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MALAYSIA AND BORNEO – MALACCA – PART ONE

November 28, 2015

MALACCA, MALAYSIA   –   PART ONE

 

FROM JULY 9 -27, 2015 LEONARD EPSTEIN  AND JANELLE BURGESS TRAVELED THROUGH MALAYSIA AND BORNEO

A  DESCRIPTION OF MALAYSIA AND BORNEO

Malaysia is a country in Southeast Asia, located partly on a peninsula of the Asian mainland and partly on the northern third of the island of Borneo.

West (peninsular) Malaysia shares a border with Thailand, is connected by a causeway and a bridge (the ‘second link’) to the island state of Singapore, and has coastlines on the South China Sea and the Straits of Malacca.
East Malaysia (Borneo) shares borders with Brunei and Indonesia.

Malaysia is a mix of the modern world and a developing nation. With its investment in the high technology industries and moderate oil wealth, it has become one of the richer nations in Southeast Asia. Malaysia, for most visitors, presents a happy mix: there is high-tech infrastructure and things generally work well and more or less on schedule, but prices remain more reasonable than, say, Singapore.

History

Before the rise of the European colonial powers, the Malay peninsula and the Malay archipelago were home to empires such as the Srivijaya, the Majapahit (both ruled from Indonesia, but also controlling parts of Malaysia) and the Melaka Sultanate. The Srivijaya and Majapahit empires saw the spread of Hinduism to the region, and to this day, many Hindu legends and traditions survive in traditional Malay culture.

This was to change in the 16th century when the Portuguese established the first European colony in Southeast Asia by defeating the Melaka Sultanate. The Portuguese subsequently then lost Malacca to the Dutch. The British also established their first colony on the Malay peninsula in Penang in 1786, when it was ceded by the Sultan of Kedah. Finally, the area was divided into Dutch and British spheres of influence with the signing of the Anglo-Dutch Treaty in 1824. With this treaty, the Dutch agreed to cede Malacca to the British and in return, the British ceded all their colonies on Sumatra to the Dutch. The line which divided the Malay world into Dutch and British areas roughly corresponds to what is now the border between Malaysia and Indonesia.

Before World War II, the Malay Peninsula was governed by the British as the Federated Malay States (Selangor, Perak, Negeri Sembilan and Pahang), which were governed as a single entity, the Unfederated Malay States (Johor, Kedah, Perlis, Terengganu and Kelantan), which were each governed as separate protectorates, and the Straits Settlements (including Malacca, Penang and Singapore), which were crown colonies. Northern Borneo consisted of the British colony of North Borneo, the Kingdom of Sarawak, which was ruled by a British family known as the “White Rajas”, and the British protectorate of Brunei.

World War II was disastrous for the British Malayan Command. The Japanese swept down both coasts of the Malay Peninsula and despite fierce fighting, much of the British military was tied down fighting the Germans in Europe and those that remained in Malaya simply could not cope with the Japanese onslaught. The British military equipment left to defend Malaya were outdated and no match for the modern ones used by the Japanese, while the only two battleships based in the region, the HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse, were sank by Japanese bombers off the East Coast of Malaya. By 31 January 1942, the British had been pushed all the way back to Singapore, which also fell to the Japanese on 15 February 1942. The situation was no different on Borneo, which fell to the Japanese on 1 April 1942 after months of fierce fighting. The Japanese occupation was brutal, and many, particularly the ethnic Chinese, suffered and perished during the occupation. Among the most notorious atrocities committed by the Japanese was the Sandakan Death Marches, with only six out of several thousand prisoners surviving the war.

After World War II, the Federated Malay States, Unfederated Malay States and the Straits Settlements of Malacca and Penang were federated to form a single British colony known as the Malayan Union, with Singapore splitting off to form a separate colony. In the Malayan Union, the sultans of the various states ceded all their powers except those in religious affairs to the British crown. However, widespread opposition to the Malayan Union led the British to reconsider their position, and in 1948, the Malayan Union was replaced by the Federation of Malaya, in which the executive positions of the sultans were restored. In Borneo, the White Rajas ceded Sarawak to the British crown in 1946, making it a crown colony of the United Kingdom.

