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Malaysia and Cambodia


This is about my upcoming trip to Malaysia and Cambodia. The first part is pre-trip - information about flights, itineraries, accommodation and all the things that you need to do to plan an overseas holiday. This is my first trip to Asia and I hope it may help others. Comments are very welcome and anyone who has travelled to Malaysia and/or Cambodia, please feel free to comment and offer any advice or tips that you think would be helpful. As of today ( 28th February) , in exactly 11 days (minus 30 minutes) I will be in Kuala Lumpur.

I had the most amazing time and hope you enjoy reading about my trip. Each post is numbered and I'm doing them in order from start to finish - a little like a diary.



116. Chinatown

After leaving the Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum. I made my way further into Chinatown with the intention of seeing several "sites". I do find Chinatown(s) fascinating, no matter where they are. Home here in Melbourne, we have a wonderful Chinatown right in the middle of the city in the Little Bourke Street area from Swanston Street all the way up to Spring Street. It's the oldest Chinatown in Australia (1851).

As I wandered around I was immersed in the sights and sounds and gaiety and hubub. I was so enjoying myself, that I did have to retrace my steps not a few times and the many tombs etc I had intended to see and photograph went unseen. I did however, manage to see a few.

Masjid Kampung Kling
This is one of the oldest mosques in the country with Sumatran architectural features. It has a three-tiered pyramid-shape rood and a pagoda like minaret, portraying a mixture of East-West architectural influences. It is the site of the Mandi safar or bathing festival celebrated by Indian moslems during the moslem month of safar. Since the Islamic lunar calendar year is 11 to 12 days shorter than the solar year, safar changes throughout the seasons. (From tourist brochure)

The mosque is in Goldsmith Road (Malay, Jalan Tukang Emas) and is also known as "Harmony Street" because it's near the Sri Poyatha Moorthi Temple and Cheng Hoon Teng Temple. With so many religious buildings it's no wonder the street is nicknamed "Harmony" Street.

Above: Masjid Kampung Kling mosque
I quite liked the roof architecture, the pyramidal type roof has white sculptured joinery and blue and white lacework around the rooflines is decorative and pleasing to the eye. As far as photos go, this was the best I could do - trying to capture the roofline in one section. I'd have liked to be able to get a shot of the roof plus the pagoda (minaret) but it wasn't possible. Now if we could just get all the people milling about with their cameras and other paraphernalia out of the way I might have stood a better chance. But alas, as often happens, it was not to be.

Above: Entrance detail
The entrance arch which is quite unique, was built at the same time as the main building.

Above: Kampung Kling Mosque
It is a minaret but resembles a pagoda. This too, has a matching green roof which I couldn't get in the shot. There are a couple of loud speakers up high in the top windows. Minarets are used for the call to prayer and provide a visual focal point. I liked the smooth straight lines of this - quite plain with unfussy detail it is the simplicity which draws the eye. At least in my opinion. There is a place for fancy artwork and carving and there is a place for understated simplicity.

Cheng Hoon Teng Temple
This beautiful old temple is at 25 Temple street (Jalan Tokong) and is one of the oldest Chinese temples in Malaysia, being built in 1645 and was was founded by the Kapitan China Tay Kie Ki aka Tay Hong Yong. It is also the most venerable of Malaysia's temples. Known too as "Temple of Clear Clouds", the main shrine hall has no nails whatsoever - nails are unlucky in Chinese culture - which makes the stateliness and dignity of Cheng Hoon Teng's structure even more impressive.

Above: Cheng Hoon Teng Temple Gates
Cheng Hoon Teng Temple is dedicated to the Goddess of Mercy, Quan Yin and was constructed by skilled workers from China - master craftsmen, artisans and carpenters and with its curved roof ridge, chien nien decoration, and gable design, reflects the architectural style and craftmanship of Southern China, mainly from the provinces of Fujian and Guangdong.
The roof of the temple, in Chinese tradition, has beautiful carvings. All the building materials were imported from China.

Above: Chien Nien ~ decorative sculptures

Above: Chien Nien
The term Chien Nien literally means "cut and glue," and is a centuries old art which is one of the most outstanding visual characteristics of Chinese temples. It is the art of turning ceramic bowls and pieces of glass into artistic figures that come alive with colour and symbolism and your eye is drawn to the decoratvie visual. Traditionally, Chien Nien turned waste into art, because the artisans used broken ceramic and porcelain bowls to construct the figures.

