Taiping’s latest mural of aviator Amelia Earhart draws online criticism

Sylvia Looi
A mural depicting the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean Amelia Mary Earhart has drawn backlash online. — Picture via Facebook/ Majlis Perbandaran Taiping

IPOH, Sept 5 — Taiping’s latest mural depicting the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, Amelia Earhart, has not gone down well with some people online.

Many have gone to the Taiping Municipal Council’s (MPT) official Facebook page to question the rationale behind the drawing.

The American had made a refuelling stopover at Tekah Airport on June 7, 1937 before continuing her journey to Singapore and New Guinea in her attempt to circumnavigate the globe.

She and her navigator Fred Noonan later went missing during flight and they have never been found. 

While congratulating the council for the pretty drawing, Facebook user Hamir Habeed Mohd questioned the relevance of the drawing with Taiping.

“Is the character a Taiping born? The plane landed in Taiping? The woman married a local or died there? Don’t tell me just because she refilled her petrol here it became a historical matter?” he asked.

He further questioned why a local figure was not highlighted instead.

“There are many other historical matters than could have been highlighted.”

Sharing the same sentiment, another user by the name of Simon Chin questioned the reasoning behind the mural of Earhart when many locals did not know her.

“Think a mural art of Tunku proclaiming Merdeka will be a better option,” he added.

Facebook user Muhammad Fauzi was however lighthearted over the matter and jokingly said he may have his painting drawn just by refuelling.

“The history is not wrong. It is just not relevant with the context of Malaysia’s independence,” he said, adding the picture was very pretty.

The 27 metres by 12 metres Earhart mural is the largest to be displayed in Taiping to date.

It took Datuk Chen Teck Meng (right) and Khok Chai Ong nine days to complete the drawing on the wall of a double storey building at Jalan Abdul Jalil, next to Taiping Hospital. — Picture via Facebook/ Majlis Perbandaran Taiping

Drawn by Datuk Chen Teck Meng and Khok Chai Ong, it took them nine days to complete the drawing on the wall, just in time for this year’s Merdeka celebrations. 

It is located on a double storey building at Jalan Abdul Jalil next to Taiping Hospital.

The mural, costing RM280,000, was sponsored by a private company.

The council said the art of drawing murals in Taiping began in 2015.

“To date, there are no less than 10 murals in Taiping,” said the council in a statement.

It said a press conference would be held soon to address the apparent backlash over the Earhart mural. 

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