Malaya gained independence from the British in 1957. The Union Jack was lowered and the first Malayan flag was raised in the Merdeka (independence) Square on midnight 31st August 1957.

Six years later, Malaysia was formed on 16 September 1963 through a merging of Malaya and Singapore, as well as the East Malaysian states of Sabah (known then as North Borneo) and Sarawak on the northern coast of Borneo, with Brunei deciding not to join. The first several years of the country’s history were marred by the Indonesian confrontation (konfrontasi) as well as claims to Sabah from the Philippines. Singapore was expelled from the federation on 9 August 1965 after several bloody racial riots, as its majority Chinese population and the influence of the People’s Action Party led by Lee Kuan Yew (later the long-ruling Prime Minister of Singapore) were seen as a threat to Malay dominance, and it became a separate country.

Politics

Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy, nominally headed by the Paramount Ruler (Yang di-Pertuan Agong), who is “elected” by the rulers (7 sultans, the Yang Di-Pertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan and the Raja of Perlis) for a five-year term from among the rulers of the 9 royal states of Malaysia, though in practice the election usually follows a prescribed order based on the seniority of the rulers at the time of independence. This gives Malaysia a unique political system of rotational monarchy, in which each of the state rulers would take turns to be the king of Malaysia. The current king, from Kedah, was sworn in on 13 Dec 2011.

Malaysia’s government is largely based on the British Westminster system, consisting of a bicameral national parliament, with each of the states also having their own unicameral Dewan Undangan Negeri (State Legislative Assembly). The lower house, known as the Dewan Rakyat (Hall of the People) is elected directly by the people. The upper house, known as the Dewan Negara (National Hall), consists of 26 members elected by the state governments, with each state having 2 representatives, while the remaining members are appointed by the king. The head of government is the Prime Minister, who is the party leader of the winning party in the lower house. The United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) party and its National Front (Barisan Nasional) coalition have ruled Malaysia uninterrupted since its independence, and while periodic elections are contested by feisty opposition parties, the balance has so far always been shifted in the government’s favor, partly due to press control and use of restrictive security legislation dating from the colonial era.

In practice, the king is only the nominal Head of State, while the Prime Minister is the one who wields the most authority in government.

 Geography

Peninsular Malaysia (Bahasa Malaysia: Semenanjung Malaysia) occupies all of the Malay Peninsula between  Thailand and  Singapore,  and is also known as West Malaysia (Malaysia Barat) or the slightly archaic Malaya(Tanah Melayu). It is home to the bulk of Malaysia’s population, its capital and largest city Kuala Lumpur, and is generally more economically developed. Within Peninsular Malaysia, the West Coast is more developed and urbanised, and separated from the more rural East Coast by a mountain range – the Titiwangsa.

Some 800 km to the east is East Malaysia (Malaysia Timur), which occupies the northern third of the island of Borneo, shared with  Indonesia and tiny  Brunei,  Partly covered in impenetrable jungle where headhunters roam (on GSM networks if nothing else), East Malaysia is rich in natural resources but very much Malaysia’s hinterland for industry and tourism.

People

Malaysia is a multicultural society. While Malays make up a 52% majority, there are also 27% Chinese, 9% Indian and a miscellaneous grouping of 13.5% “others”, such as the Portuguese clan in Melaka and 12% of indigenous peoples (Orang Asli). There is hence also a profusion of faiths and religions, with Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, Sikhism and even shamanism on the map.

 West Coast
The more developed side of Peninsular Malaysia, with the states of Kedah, Malacca, Negeri Sembilan, Penang, Perak,Perlis and Selangor, as well as two Federal Territories; Malaysia’s capital city Kuala Lumpur and the new administrative centre of Putrajaya, all located within this region. Majority of the chinese population lives on the West side.