Did you know?
The building of Cheng Hoon Teng Temple conforms strictly to the feng shui principles, incorporating the fundamental belief that every aspect of life is closely related to attaining perfect harmony with nature. The temple was carefully laid out to ensure a view of the river and high ground on either side.

Above: Round window
This is the elaborate design on the left side of the temple gate.

Above: Cheng Hoon Teng Temple doors
Chinese characters on the doors

Above: At prayer
Inside the Cheng Hoon Teng temple. The central altar is dedicated to Kuan Yin, the goddess of mercy. To her left (in the worshippers' direction) is Ma Choe Poh, guardian of fishermen, sailors and sea travellers. Next to her is the goddess of birth. On the far end is Kuan Kong. The diety with the gold face is Pau Sen Ta Tek, the god of welding.

Welding? There's a god of welding? I mean most of us know there's a god of fishermen, and a god of war, or a god of thunder - but welding? Well, chalk that up in your memory under "Bits of Useless Trivia" - Just think, next time you're at a party, or a gathering and some smartarse know-it-all brags about his knowledge, you can bring out this little gem - bet there wouldn't be too many who know that there's a god of welding, much less the name of that god!!
There was a women's sanitary product some years ago which had bits of useless trivia on the wrapping. One that sticks in my mind is "Sausages were legal tender in East Germany until 1990" - see what I mean by Bits of Useless Trivia?

Hang Kasturi's Mausoleum
Hang Kasturi was one of the five famous Malay warriors during the time of the Malacca Sultanate, particularly during the reign of Sultan Mansur Shah (1456-1477), the other four being Hang Tuah, Hang Jebat, Hang Lekiu and Hang Lekir. As young men, they studied the martial art of silat under the same silat master.

Above: The mausoleum is surrounded by high, white walls.
Do yon know, one thing I've never really understood is why are there always high walls around a cemetery or mausoleum? I mean it's not like those on the outside want to be in there and those on the inside aren't going to get out. Hmmm ...

What is Silat?
Silat is the word for indigenous martial arts that originates from Malaysia. Silat is one of the sports included in the South East Asia Games. The best way to describe this (Silat) in my own words would be it is a collection of different styles of fighting combined together.

Above: Hang Kasturi's tomb
Hang Kasturi's tomb has strong Hindu influences in its structures, typically there are the triangular holes for putting oil lamps. (So says the brochure). Me? I thought the uprights had a Moorish look to them and the triangular cutouts were for decoration.

Who was Hang Kasturi?
There's obviously been very little written about him because if there was, I would have found it by now. I've searched that many websites (even translated from Malay to English) to no avail. The bare minimum is all that comes up and by the bare minimum I do mean the bare minimum - it's not enough to fill a postage stamp.

Now, I've read through the stories and rather than do the stilted version, I'll just write it in my own words .....

ONCE UPON A TIME there lived a fellow called Hang Kasturi who hung out with his four best mates - Hang Jebat, Hang Lekir, Hang Lekiu and Hang Tuah. Kasturi and his mates had learned the Malaysian martial arts since they were knee high to a grasshopper and by the time they reached adulthood were the very best warriors around.

Word of their great fighting skill reached the Sultan's ears and he picked them to be his personal guards. Sultan Mansur Shah was pretty pleased with them for they fought his wars, helped him conquer enemies and gained him greater power.

But (there's always a but) it seems that some people at the Royal Court suffered with the green eyed monster and got pretty pissed off and plotted and planned ways to get rid of them. Word got around that one of them (Hang Tuah) was having it off with one of the Sultan's fancy women. Now - a Sultan may be thankful indeed to these blokes for all they had done for him but come near any of his women and you're up you know what creek without a paddle. So what is a Sultan to do? "Off with his head" - Sultan ordered the bloke killed, in other words, shoot first, ask questions later.

The chap charged with getting rid of Hang Tuah thought it was a crock and hid him in the jungle.

Now, when Kasturi heard about his friend, he was so angry he rose against the Sultan who later found out that Hang Tuah was innocent, wasn't dead, gave him a pardon and ordered him to kill Kasturi. Turns out both of these blokes were good and honest and hadn't been dallying around - it was Hang Jebat who had been having it off with one of the Sultan's women. But ... with the annals of time it really doesn't seem all that important today. I like to think that Jebat fell in love and the lady returned his love and they were a pair of star-crossed lovers. In another place, another time, things may have been different.

