamous as the demolition of the Eastern Hotel in KL and the Metropole Hotel in Penang,” he said.

His protest was supported by Pertubuhan Akitek Malaysia (PAM) president Dr Tan Loke Mun, who expressed hope that Bok House will “be listed in the National Heritage Register to protect it from further deterioration and imminent destruction”.

He also appealed for it to be gazetted as a National Heritage Building under the National Heritage Act 2005.

“If Bok House is demolished, KL would lose another building of significant architectural interest and soon, (the city would have) no architectural history left,” Tan pointed out.

A check by NST-Property with DBKL confirmed that an application has been made for a 60-storey mixed development and it is awaiting feedback from the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage.

Meanwhile, a recent New Straits Times report quoted Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim as saying that under the National Heritage Act 2005, a listing of heritage items and sites will be created. The report also said a Department of National Heritage has been set up and a commissioner appointed. A Heritage Council will also be formed with plans for awareness campaigns to be launched.

The Act, introduced with the aim of maintaining and safeguarding the nation’s treasures, will reportedly see a heavy penalty meted out on offenders infringing it.

Rais was also quoted as saying that the Government “can give grants to the owners to maintain or promote their premises for posterity”.

However, while it is understood that there is “no limit to the grant, and each case will be determined on merit”, Rais did mention the “need to be practical”.

“Even if a building qualifies as a heritage item, we may not be able to register it if the owners do not agree. We would not like to force the matter.

“For example, the owners of the Le Coq d’Or building on Jalan Ampang may want to do something that will improve the value of the building. The commissioner will have to be very practical then,” he was quoted as saying. Which leaves us to wait with bated breath the final outcome of Bok House. It is interesting to note that the late Chua had specified in his Will that that the mansion must remain in the family for four generations – and must not be sold until the year 2025. One report even states that thereafter, it should be turned into a free school.

Will it survive? Only time will tell.











Two sides of the same coin In determining the fate of Bok House where the outcry from the public is to save the mansion, what is the onus on the owners of the mansion? The business of ringgit making sense is oftentimes fraught with difficult decisions: After all, upkeep of the premises can be a costly affair. In the face of inconvenient maintenance and the battle of surging costs, if put in the shoes of the trustees including Chua Chwee Ng, Chua Wye Man and Chua Yong Man, are there any other options? A check with property consultancy Knight Frank Ooi & Zaharin Sdn Bhd director Sarkunan Subramaniam reveals that land along this stretch of Jalan Ampang in Kuala Lumpur can range from RM800psf to RM1,000psf.

“Bok House is special and part of a grand history that ties us back to our past when KL was just a small tin mining town,” said Badan Warisan Malaysia (BWM) president Tan Sri Dr Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid.

However, acknowledging that the issue of conservation is not an easy balance, whereby it can be hard to persuade someone not to sell or develop his or her property on the basis of it being valuable to the nation, he nevertheless believes in the potential adaptive re-use of this former residence as has been the case with many heritage buildings all over the world.

A former Pertubuhan Akitek Malaysia (PAM) president and BWM council member Jimmy Lim said that in order not to disadvantage the owners, Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur (DBKL) could transfer the land’s development rights to another property. Already being practiced in other countries, he believes this is a practical solution.

This will perhaps go a long way in urging public and private owners to “conserve and preserve their historic buildings and environments” while promoting, as Ahmad Sarji put it, “their sympathetic adaptation to new uses, so as to ensure their future viability and relevance”.

This proposal to transfer development rights was mooted by BWM some years ago, but unfortunately, no action was taken by the Government.

Hopefully though, on the wings of a new awareness, it will find its way into the National Heritage Act.

This is in keeping with the belief that the built environment is a reflection of national identity and thus, should be preserved for the future. As Lim said: “As long as it’s on Malaysian soil, it’s our asset, it’s our national treasure.

“It’s the same as us having a museum, a Malaysian heritage or Malaysian estates. They all make up Malaysia’s national treasures.”

Through the years
* In 1942, during World War II, the Japanese requisitioned Bok House.

It was occupied by the Yokohama Specie Bank.

* After the war, the British forces used the mansion to house its air force women. It was subsequently returned to the family, and thereafter, a businessman turned Bok House into a fine hostelry.

* In 1958, Kuala Lumpur’s premier nightclub and restaurant, called Le Coq d’Or (or The Golden Cockrel) located at the front portion of the mansion opened its doors. The Chua family continued to occupy the house in the rear quarters that was a modest house on its own.

* From the 1960s till the early 1970s – its heydays – Le Coq d’Or was considered the place for fine dining in KL and found its way in many guidebooks and notable architectural publications.