 East Coast
More traditional Muslim, the islands here are glittering tropical jewels. Made up of the states of  Kelantan, Pahang andTerengganu.

South
Comprising just one state, Johor, two coastlines, and endless palm oil plantations

East Malaysia

Some 800 km to the east is East Malaysia (Malaysia Timur), which occupies the northern third of the island of Borneo, shared with Indonesia and tiny Brunei. Partly covered in impenetrable jungle where headhunters roam (on GSM networks if nothing else), East Malaysia is rich in natural resources but very much Malaysia’s hinterland for industry and tourism. (Wikipedia)

MELACCA (MELAKA)
Melaka is Malaysia’s oldest city and was the capital of the Sultanate of Malacca before the Portuguese invasion. It was a major port along the spice route. But in modern Melaka it is the Chinese influence that is the most noticeable.

Over the centuries, the Chinese and local Malay cultures in Malacca have mixed, producing a completely unique society, the Baba-Nyona. This culture reached its height around the turn of the 20th century.

 

The old town square of Melaka (Malacca), comprising a group of red-painted buildings that was once the centre of town during the period of Dutch rule, is sometimes referred to as Malaysia’s own “Red Square”. Situated around the landscaped square are the important buildings of the Dutch colonial administration, including the Christ Church (build in 1753 as a Dutch Reform church, but later converted by the British into an Anglican church) and the Stadthuys, seat of the former Dutch colonial administration (this building was constructed in 1641 when the Dutch conquered Melaka, and is now the oldest surviving Dutch building in the East).

 

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The Dutch Square, also called Red Squared because all the surrounding building painted red, next to the Melaka river. The dutch buildings used to be painted in white until the British governour ordered it to be painted red.

 

 

 

 

Melaka is steeped in history. It was founded by Parameswara, an exiled prince from Sumatra, in year 1400, and thrived as a port-of-call by many ships and merchants from China, India and Arabia. In 1511, it was conquered by the Portuguese, followed by the Dutch in 1641 after a fierce battle. In 1795, it was given to the British to prevent it from falling to the French when the Netherlands was captured by France during the French Revolution. In 1818, it was returned back to the Dutch under the Treaty of Vienna but was later exchanged back to the British for Bencoolen (in Sumatra). From 1826 onwards, it was ruled by the English East India Company in Calcutta together with Singapore and Penanag under the British Straits Settlements administration. After World War II, Malaysia achieved independence from Britain and His Highness Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj, the first Prime Minister of Malaysia, made the proclamation of independence at the Padang Pahlawan (Warrior’s Field) at Bandar Hilir in Melaka on 20 Feb 1956.

The reason why the town was so coveted by the European powers in the past was its strategic location along the Straits of Melaka, and its control of the spice sea-route between Europe and the Far East. As the Portuguese writer Barbarosa wrote, “Whoever is Lord in Malacca, has his hand on the throat of Venice”. Thus it was a major port then, and its harbor bristled with the sails and masts of Chinese junks and spice-lader vessels from all over the hemisphere.

With the founding of Singapore by the British under Sir Stamford Raffles in 1819 and their establishment of a deep-water seaport there, the focus of trade and sea-plying vessels has since shifted from Melaka to Singapore.

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ACROSS THE STREET FROM THE STADHUYS IS THESEEMIN TOURIST OFFICE BUT UPSTAIRS IS A SMALL MOSQUE

 

 

A’Famosa In Melaka

A’Famosa is more than just quick photo stop opportunity for tourists. Built in 1511, the settlement used to sprawl across a whole hillside but now only a lone gate (Porta de Santiago) remains. One of the oldest surviving European architectural remains in Asia; it is set beside the Istana ke Sultanan on Jalan Kota.

  • A’Famosa is perhaps Malacca’s best known sightseeing spot. Originally constructed by Alfonso de Albuquerque (who led the Portuguese invasion on the Malacca Sultanate), the remains of the fort is now a crumbling whitewashed gatehouse and is located downhill from St. Paul’s Church.