I don't really think much of this Sultan, this Mansur Shah to be honest. He couldn't be bothered to investigate whether the claim against Hang Tuah was true or not, he acted in haste and made a bad judgement. One wonders whether it was his heart that was hurt or just his pride. Understandably, a man wouldn't much like the idea of being a cuckold but he should still have asked questions. Because of his pride people were killed. They were pretty ruthless and blood-thirsty in them days weren't they?

Above: Tomb of Hang Kasturi information board

Sri Poyyatha Vinayaga Moorthy temple
Moving on from Hang Kasturi's resting place, we come to this colourful little beauty - the Sri Poyyatha Vinayaga Moorthy temple. Bit of a mouthful that. Built in 1781 by the HIndu community, the Sri Poyyatha Vinayagar Moorthi Temple (sometimes referred to as simply Sri Poyyatha Temple) is said to be the oldest Hindu Temple in Malaysia. The temple is dedicated to the deity Vinayagar, aka Ganesha, the elephant deity.

Sri Poyyatha Vinayagar Moorthi Temple is the main focal point for the Hindu community in Malacca as it links all the other Hindu temples in Malacca.
Above: The gopuram of the temple
I couldn't get a decent photo of this place - the lower section was all locked and had bars in front of it. It looked rather old and forlorn and not very happy. So I've cropped the picture and just showing the gopuram and a section of roofline.

Above: Sri Poyyatha Vinayaga Moorthy temple
This is what the inside looks like, I pushed the camera lens through the bars to take this photo. From what I've been able to find out, it's mostly used for celebrations now.

Above: Chinese temple
A Chinese temple I found. No idea which street it's in or what it's called.

Above: Shopping

Above: Orang Belanda Art Café
The Orang Belanda Art Café (or Dutchman's Art Café) is in Heeren Street near where I was staying. They do French, Dutch and Scandinavian cuisine.

An Orang Belanda also refers to the Proboscis monkey

Next: A Chinese funeral.


115.The Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum

The Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum here is a must see. There are two ladies who do guided tours (the slimmer lady was really fun) and tours run for about 30-40 minutes. The museum is right in the middle of Chinatown and runs parallel to Jonker Street

About the Baba Nyonya Museum
The house was built in 1896, and was the family home of the Baba Chan family known as Rumah Abu. Chan Kim Lay, aged 83, is the fourth generation of his family.
It is in a well-preserved traditional Peranakan town house, built in 1896 by millionaire rubber planter Chan Cheng Siew. Today it is owned by William Chan and his family, who conduct tours of their ancestral home. The interior is that of a typical 19th-century residence and all the rooms are still as they would have been 100 years ago. The house contains family heirlooms and antiques, including Nyonyaware porcelain and blackwood furniture with marble or mother-of-pearl inlay, and silverware. There is also a collection of traditional wedding costumes, photographs and kitchen utensils. The kitchen sink has the name of William Chan's great grandfather carved on it. The information-packed tours are run regularly throughout the day.

Above: Baba and Nyonya
This cut out is to the left of the entrance door. You can see here the beautiful clothes that were worn at the time.

Sunday 21st March
Today's "sightseeing" was on the Chinatown side of the Malacca River. I asked Liz (part owner of Heeren House) the best route to take to avoid backtracking and the Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum was first on my "list" seeing as it was in Heeren Street, only just up the road from where I was staying. The metal security door was locked and you had to press the bell. A lady came, asked did I want to do a tour, the next one was starting in about 15 minutes and let me in. Price was a few ringitts. She said no photos were allowed inside the museum (you can take as many pics as you like of the outside though) This (she said) was because people came, took photos and made copies of the furnishings. At the end of the tour you can buy souvenirs. (I bought postcards and took photos of the postcards.)

Above: Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum
We learnt the fascinating history of the Baba Nyonyas who are descendants of the Chinese who came to Malaysia and married Malays. The offspring were the Baba (male) Nyonya (female). They are also known as ‘Straits-born Chinese’ or ‘Peranakans’. The Straits Chinese were of noble descent and adopted much of the Malay culture as their own. Elderly Chinese ladies were very conservative and would peek through the holes in the fancy carved timber to see who was in the room where the master of the house conducted his business affairs.

Above: Jee Ho
The Chinese signboard above the main door way is called a Jee Ho.

Above: Baba Nyonya Entrance
As we walked through the middle door (see in photo above), we learnt that the present owner who is the grandson (or the great grandson?) of the original owner had turned his family home into a museum some years ago and was about 70 or 80 years old, and though he might be "old" his brain is as sharp as a tack. The Chinese man who originally bought the house, bought one house first, then the second then the third and turned them into one house. Originally the entrance was the door of the house to the right but that has now been locked and the middle house has the entrance.

