Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Malaysia Day 4

Today we were off to the seaside town of Malacca, or Melaka as some prefer it and you want to be
politically correct respectful to Malaysia ( :-P at V). Manny was travelling in Europe once and many people did not know where Malaysia was. Malacca, he explained, and they then understood.

Malacca was seized by the Portuguese in about 1510.  It is complicated,  but by 1641 the Dutch were in control of Malacca, although they weren't terribly interested in it and diverted much of its trade to Java (Indonesia). In time Malacca became more important with trading and to export tin mined in Malaysia. By 1824 Britain was in control and there was a wealthy local Chinese population in the cosmopolitan settlement.

I think Malacca is about one hour's driver from KL, the way Manny drives, much less.

The old Chinese? part has been listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. I suspect UNESCO is behind the cigarette smoking ban on the streets and open bars/cafes in the historic area. For mine, it is pity they didn't ban cars and their exhaust fumes which surely do far more damage to buildings.

Manny checking something on his phone. A different dialect is spoken in Malacca to KL, so when a guy on a bicycle approached, Manny thought he was selling the car park tickets. He wasn't. He was selling lottery tickets.

We were parked outside the town hall, as it has been written for Peter, the Stadthuys.

There were many of these trishaws in the street.

This church dominates an open area. It was built in 1753. We went inside for a look. I only saw the no photography sign as we left.

This is interesting, dating from 1800, and English was still being written with an f character instead of an s.

A list of the ministers who served the church. About 1811 the names changed from Dutch to English.

This area near the church was quite nicely done and peaceful.

Hmmmm, mounted police! I reckon they could ride pretty hard.

Erected to honour Queen Victoria.

Jubilees are topical. This commemorates Queen Vic's Diamond Jubilee.

A typical Dutch Malaccan windmill. The flowering plants look like salvia but they were a bit different and I doubt salvia would grow in the tropical heat.

A large dragon greets you as you cross the canal bridge.

Along the canal we found a wall of old Dutch bricks, which were quite different to English bricks. They are ten to twelve inches wide, five inches deep and one to one and a half inches tall.

Looking down this Amsterdam Malaccan canal. It looked pretty murky.

You're not in Amsterdam now Dorothy.

I hope this does not translate as 'House House'.

You can not change the outside appearance of these UNESCO listed houses. Many of them were empty and some were becoming derelict. I would guess the UNESCO listing may have made many of them uneconomic to use for modern purposes.

The most famous street in the old Chinese area of Malacca is Lorong Hang Jebat but it is best known by its old name Jonker Street. We walked part of it and then Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock where there was barely a footpath and most of the walking was on the road. Note, there is not much space to walk on the asphalt and between the yellow car boundary line.

This is the Baba-Nyonya Heritage Museum. It was originally a Chinese merchant's family house. We took a brief and good guided tour. The main residence was upstairs and visitors were admitted to a ground level entrance. Upstairs was a hole in the floor with a lift out plug. If you did not like the look of your visitor, you could empty your chamber pot down the hole and all over them. The upper storey stairs had a horizontal door which could be lowered over the stairs for security.

A very newer and grand Chinese house.

I forget what the tower was about. It looks like a pagoda, but wait. It is the minaret of a mosque adapted to local culture.

Although the museum house had the same thing, this is in a hotel we looked at. A friend stayed here at Hotel Puri once. Above the tiles the roof is open to let in cool air and rain. I think it now blocked off by glass.

Must be time for a drink. The place where we sat was a customer of Manny's and the owner's wife was present. Without a common Malaysian language, they chatted in English to a background of some rather nice jazz and blues music. We returned to the car and drove a short distance to a new part of Malacca where we had lunch. More damn noodles, crab and prawns. While I love mussels and oysters, I am not one for crab, lobster or prawns. Too much hard work for so little reward.

We moved on and parked the car in a shopping mall carpark. We walked through the cool mall and out the other side to be greeted with the rather good water feature detailing Malaysia history in relief. Malaysia has an awful lot of fountains, public and private.