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    Structure of A’Famosa

    In the 16th century A’Famosa housed the entire Portuguese administration, including its hospitals, five churches, elongated stockades and four key towers. One tower was a four-storey keep; the others were an ammunition storage room, captain’s residence and an officer’s quarters. The rest of the bastion comprised of townhouses clustered inside the fortress walls. The fort was expanded in 1586 to accommodate Malacca’s growing population.

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    A’FAMOSA

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    A’FAMOA

    Portuguese History

    At the beginning of the 16th century, the Portuguese were establishing outposts in Macau, China and India in order to create a string of friendly ports for their ships plying the routes between China and Portugal. Malacca’s growing popularity meant that it was fast becoming an important link for Portugal to the Spice Route in China. In 1511 the Portuguese fleet, under the command of Alfonso de Albuquerque arrived and launched an attack on the armies of the Malacca Sultanate and defeated them.

    Albuquerque moved swiftly to consolidate his gains by building a fortress around a hill near the sea. He used 1,500 slaves to construct A’Famosa as a stronghold to defend against foreign invasion

     

    Dutch History

    In 1641 the Dutch wrested control of A’Famosa from the Portuguese and drove them out of the city. What remains is largely the Dutch reconstruction as they carried out renovation works in 1670, following the siege. To this day you can see a small inscription (ANNO 1670) on the fort’s arch as well as the coat-of-arms of the Dutch East India Company (VOC).

    A’Famosa changed hands again when Malacca fell into British hands during expansionist Napoleonic times. Initially under the impression that the VOC was to act as a caretaker administration until a time when the Dutch were able to fully resume control, they had no idea the fort would soon be lost to them forever. 

    British History

    Due to the fact that they offered too little and asked for too much, the Dutch forces soon lost the respect of their Malay subjects and in the early 19th century Malacca was fully conquered by the British. Wary of maintaining the fort, should it fall into enemy hands, the English ordered its destruction in 1806.

    Fortunately, Sir Stamford Raffles (founder of Singapore) who was visiting Malacca in 1810 arrived in the nick of time. Due to his love of history he stepped in before the complete destruction of the old fortress. It was a close call though and the crumbling remains of Porta de Santiago, a small gate house, were all that could be salvaged from total destruction.

    When work was undertaken on the Menara Taming Sari revolving tower in 2006, another part of the A’Famosa was discovered. As a result the revolving tower was relocated further inland and A’Famosa’s newly-discovered fortress walls were reconstructed.

     

 

THE STADHUYS

The Stadthuys is believed to be the oldest-surviving Dutch building in the East. Part of Malacca town square’s prominent Dutch colonial architecture it is a massive bright terracotta-red riverfront building that was once the official residence of Dutch governors and officers.

Built between 1641 and 1660 on the ruins of a Portuguese fort, The Stadthuys of Malacca was the focus point of several successive governments (Dutch, Portuguese, British etc.) for over 300 years, from its completion until 1980. In 1982, Stadthuys was converted into a museum. The Stadthuys displays typical features of Dutch colonial architecture with massive walls, louvred windows and chunky doors with wrought-iron hinges.

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Stadhuys (was built in 1650 and the is oldest remaining dutch building in Asia)

Just southwest of the Stadthuys on the river, is the Flor de Mar, a half-size replica of the galley that the viceroy of Portuguese arrived in. Also nearby the Stadthuys is the Tang Beng Swee Clocktower: built in 1886, it was constructed by a wealthy Straits Chinese family but looks distinctly Dutch.

 

 

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FLOR DE MAR A HALF SIZE REPLICA OF THE GALLEY THAT THE VICERY ARRIVED IN

 

ST. PAULS CHURCH IN MELAKA

The ruins of St. Paul’s Church are at the summit of St. Paul’s Hill. Built on the site of the last Malaccan sultan’s istana (palace), it was constructed by Portuguese fidalgo (nobleman) captain, Duarte Coelho, in gratitude to the Virgin Mary for saving his life during a storm at sea.