* In 1982, Bok House was acknowledged as a heritage building in the Kuala Lumpur (Draft) Structure Plan. * In the early to mid 1980s, Bok House was placed in the list of Grade 1 buildings on the “Senarai Bangunan Yang Dicadangkan Untuk Diwartakan Di Wilayah Persekutuan” produced by Jabatan Muzium & Antikuiti. (As recently as 2004, it is still believed to be on this list) * In 1999, the rear quarters was demolished to widespread public outcry and protest. Till today, the back portion of the lot has yet to be developed.

* In 2001, Le Coq d’Or, renowned for its French cuisine, was closed after 43 years in operation. It was subsequently stripped of its furniture, fixtures, doors and windows.

* Badan Warisan Malaysia (BWM) has noted that the physical condition of the building has today deteriorated badly. Many of its fittings and fixtures are believed to have been removed and the original floors, windows and doors have been badly vandalised.

* On March 1, 2006, the National Heritage Act 2005 came into force.

* In a press statement released last month, BWM proposed that Bok House be listed in the National Heritage Register to protect it from further deterioration and imminent destruction. Bok House meets at least five of the criteria for declaration as a National Heritage.
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Old August 7th, 2006, 12:01 PM   #3
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Images of KL : The foyer of Bok House (previously Le Coq d'Or). This is probably one of last times sunlight fell inside this house. It is now sealed and awaiting an uncertain fate


A picture by Azrul Kevin Abdullah

http://photo.box.sk/about.php3?id=47
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Old August 7th, 2006, 12:05 PM   #4
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From BADAN WARISAN MALAYSIA


Message from the President
12 June 2006


PRESS STATEMENT


Badan Warisan Malaysia is concerned that “Bok House” may be due for demolition and that an application for a Development Order has been made to Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur. We have heard informally that the proposed development of the site involves the building of a multi-storey (over 60 storeys) building and includes the demolition of Bok House. If such an act were to be permitted, it would be an ignominy and constitute an act as infamous as the demolitions of the Eastern Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, and the Metropole Hotel in Penang.


2. The Bok House (better known as Le Coq D’Or), is situated on 121, Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur. It was designed by Swan & Maclaren, built in 1926 and completed in 1929, for Chua Cheng Bok, who is famed as the founder of Cycle and Carriage.

3. There is a beautifully romantic legend attached to its building where Cheng Bok wanted to marry the daughter of a rich man who lived on Ampang Road. As her father did not consider him good enough because of his lowly origins, to impress, or perhaps to spite him, Cheng Bok built an even grander house opposite. One story goes that the father relented, and Cheng Bok got his bride. Others say she married someone else.

4. However, it is clear that Chua Cheng Bok and his family lived in this house. In 1942, during WW2, Bok House was occupied by the Yokohama Specie Bank. After the war it was used for some time as a boarding house. Even after the main house was used as a restaurant, the Chua family continued to occupy the house in the rear quarters (this was actually a modest house on its own), until this was demolished in 1999 to widespread public protest. Till today, the rear section of the lot has yet to be developed.

5. Le Coq D'Or was opened in 1958 and operated for 43 years till it was closed in 2001. In its heyday in the 1960s and early 1970s, it was the main venue for fine dining in Kuala Lumpur. It continued to be found in all manner of guidebooks to Kuala Lumpur not only for its food and ambiance, but also for its architectural splendour and style; it was a very sad day when the restaurant closed.

6. Bok House is possibly one of the handful remaining grand Chinese mansions left in Kuala Lumpur, and the only one on Jalan Ampang, which retains a high level of authenticity with very significant architectural, cultural, social and historical heritage values.

7. After the closure in 2001 of Le Coq D’Or, Badan Warisan Malaysia has noted that the physical condition of the building has deteriorated badly in the intervening four to five years. We believe many of the fittings and fixtures have been removed and the original floors, windows and doors have been badly vandalized.

8. The architectural and cultural significance of Bok House has been highlighted in architectural books including the Guide to Kuala Lumpur's Notable Buildings[1] with a Foreword by the then Datuk Bandar YBhg Tan Sri Yaacob bin Abdul Latiff, in the Encyclopedia of Malaysia Volume 5, Architecture[2], in Ken Yeang's The Architecture of Malaysia[3], as well as in 100 Years of Kuala Lumpur Architecture 1890-1990[4], and Album 100 Tahun KL Menjadi Penguasa Tempatan[5], both of which were produced by Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur in conjunction with the centenary celebrations of DBKL as the local authority of Kuala Lumpur.