A short distance on were the remains of A Famosa Fort. The fort was built on a hill top by the Portuguese in the early 1500s. It was renovated by the Dutch and they placed the date on the structure, 1670. When England took over, they decided to demolish the fort and almost completely did if not for the late intervention in 1810 by Sir Stamford Raffles of Singapore. Above is taken from the main structure looking down at the only remaining gate, Porta de Santiago.

Within the main structure on the hill.

A Dutch graveyard.

From the fort we could see some of the newer area of Malacca, built on reclaimed land.

Nearby is this car which was used in the hand over ceremony from Britain to Malaysia in 1957. Note that it is an American car, not one from Malaysia's old colonial master.

We stopped at a McDonalds for an ice cream on the way back to KL. After freshening up, Manny returned and we ate hawker food at an area near our hotel. More damn noodles.


  1. We can all be holidaying in the tropics vicariously through your posts. I can feel the warmth and humidity....even in Canberra!

  2. Jonker Street!! What a fabulous name!
    This is the best post so far, the pictures are really lovely and with so much information too. I tend to just take photos without finding out anything about them. Bad me!
    I love the decorated Tri-Shaw. Those red flowers in another picture do look like salvias, there are many different types and this could be one of them. If I could find my flowers book I'd check.
    I quite like the look of the Dutch bricks. Having them 12 inches across would make very thick walls which would be better at keeping out the heat.
    I prefer the crabs, lobster and prawns myself, even with the work involved. I've never liked the taste or feel of oysters. I'm guessing you'll be happy to eat a meal without noodles for the next few years?

  3. Well isn't this beautifully presented. The place has sure kicked on since I was there. Do they have any slums?
    Very modern. McDonalds and all. Yes, and dirty capitalists, they'd like to do the same with Burma. I hope they never succeed. Leave it alone.
    As with India and as with Burma, relics of colonialism jump out at you: churches, graves. I notice Mrs Betty was amiable as well as affectionate; quite a package.

  4. Loved it, thank you, Andrew.
    I must say, that is a very stately erection for a queen, how impressed she must have been when the etchings were given to her.
    The Dutch bricks are curious, explains why Dunolly wanted Dutch brickmakers in he 1950s, the width alone would withstand the chill winters!

  5. Thank you for sharing this with us, Andrew. Feels like we've been there with you. However I am very, very jealous of 'more damn noodles' as decent ones are rather than chicken lips here.

  6. Days 3 and 4 very enjoyable reading Andrew..You really did well with the pictures and actually remembering what and where they were, did you make notes at the end of each day, I did (well at the start anyway)when we were in Europe. I can see how you would be tired of noodles, what you need is to get yourself porked!!

  7. Ad Rad, did I mention it was hot and steamy? I think I am too old now for hot and steamy.

    River, it actually took about two hours to write so that I had the details correct. Yes, the Dutch bricks would have been very insulating, but if it is hot all the time, do thick walls work? Well, not years without noodles, but generally no Asian food for a bit. It is part of my normal diet, not my diet.

    No slums that I saw RH, but some housing in the countryside is very modest. Some slum looking places were abandoned.

    Oh Jayne, a stately erection. Yes re the bricks. They would be very good at stopping the extremes of weather penetrating.

    Kath, I've been thinking about noodles a bit since we returned, and I am not sure that I was ever fond of Asian dishes with noodles. But yes, if you can't get something, you want it all the more.

    Grace, at the end of the day or the next day, I just write some points down. Along with the photos, they are a good aide de memoir. Most of the detail in the posts research as I write. I assumed you are using porked like I use horned, after you have given someone blast from you car.

  8. I am very glad that the World Heritage protection is in place. Only the _outside_ appearance of these UNESCO listed houses can not change. They can be renovated easily inside, so if many of them were empty and some were becoming derelict, it is because developers were having a dummy-spit.

  9. The leftovers from a Colonial past.

  10. Hels, you are quite correct. But there are so many of them and perhaps not enough visitors to make them viable new businesses. You could be right about the dummy spit. If they start to really fall into disrepair, maybe UNESCO will pay to fix them up.

    Peter, colonial pasts can be troublesome in these days, but I think your country left an ok legacy. It is part of Netherlands' history and deserves to be respected as such. Malaysia is quite good at forgetting its past. I was pleased to see some remainder in Malacca.