Roofless and covered in ferns, it was originally called the Nossa Senhora da Annunciada (Our Lady of the Annunciation). Though it has been in ruins for more than 150 years, it is a beautiful, breezy sanctuary (reached after a steep flight of stairs) set near the remains of A’ Famosa fort.

 

 

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A SIGN AT THE STADHUYS “DON’T MESS WITK MELAKA’ ACTUALLY REFERS TO AN ANTI LITTERING CAMPAIGN IN MELAKA.

 

 

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ST. PAUL’S CHURCH

History of St. Paul’s Church

St. Paul’s Church was enlarged to two stories in 1556 (after the Archbishop of Goa in India handed over the church to the Jesuits in 1548); between 1567 and 1596 the Portuguese added gun turrets to the chapel and it became a fortress. In 1590 a belfry tower was added to the front of the church and it was renamed the Igreja de Madre de Deus (Church of the Mother of God).

When the Dutch invaded Malacca in 1641 it was badly damaged (the belfry tower was destroyed) but the complex was later repaired and renamed St. Paul’s Church, it was primarily used as a Protestant church for about 112 years until Christ Church was completed in 1753. After that, St. Paul’s Church fell into disuse. Under the British administration, a lighthouse was built and it eventually ended up as a storehouse for gunpowder.

Armless Statue

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A marble statue of St. Francis Xavier

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A marble statue of St. Francis Xavier (CLOSE-UP)

A marble statue of St. Francis Xavier, built in 1953, stands within the complex commemorating Malaysia’s best-known missionary. Stories say that when Xavier was to be canonized in 1614 the Vatican demanded the right arm (this was the arm Francis used to bless his converts) from the body. When it was cut off, blood appeared to drip, 6o-odd years after his death; when the marble statue was erected in 1952, on the morning after its consecration a large casuarina tree fell on it severing its right arm.

 

 

 

 

Graveyard

Inside the ruins of St. Paul’s Church is basically a decaying stone interior. Lending an eerie air to an otherwise light atmosphere is a Dutch burial vault set up in 1592 when Malacca was the only port in the Straits. Lining the walls, these hefty, intricately engraved tombstones belong to Dutch nobility that were buried here, including that of Pedro Martins (the second Bishop of Funay, Japan).

Though these epitaphs have long been obscured by lichen, they are noteworthy because their presence provides an interesting catalogue of the times, such as the tombstones of five members of the Velge family that died within 20 days of each other during the diphtheria epidemic of 1756.

St. Paul’s Church offers great views of Malacca and there are buskers and souvenir stalls at the top of the hill; heading down on the other side leads to Porta de Santiago, the remains of the great A’ Famosa Fort.

PHOTOS OF THE TOMBSTONES AT ST. PAUL’S CHURCH

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TOMBSTONE AT ST. PAUL’S CHURCH

 

 

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TOMBSTONES AT ST. PAUL’S CHURCH

 

 

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TOMBSTONE AT ST. PAUL’S CHURCH

 

 

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TOMBSTONE AT ST. PAUL’S CHURCH

 

 

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TOMBSTONE AT ST. PAUL’S CHURCH

 

 

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TOMBSTONE AT ST. PAUL’S CHURCH

 

 

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TOMBSTONE AT ST. PAUL’S CHURCH

 

 

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TOMBSTONE AT ST. PAUL’S CHURCH

 

 

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TOMBSTONE AT ST. PAUL’S CHURCH

 

 

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TOMBSTONE AT ST. PAUL’S CHURCH

 

 

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TOMBSTONE AT ST. PAUL’S CHURCH

 

 

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VENDORS AT ST. PAUL’S CHURCH

 

 

CHENG HOON TENG TEMPLE IN MELAKA

Cheng Hoon Teng Temple is one of the most notable landmarks in Malacca. Set near the Hindu temple Sri Pogyatha Vinoyagar along Jalan Hang Lekiu (in Jonker Street) this Chinese temple is billed as the oldest Buddhist place of worship in the country. Built in 1646, it is also known as the ‘Merciful Cloud Temple’.