9. Architecturally, the mansion is unique and "demonstrates the adaptation of Renaissance planning to the climatic demands of the tropical climate through its arrangements of balconies and verandahs."[6]

10. Bok House has been feted in Kuala Lumpur A Sketchbook[7] which has sold thousands of volumes since publication in 1998.

11. John Gullick writes in A History of Kuala Lumpur, "...whose front hall, behind its pillared colonade, was lined with imitation classical statues on rotating pedestals. It was built purely for show - the owner lived in a more modest house at the back."[8]

12. In Malaysian Architectural Heritage Survey: A Handbook – we learn that Chua Cheng Bok commissioned the design of the house “in the style of the civic buildings that he saw on a visit to England... the dominant feature of the residence... the subtle curves on the portico, ornateness of the gate and grand central stairs reflects a Baroque influence. This house is one of the examples of the more purely European-style homes built in the early 1890s in KL. The symmetry of the building, the use of the colossal orders, the particular shaped balusters, the doubling of columns at the corners, and the excessive use of the dentils and the brackets at the architrave reflects Renaissance planning adapted to the tropical climate.... Of particular interest is an eclectic mix of classical orders in the Bok house with Tuscan shafts and Ionic capitals and architraves."[9]

13. As far back as 1982, in the Kuala Lumpur (Draft) Structure Plan, Bok House was acknowledged as a heritage building[10]. It has also been on the list of Grade 1 buildings on the Senarai Bangunan Yang Dicadangkan Untuk Diwartakan Di Wilayah Persekutuan produced by Jabatan Muzium & Antikuiti since the early to mid 1980s. As far as we are aware, it has remained on this list since, even as recently as 2004. Scholars of architectural heritage in Malaysia have continually highlighted this building as a landmark. For example, Dr Ghafar Ahmad in the publication of his thesis, British Colonial Architecture of Malaysia1800 - 1930[11] as well as Pertubuhan Arkitek Malaysia’s major exhibition and publication, 80 Years of Architecture in Malaysia[12] highlight this building as a major monument.

14. I had earlier written to the Government in April 2001, highlighting at that time the endangered status of the building. This issue was also highlighted in the national press, stressing the importance of this building to the story of Malaysia’s built heritage.

15. The National Heritage Act 2005 which has recently come into force on 1 March 2006, states clearly in Clause 68[13] “Any person may nominate to the Minister in the prescribed form any natural heritage, tangible or intangible cultural heritage… to be declared as a National Heritage.”

16. Badan Warisan Malaysia therefore proposes that Bok House be listed in the National Heritage Register to protect it from further deterioration and imminent destruction. It is clear from the above, that Bok House meets at least five of the criteria for declaration as a National Heritage under Clause 67 (2) (a), (b), (c), (d), (f) and (h) of the Act.[14]

17. It is also worth noting that Chua Cheng Bok had a clause in his will that his properties may not be sold for four generations, which extends through to the year 2025.[15]







YBhg Tan Sri Dato' Seri (Dr) Ahmad Sarji bin Abdul Hamid.

President
Badan Warisan Malaysia


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[1] Guide to Kuala Lumpur’s Notable Buildings, Hisham Albakri (Editor), 1976
[2] The Encyclopedia of Malaysia, Volume 5 Architecture, Chen Voon Fee (Editor), Archipelago Press, 1998
[3] Ken Yeang, The Architecture of Malaysia, Pepin Press, 1992, p. 160
[4] 1890-1990: 100 Years of Kuala Lumpur Architecture, Pertubuhan Arkitek Malaysia, 1990, p. 44
[5] Khoo Kay Kim, Album 100 Tahun KL Menjadi Penguasa Tempatan, Penerbitan Puteries, 1990,
[6] Guide to Kuala Lumpur’s Notable Buildings, Hisham Albakri (Editor), 1976, p. 51
[7] Chen Voon Fee, Kuala Lumpur A Sketchbook, Archipelago Press, 1998, p.76
[8] JM Gullick, A History of Kuala Lumpur1856-1939, MBRAS Monograph No 29, 2000, p. 171
[9] Malaysian Architectural Heritage Survey: A Handbook, Badan Warisan Malaysia, 1990, p. 86
[10] Kuala Lumpur Draft Structure Plan, Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur, 1982, p. 167
[11] A Ghafar Ahmad, British Colonial Architecture of Malaysia 1800 – 1930, Museums Association of Malaysia, 1997
[12] 80 Years of Architecture, Eds. Ngiom and Lillian Tay, Pertubuhan Arkitek Malaysia, 2000
[13] National Heritage Bill 2005, Clause 68, page 46
[14] ibid, Clause 67 (2), p. 45
[15] Lee Kam Hing, Chow Mun Seong, Biographical Dictionary of the Chinese in Malaysia, Pelanduk Publications pp 34-35
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Old August 7th, 2006, 12:31 PM   #5
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Here's a picture taken by me in 2003

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Old August 7th, 2006, 05:27 PM   #6
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This building has to preserved and brought back to its grand Le Coq D’Or days. They can build their 60-storey building somewhere else; it's not as if there's absolutely no land around to build skyscrapers. Sze, is there any ongoing campaign to save it from being bulldozed?

