KOTA KINABALU: When the state’s oldest bookstore, Tung Nan Bookstore, closed down last year, it was thought to be the end of such an iconic part of Sabah’s history. But the 66-year old establishment has undergone a dramatic transformation. It re-opened today as Tung Nan Heritage – a centre for unique local food and handicraft. “For me and others my age, as a child growing up, Tung Nan was the place to get our books during the 60s. It holds a special place in many Sabahans’ hearts,” said State Tourism, Cultural, and Environmental Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun, who officiated the store’s launching. “It is admirable to see its owners opt to continue the store’s legacy, rebranding itself as a store for local products, instead of taking the easy way out by simply leasing to other businesses.
When the state’s oldest bookstore, Tung Nan Bookstore, closed down last year, it was thought to be the end of such an iconic part of Sabah’s history. Pic by NSTP/MALAI ROSMAH TUAH
Masidi said that Gaya Street, where the store was located, was a bustling hotspot for tourists, especially China nationals. “There has been a huge increase in tourists from China recently. I believe that there are 86 scheduled flights from China alone to Kota Kinabalu. “In fact, Kota Kinabalu International Airport is now the busiest airport after Kuala Lumpur International Airport. “Much of it is due to our tourism success stories and the selling power of our local products. So I hope many other Sabahans can capitalise on this opportunity,” he said. Tung Nan Bookstore was established in 1952 by George Wong Tung Chee, whose wife also founded Kota Kinabalu’s first kindergarten, Chung Hwa kindergarten. Their grandchildren Patrick and Katherine Wong are the current owners of the rejuvenated establishment, which now offers a myriad of local products including wild honey, coffee, and durian.
Source: New Straits Times