The temple is dedicated to Kuan Yin, Goddess of Mercy. A black, gold and red-robed statue of the goddess stands in the central prayer hall. Cheng Hoon Teng temple was constructed by Chan Lak Koa, son-in-law to Captain Li, Malacca’s second Chinese kapitan (a mediatory position created by the Dutch East India Company which made it possible for a non-white to govern Malacca’s diverse ethnic communities.)

History of Cheng Hoon Teng Temple

Apparently a fortune teller was consulted for advice on the location and construction of Captain Li’s grave: allegedly a grave deeper than three feet would benefit Li’s son-in-law, Chan Lak Koa, while a shallower grave would bring prosperity to his son. Whether intended or not, the grave was made three-and-a-half feet deep, and Chan Lak Koa’s relative success after his father-in-law’s death motivated him to construct the Cheng Hoon Teng Temple as an expression of gratitude for his success

Structure of Cheng Hoon Teng Temple

The main prayer hall of Cheng Hoon Teng Temple has a weighty saddled roof, domineering dark timber beams and beautiful carved woodwork. Smaller chambers devoted to ancestor worship are prominent throughout the temple: these rooms are filled with tablets bearing photographs of the deceased. Check out the wads of fake money and papier-mâché models of luxury items which are used as symbols of creature comforts for the dead. All building materials for the temple, and even the artisans concerned with its construction, were brought in from China.

Cheng Hoon Teng Temple is managed by the same board of trustees that serves Bukit Cina (the ancestral burial ground to the northeast of town). Due to the controversy surrounding the burial ground, you will see walls throughout the temple covered with newspaper clippings detailing Bukit Cina’s struggles against the authorities.
Directly opposite Cheng Hoon Teng Temple is a traditional Chinese opera theatre; beside the opera theatre is a newly constructed Xianglin temple. Also known as the Fragrant Forest Temple, this shrine follows the traditional layout of Chinese Buddhist temples.

 

 

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CHEN HOON TENG TEMPLE

 

 

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CHEN HOON TENG TEMPLE

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CHEN HOON TENG TEMPLE

 

 

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CHEN HOON TENG TEMPLE

 

 

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CHEN HOON TENG TEMPLE

 

 

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CHEN HOON TENG TEMPLE

 

 

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CHEN HOON TENG TEMPLE

 

 

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CHEN HOON TENG TEMPLE

 

 

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CHEN HOON TENG TEMPLE

 

 

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CHEN HOON TENG TEMPLE

 

 

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CHEN HOON TENG TEMPLE

 

 

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CHEN HOON TENG TEMPLE

 

 

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CHEN HOON TENG TEMPLE

 

 

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CHEN HOON TENG TEMPLE

 

 

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CHEN HOON TENG TEMPLE

 

 

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MELAKA CITY TOUR GUIDE

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JONKER WALK, MELAKA, MALAYSIA

 

The Jonker Walk situated in Malacca, Malaysia has deep rooted historical significance. In Malay, it is known as Jalan Hang Jebat. During Dutch colonial period of Malacca, it was known as Heeren Street. Later, Heeren Street transformed into Noblemen’s Street. It became one of the significant streets in the history of Malacca, Malaysia. People from other regions of Malaysia visit Jonker Walk situated on the Chinatown streets of Malaysia. It displays its significance in terms of cultural and ethnic flavor. After Dutch colonial rule, the rich Peranakans used to live on the Jonker Walk. Eventually, the Jonker Walk transformed into a Peranakan cultural hub as they started trading goods and other commodities. The Jonker Walk is known for its shops and traders. Tourists prefer such destinations as the goods sold in Jonker Street are cheap and possess unique value. The night market on Jonker Walk has its own significance as tourists often visit the market to buy goods of importance. Some of the goods sold in the market include antiques, textiles, souvenirs and other articles.

