Ever since George Town was given the Unesco heritage site status, tourists from all over the world have been coming in droves to see what it has to offer.
Tourists are seen holding maps of the Penang Heritage Trail, offering a feast of the eyes on heritage sites unique to Penang.
There is also a walking tour of the trail that takes them to 11 famous heritage spots in town and, at the same time, gives them a taste of what Penang is truly about.
First stop on the trail is the historic Fort Cornwallis -- the exact spot where Sir Francis Light first set foot on the island and captured it from the Sultan of Kedah about two centuries ago.
The star-shaped bastion is said to be the largest fort in Malaysia and would need about 10 minutes to explore.
Inside the fort, one can see some of the original structures built over a century ago, including a chapel, prison cells, which were once used as barracks, an ammo storage area, a lighthouse used to signal incoming ships, the original flagstaff and several old bronze canons.
Unfortunately, the landmark is not as well kept as before and is at risk of turning into an eyesore.
Get past the whitewashed arch and you will see a landscaped area left in neglect, peeling paint on the old buildings, and the so-called information signs fading away.
The 10 cell galleries that showcase bits and pieces of history are vandalised to such an extent that visitors are seen leaving in a hurry.
In some exhibits, some vandals have thrown in some items which they find "historical" as well.
This writer stumbled upon a display showing excavated artifacts to find among them a Joker playing card, a luggage tag, something resembling a fuel tank screw-on cap and what appeared to be an Ah Long business card slotted in through a small opening on top of the glass display.
Rubbish and cigarette butts are in all the nook and crannies. Tissue papers are all over the place, too.
The biggest eyesore are the air-conditioners, which looked truly out of order, complete with mould growing through the vents and pipes.
The writer decided to find some peace at the chapel adjacent to the cells.
However, one is greeted with yet another old air-conditioning unit, this one broken into two, suspended on the wall.
It is hanging on for dear life just above the entrance arch, ready to drop on the next person walking under it.
It is as far from a chapel as it could be. There are no benches, lights or even a cross to signify it is a place of worship.
In fact, the smell of urine permeating the whole area had one of the tourists asking: "Is this a public toilet?"
Some time back, there were "English troops" guarding its ramparts.
Local men dressed in full British regalia, marched around the fort and the 1812 Overture could be heard playing over the speakers.
Tourists will surely visit the fort as it is "one of the things you must do when in Penang".
Please save the fort. Captain Light would be turning in his grave if he saw it now.
How long more can we live with this tidak apa (not bothered) attitude of the authorities?