Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Malacca Revisited

Just a 2 hour drive (well within speed limits) south of KL lies Malacca . . . always a nostalgic escape for me.

Peer through the looking glass and discover more . . .

My fave places are Jonker and Heeren Street, the famous narrow streets in the epicenter of old Melaka. The former housed merchants and traders whilst the local gentry occupied family mansions in the latter.

Architecturally unique and fit-for-purpose, these narrow and seemingly endless houses were functionally divided into the front half for guests, comprising an antechamber and sitting room lined by intricately carved wood panelling and an open air courtyard traditionally decorated with colourful wall and floor tiles, a signature feature of Baba Nyonya homes.

The family area and kitchen occupied the back portion of the house. Two sets of steep staircases in the front and back of the house led to the sleeping quarters on the floor above.

The courtyards, being airy and bright, would most probably have been the favourite gathering place for grandma to sip tea and tell stories to the grandchildren.

Nowadays the beautiful Baba Nyonya ceramic ware are collectors items and are hard to come buy, so beware of replicas . . . A, B or C grade!

Most of the properties on Heeren and Jonker Street have changed hands many times over, and have been converted to antique shops, coffee shops and even boutique hotels.

The Malacca Maritime Museum, resides in a life-sized replica of a Portuguese galleon.

Historical events are depicted in the from of oceanographic charts, tableaux and oil paintings documenting the Malay Sultanate, Portuguese and Dutch colonisation.

A Formosa Fort built by the Portuguese and the red Dutch Stadthuys stand out as Malacca's piece de resistance.

A church in pristine condition dated 1710.

An old Melaka mosque stylised after the Chinese pagoda.

Economic development has taken precedence over the historical port, as a massive land reclamation project has changed the coastal contours and replaced it with a thriving business center.

On the upside, changing lifestyle and affluence allows for the restoration of old rambling mansions to their former glory, to be relished by those romantics who yearn for a taste of colonial opulence.

Now wouldn't you love to join these genteel Nyonyas for a spot of cardamom tea and scones?

As you exit the Majestic Hotel, you have the full view of the Melaka River which has undergone a beautification process recently.
Now wouldn't that be perfect . . . at the end of the river cruise to slip into the looking glass of the past at the Majestic Hotel?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey, great pics! And good framing and composition. Must have worked hard at it, seeeing that the post came out at 3.40am!
Psst...mangrove swamp...that's passe.
I believe they call it wetlands now ;-)