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Prakash R. Jakathesan Has bagged Asia's Outstanding Contribution to the Preservation of Heritage and Culture Award

Prakash R. Jakathesan Has bagged Asia's Outstanding Contribution to the Preservation of Heritage and Culture Award

I am Prakash R. Jakathesan and I am truly grateful and honored to have been selected for two prestigious awards by ASIA Awards powered by World Research Congress - The Asia's Best Research Analyst Award in Tiffin Collection and Asia's Outstanding Contribution to the Preservation of Heritage and Culture Award.

My life journey began on December 2nd, 1979, in the quaint town of Parit Buntar, nestled in Perak, Malaysia. My early education unfolded against the backdrop of Parit Buntar, setting the stage for my academic pursuits. Venturing into the world of hospitality, I pursued a Diploma in Hotel Management at KDU College in Penang, where my passion for the rich tapestry of cultures and histories began to take root.

Furthering my educational odyssey, I undertook a Bachelor's Degree (Hons) in Hospitality Studies at the University of Lancashire in the UK. Driven by an insatiable curiosity, I delved deeper into the nuances of food and beverage by completing a second diploma, alongside acquiring a Wine and Spirit Certification. My academic journey reached its zenith with the attainment of a Master of Sciences (MSc) in Hospitality Management, coupled with the prestigious title of a Certified Hospitality Trainer bestowed by The American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI). Presently, I take pride in serving as the curator at the Penang Indian Heritage Museum.

My journey as a collector commenced in my childhood, initially with metal toy cars, eventually expanding to encompass telephone cards and coins. The relocation to Penang marked a pivotal moment, as I witnessed the concerted efforts of both the people and the state government in preserving the cultural and heritage fabric of this UNESCO heritage site. The vibrant cultural events and festivals in Penang fueled my passion, steering my collection towards banknotes, toys, and ultimately, tiffin carriers.

Since 2001, my collection of tiffin carriers has burgeoned to nearly 200, earning me prestigious accolades in both the Malaysia Book of Records and Asia Book of Records for the Largest Tiffin Carrier Collection. This remarkable journey culminated in extensive research, resulting in the self-publication of my book, "Tiffin: An Untold Story." Through this literary endeavor, I aimed not only to document the history of tiffin carriers but also to elevate them from mundane objects to revered cultural icons. My inclusion in Britishpedia's 1st Edition of "Successful People in Malaysia" further underscores the cultural impact of this work. The Asia's Best Research Analyst Award in Tiffin Collection is a testament to my dedication to preserving the cultural significance of tiffins.

Beyond the realm of tiffin carriers, my commitment to heritage preservation led to the establishment of the Penang Indian Heritage Museum. The journey from a small home collection to the founding of the museum has been an extraordinary one. Beginning modestly with antiques and artifacts at home, I took a significant step in extending an open invitation to students and schools to come and visit. However, it wasn’t until the collaboration with the Penang Hindu Endowments Board (PHEB) that propelled the museum into existence. In 2018, the museum opened its doors to the public. The Asia's Outstanding Contribution to the Preservation of Heritage and Culture Award recognizes my role in founding the Penang Indian Heritage Museum, a hub for preserving the rich heritage and culture of Malaysian Indians. It must be mentioned that the unwavering support and encouragement of my wife have been invaluable as she was constantly by my side throughout this journey.

Receiving these awards is not merely a personal achievement but a recognition of the collective efforts dedicated to cultural preservation. My gratitude extends to the World Research Congress and ASIA Awards, as well as the United Research Council for this honorable acknowledgment. These awards evoke feelings of immense joy, honor, and humility, serving as both validation for past endeavors and inspiration for continued commitment to the preservation of cultural heritage. As I reflect on the significance of these accolades, I am fueled with a renewed passion to contribute even more profoundly to the noble cause of heritage and culture preservation.

In the field of collecting, one's birth, occupation, and the color of their skin should never be used to judge their character. Unfortunately, this form of discrimination remains pervasive, and I have personally experienced it in the world of collections. I firmly believe that a person's pride in their roots is commendable, but true honor is earned through hard work and perseverance. In my own experience, recognition in the collection world came only after achieving significant milestones, and even then, some societal biases persisted. Determined to bring about change, I realized that living a simple life was insufficient. To challenge those who stood against me, I decided to ascend to the highest pinnacle and, once there, proclaim to the world, "This is my label, my brand. This is who I am." I continue to work tirelessly to showcase this brand and inspire others to achieve greatness. Preserving culture and heritage is a collective responsibility, ensuring that communities do not fade into obscurity. Many have supported me in this endeavor and I am deeply grateful to them. However, there were detractors who looked down on me, claiming that I was wasting time and money. To them, I assert that there are more important things in life than monetary gains.

Regardless of background, achieving greatness does not require waiting for the right time. It necessitates hard work, thorough research, and a proactive approach. Every human being is born to achieve great things and for those passionate about their cause, the ASIA Awards serves as a wonderful platform to showcase achievements and encourage the younger generation to aspire to greatness. Heartfelt thanks are extended once again to the Penang Hindu Endowments Board (PHEB) because the establishment of the Penang Indian Heritage Museum would not be possible without their support. The impact of the museum on the younger generation is immeasurable, and their benefits are a testament to the success of this collaborative effort. In the spirit of preserving culture and heritage, I stress the importance of cooperative action, acknowledging that every contribution plays a vital role in preventing the disappearance of civilizations.

Prakash R. Jakathesan Has bagged Asia's Outstanding Contribution to the Preservation of Heritage and Culture Award

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