 

The shops on the Jonker Walk start across the Malacca River near Stadthuys. The Jonker Walk stretches long as the traders and shops are situated on both sides of the road. It is said that the houses located on Jonker Walk were build in 17th century. Tourists prefer to explore these pre historic houses and buy souvenirs for their loved ones. The shops on the Jonker Walk are also known for its handicraft items and relics. As compared to other markers, the night market on Jonker Walk is preferred due to its feasibility in bargaining and precious antique collection which dates back more than 300 hundred years ago.

 

 

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JONKER WALK, MELAKA, MALAYSIA

 

 

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JONKER WALK, MELAKA, MALAYSIA

 

 

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JONKER WALK, MELAKA, MALAYSIA

 

 

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JONKER WALK, MELAKA, MALAYSIA

 

 

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JONKER WALK, MELAKA, MALAYSIA

 

 

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JONKER WALK, MELAKA, MALAYSIA

 

 

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JONKER WALK, MELAKA, MALAYSIA

 

 

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JONKER WALK, MELAKA, MALAYSIA

 

 

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JONKER WALK, MELAKA, MALAYSIA

 

 

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JONKER WALK, MELAKA, MALAYSIA

 

 

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JONKER WALK, MELAKA, MALAYSIA

 

 

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JONKER WALK, MELAKA, MALAYSIA

 

 

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JONKER WALK, MELAKA, MALAYSIA

 

 

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JONKER WALK, MELAKA, MALAYSIA

 

 

A WALK THROUGH MELAKA AT NIGHT

 

 

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JONKER WALK, MELAKA, MALAYSIA

 

 

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JONKER WALK, MELAKA, MALAYSIA

 

 

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JONKER WALK, MELAKA, MALAYSIA

 

 

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JONKER WALK, MELAKA, MALAYSIA

 

 

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JONKER WALK, MELAKA, MALAYSIA

 

 

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JONKER WALK, MELAKA, MALAYSIA

 

 

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JONKER WALK, MELAKA, MALAYSIA

 

 

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JONKER WALK, MELAKA, MALAYSIA

 

 

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FROM A ROOF BAR YOU CAN SEE MELAKA SPREAD BEFORE BELOW

 

 

MALACCA RIVER

The Malacca River is the river that cuts across Malacca town, on its way to the Straits of Malacca. It separates the civic district clustered at the foot of St Paul’s Hill, from the residential and commercial district of Heeren Street and Jonker Street.

Malacca plays an important role in the development of Malacca. It was near the mouth of this river that the Hindu prince Parameswara – that’s his title rather than name – of Sumatra settled and established his kingdom at the beginning of the 15th century. His palace was built on the east bank of the river, at the foot of Malacca Hill (present day St Paul’s Hill).

In those early days and through the centuries later, Malacca River was an important conduit for trade. In addition to being a source of fresh water, it enabled access to the interior, so that forest produce such as rattan, canes, gums and resins, could to be brought down to the market. By taking control of the river, the Portuguese conquered Malacca.

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MALACCA RIVER

Melaka River was once dubbed the ‘Venice of the East’ by European seafarers. These days, it is a popular tourist attraction primarily because of the 45-minute River Cruise that takes you all the way to Kampung Morten, past Malacca town and the settlements and bridges along the riverbank.

All in all, the Melaka River spans a distance of ten km. It is said to be the birthplace of Melaka because the Sumatran prince Parameswara founded Malacca sultanate here and built his palace on the east-bank of the river (at the foot of St. Paul’s Hill) in the 1400s.

The Melaka River winds its way from Dutch Square and goes past Tan Boon Seng Bridge. During the Portuguese invasion of Malacca, they seized this bridge and cut off communications between both sides of the river, effectively dividing Malacca into two and leading to Malacca’s defeat.

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MALACCA RIVER

 

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MALACCA RIVER, AVIEW FROM THE BRIDGE

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A STREET LEADING TO A BRIDGE OVER THE MALACCA RIVER

 

PHOTOS:

LEONARD EPSTEIN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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