The articles you posted mention about an "Eastern Hotel" in KL that was demolished... I think that hotel was where capsquare stands now.
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Old August 7th, 2006, 07:09 PM   #7
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Yep the 60 storey should be built somewhere else! And Bok house should be made a happening place. It could emulate indo-chi something bar at clarke quay in sg. How bout the smaller colonial bungalow behind BSN? Its empty too.
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Old August 8th, 2006, 04:04 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by argory
This building has to preserved and brought back to its grand Le Coq D’Or days. They can build their 60-storey building somewhere else; it's not as if there's absolutely no land around to build skyscrapers. Sze, is there any ongoing campaign to save it from being bulldozed?

The articles you posted mention about an "Eastern Hotel" in KL that was demolished... I think that hotel was where capsquare stands now.

I dun think there is any campaigning for that.

Malaysians like to campaign for something that is happening halfway around the world but when it come to our culture and heritage....they do not seems to care.......

Look at how easily they dismisses the preservation of the BBGS building......they could have preserved the place and integrate it into the mall or something.

Asfor Eastern Hotel.....well I am not too sure of its location but I would ask around
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Old August 8th, 2006, 05:17 AM   #9
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Here's the location of the Eastern Hotel as pointed out by my dad. The area size is an estimate only cause he said the land of the hotel is huge.

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Old August 8th, 2006, 05:28 AM   #10
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Here the satellite imagery of The Bok House:

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Old August 8th, 2006, 02:52 PM   #11
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so close with PTT.. well plan for 60 .. if im not mistake the new grand hyatt twin proposed 50 storey also around there.
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Old August 8th, 2006, 07:36 PM   #12
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owners of any heritage buildings have to sell them to government if they desperately need money...not to those corporate guys...
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Old August 9th, 2006, 06:11 AM   #13
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Why not turn it into Madame Tussaud KL? Need a large underground exhibition hall though. Can keep the original house as the main entrance and main gallery. The underground hall can be linked seamlessly with KLCC Suria Mall.

How about that idea?
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Old August 9th, 2006, 06:15 AM   #14
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Bombard Gov't with Email

Guys,

Since most people here feel strongly about the conservation of the Bok House...

Letters to the Ministry to stop the demolition of this building have been pouring in, but I hope you guys can also highlight this to your friends and family, and have them write an email to the Minister of Heritage, Dr Rais: drrais@heritage.gov.my

Bakhtiar
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Old August 9th, 2006, 06:23 AM   #15
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Szehoong i remember the old eastern hotel as it can be seen from the AIA building however can u asked your dad what was the name of the hotel where shangrila is now and may be he knew the family that used to live there,before it was converted into the hotel!
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Old August 31st, 2006, 08:53 AM   #16
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Bok House to be gazetted as heritage site (he Sun)
by Llew-Ann Phang

KUALA LUMPUR: The Culture, Arts and Heritage Ministry has refuted claims that the ministry or City Hall had approved a development order for a project involving the Bok House on Jalan Ampang.

On the contrary, Heritage Commissioner Datuk Siti Zuraina Abdul Majid has written to the Bok House trustees, stating the ministry's intention to gazette it as a heritage site.

Principal Assistant Secretary of the Heritage Department, Rosli Nor, said that so far, the trustees * who were represented by their lawyers * have responded positively in the negotiation of proposals and discussions with the commissioner.

"If they object and want to continue with development, they can develop only the rear portion or the vacant plots, but they have to preserve and retain the remaining block," he told reporters yesterday after presenting a paper at the National Heritage Act 2005 Seminar.

The seminar was organised by the Institution of Surveyors, in collaboration with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and the National Valuation Institute.

"There has been good response from the trustees as they have come for several discussions to find out what needs to be done if certain parts of the building are to be retained.

"They were cooperative in allowing us to visit and inspect the site," Rosli said, adding that the building was declared safe and as having heritage significance.

