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starmetro, Friday 16 March 2012
Funky: Some of the designs on the eggs itself are sights to behold, let alone the significance of some of the locations where the eggs are located.
it is a fun and exciting way to preserve heritage
VER the past week, I’ve been taking lots of pictures … of eggs. The Big Egg Hunt (www.thebigegghunt.co.uk) is happening in London at the moment, where 209 giant eggs have been placed at various locations across the city in a run-up to Easter weekend. It is, however, not a religious celebration. The Big Egg Hunt is a charity campaign aiming at raising over £2mil (RM9mil) for two charities, namely Elephant Family and Action for Children. Londoners, and visitors, are encouraged to scour across the city in search of the eggs. Each egg has a QR code tagged to it, which allows you to use your cellphone to mark your discovery via Facebook for a chance to win a special Golden Jubilee Golden Egg (it’s the Queen’s golden jubilee this year) worth over £100,000 (RM479,345). With the number of people living and visiting London, I don’t think my chances are particularly high in winning so I haven’t actually participated in the competition. What interests me most about The Big Egg Hunt is what I feel happens because of it. London is known as one of the cultural capitals of the world, and I’ve come to discover why this is so after just a few mere months living here. Besides what it is traditionally known for — that is the performing arts (with the West End and the Royal Albert Hall, as examples) and the many museums and galleries — what I love as well is the many parks, historical squares and old buildings. I feel that together, all these make up the charm that is London. What is fascinating about the egg hunt is that it forces people to visit these sites if they want to see the eggs and/or take part in the competition. What is even more significant is that even the eggs represent London’s culture; they are all created by artists, designers and architects, among others. Some of the designs on the eggs itself are sights to behold, let alone the significance of some of the locations where the eggs are located. I am not sure if this is the original intention but the places where I have found some eggs, such as next to the Oscar Wilde structure nearby Charing Cross, across the artsy Southbank Centre and in the touristy Covent Garden, has tremendous cultural significance. When I think about this as I
First taste of Big egg Hunt
Tale of Two Cities London
email@example.com made my stops, I can’t help but think about the ways in which we try to preserve our culture back in Malaysia. While there is obviously efforts to do this, I also feel that many-a-times, we tend to use modernisation as an excuse to destroy some of our cultural heritage. In my mind, I think about the impending loss of the buildings along Jalan Sultan, or the destruction of Rumah Pak Ali — one of the oldest kampong houses in Kuala Lumpur — due to a fire, reportedly caused by a short circuit because the owners had insufficient funds to maintain the site, as examples. Yet in a place as diverse as London, where a lot of the population is not even native to the city, there is an appreciation for heritage and culture in ways that I have not experienced before. Later this year, I’m looking forward to London Open House, where many buildings around the city — both old and new — open their doors to the public. Last year, one of the biggest hits was the iconic BT Tower and in 2010, the disused Aldwych Underground station was open. Having visited this city several times over the past decade or so, there are many things that are familiar yet London seem to have progressed and modernised itself fine. There is space for the old and new to co-exist and I, like many other people, can appreciate this. The Big Egg Hunt may be a charity campaign but the way I look at it, it also represents an opportunity for the old and new London to come together, to get people out there and to stoke the fire that is London’s cultural heritage. Like an egg, it may be fragile but because people are willing to take care of it, it will remain in tact. And at the end of the day, when all is done and the eggs are auctioned off, it can bring a lot of good to the people — the same way culture and heritage can if only we’d learn to give it a chance and appreciate it a little bit more. Niki is a MA Digital Culture and Society student at King’s College London. Connect with him at www. nikicheong.com and www.twitter. com/nikicheong.