Rosli, who inspected the building, said the Bok House is structurally sound except for the front column, which is slightly damaged.

Restoration would cost "easily RM30 million", he said.

It appears that the trustees would have an uphill task if they were to object to the ministry's intention to gazette the Bok House as a heritage site.

"City Hall cannot and will not issue a development order because the approval can only come after the ministry consents.

"We are not declaring it a National Heritage as this would mean they would have no choice but to retain the building's form and there can be no development at all, but if it is declared a heritage site, development can be carried out around the block that needs to be retained," Rosli said.

He said that except for a proposal in 1992 for the development of a hotel or service apartments made to the Museum and Antiquities Department * which was subsequently rejected * the ministry and City Hall had not received any applications for development.

In 1926, architecture firm Swan and Maclaren started work on the design of the Bok House, completing it in 1929 for Chua Cheng Bok, who is the founder of the Cycle and Carriage business empire.

Chua and his family lived in the house, and in 1942, it was occupied by the Yokohama Specie Bank.

It was later turned into a boarding house by the British administration.

The main house was eventually converted into a restaurant, Le Coq D'Or, which opened in 1958 and operated until it closed in 2001.

The Chuas had occupied the rear quarters of the house until these sections were demolished in 1999.
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Old December 16th, 2006, 01:13 PM   #17
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The BOK HOUSE - An architectural masterpiece demolished!

Bye-bye, Bok House
16 Dec 2006
Regina Lee






KUALA LUMPUR: Excavators yesterday began tearing down heritage landmark Bok House, built 77 years ago by tycoon Chua Cheng Bok.

Contractors completed putting up a corrugated metal fence around the property on Thursday and began removing roof tiles.

A worker at the site refused to allow entry or pictures to be taken. Yesterday, excavators began demolishing a veranda on the first floor.
Chua built the mansion in 1929 after making his fortune.

It was noted for the mix of Asian and Western architectural influences, particularly the broad verandas and neo-classical columns.

Conservationists have been fighting to protect the Jalan Ampang house, a stone’s throw from the Petronas Twin Towers.

The land on which it sits would command prime rates, and luxury condominiums in developments nearby sell for more than RM1,000 a square foot.

He started in business mending bicycles and carriages, and went on to establish the Cycle & Carriage company, which for decades was the sole distributor of Mercedes Benzes in the region.

According to legend, the house was meant to impress the father of a girl he had wanted to marry.

During the Japanese Occupation, Bok House was occupied by Yokohama Specie Bank. After the war, it became a boarding house for the British Air Force women.

It was later returned to the Chua family, and, in 1958, it turned into a French fine dining restaurant, Le Coq d’Or (The Golden Cockerel).

According to some accounts, the Chua family continued living modestly at the rear portion of the house. The restaurant closed in 2001 and the house was left unoccupied.

The three trustees of the Chua estate could not be reached. The trustees’ lawyer Romesh Abraham declined to comment.
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Old December 16th, 2006, 01:29 PM   #18
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I don't understand that. As much as I love a new 60 storey tower in KL's skyline, I believe it's important to keep some heritage houses like the Bok house.
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Old December 16th, 2006, 01:30 PM   #19
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Heritage body upset by demolition of Bok House



KUALA LUMPUR: The demolition of Bok House in Jalan Ampang so soon after the National Heritage Act 2005 was gazetted is a sign of things to come, said Badan Warisan Malaysia.

In a statement yesterday, the council said that it would like to know what the Government's definition of heritage was and what criteria had been applied when the Government decided not to take over or gazette Bok House as a heritage building.

Some 10 workers were seen yesterday tearing down the building with the aid of three excavators.

The council said it had pursued the matter rigorously after the law was enforced on March 1 and had used all means to try to explain to all levels of government the unique position of Bok House in Malaysia's national heritage continuum.

“The demolition of Bok House, despite our persistent and dogged attempts, sadly demonstrates our failure in getting our appeal recognised and endorsed by the Government,” it said.

It said Badan Warisan president Tan Sri Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid had nominated Bok House as a national heritage as provided for under Section 68 of the Act in a letter to Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim on April 12.

The basis for the nomination, it said, was articulated in an in-depth statement of cultural significance, which clearly stated its architectural, social and historical values with reference to public documents, historical essays and other records over the past few decades.

The council said Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) could not but be aware that Bok House was a subject within the public domain after it had been raised in a letter from Ahmad Sarji to the Mayor, as well as in letters and public discourse in the press.
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Old December 16th, 2006, 01:33 PM   #20
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I feel so sorry for that owner. Why there is not a respect for the late owner?
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