Above: The First Lady of the House
After walking in, we moved to the room on the right which is where business was conducted. Chinese ladies never took part in this and the wives of the business men sat in another room and played card games. The table had drink holders which could be pulled out from the table to hold cups/glasses. They must have been very bored playing cards and eating sweetmeats. A far different lifestyle than today.

Moving back into the centre and walking towards the back is a very large area with a sunken tiled area. There is no roof - houses were very narrow, had windows at the front only, so natural light was needed and was therefore necessary to have this area for when it rained, otherwise the house would have been flooded. Another interesting fact - the only door is at the front - there are no back doors. So bad guys had no way of entering the house. That is also the reason windows are at the front of the house only.

Moving toward the front of the house, just in front of the atrium is a beautiful staircase with carpet on the upper level. We were told to remove our shoes. The first part is circular and at the top on the right is a long hallway with sideboards displaying antiques. One of these held very, very old bottles of brandy and cognac. We were instructed not to sample them. Asking the tour guide if the taste would be better now due to age, she laughed and said she wasn't sure but nobody was game enough to try!

Above: Baba Nyonya carved furniture

We may think we invented CCTV, but those Chinese invented it first! They were very smart - after climbing up the stairs, we were led to the area in the middle of the house near the front and instructed to look down. There was a small square about 6" (15 cms), our guide pulled something and lifted it off and there we had a view of the entrance door below. She explained this was how the master of the house determined who he would allow to come into his home - if he didn't like the look of you, a bowl of water would be tipped out over you, so always hold an umbrella over your head!

Bridal Chamber
Above: Bridal Chamber
The bridal chamber which you see above is a most magnificant bed with rich tapestries and furnishings. This is where the master of the house and his bride slept. There is a ceremony held first before they jump into bed. As marriages were arranged, the bride had only seen her bridegroom's face through the peephole before the wedding, the groom hadn't seen the bride at all and they needed to get to know each other first. Such a sensible idea really.

There was a large mirror a few feet from the bed, the bride sat on a chair near the bed and the groom would look in the mnirror to see the face of his bride. This way he was prepared should he be unlucky enough to have married an ugly lady! (As I mentioned, such a sensible idea don't you think?) After this, they would then sit at a table and partake of drinks and foods while they became comfortable with each other. The bed is quite small by today's standards as people were quite a bit shorter and smaller back in those days.

Above: Inside the museum
Coming out from the bridal chamber we moved to the left along a passageway to the children's rooms. This passage had windows which faced the front and we could see the courtyard below. There was a staircase off to the right and for safety and security there was a folding door which opened at the top staircase area and unfolded to seal off access. Very good if the husband had had a night on the town and wanted to sneak in. Also very useful if the lady of the house was annoyed with him - all she had to door was seal this off and the poor old husband had to spend the night outdoors!☺

Coming back down the stairs, putting our shoes back on we were led to the kitchens. Those poor servants had no modern day conveniences of today and must have been a very healthy bunch indeed. The master and his family ate at one table - there was another table (not nearly as glorious) where the servants ate. Beautiful china was arrayed and the more intricate the design, the wealthier the family. Blue and white china is used for funerals only. You can see in the above collage, top left hand photo,  the pink floral china which was in use.

The owner of the house had had installed modern toilets near here which we could use, and souvenirs were in a smallish alcove. It was a most instructive tour and should I find myself in Malacca again, I'd definitely do the tour again.

Next: Chinatown

114. Water Wheels and Bandir Hilir

Above: Palm

Above: People's Museum Triptych
Quite a handsome building - yes? I smiled when I saw it was the People's Museum and also the Museum of Enduring Beauty. Museum of Enduring Beauty? Now what, I wondered. could that be? Beautiful ladies with smiling faces of incredible beauty dressed in soft silks, their dark hair flowing loosely? Or make-up and hair products? This, I decided, needed some investigation. So - to work.

The Museum of Enduring Beauty
The Museum of Enduring Beauty which was opened in 1996, is to create awareness of the different viewpoints held by different cultures and different periods of time on what constitutes "beauty". It is also to display exhibits to show how different cultures worldwide interpret "beauty".
The exhibition ranges from very early periods in human history to the modern era. The pictures and other exhibits reveal the differing concepts of "beauty" as practised by different cultures. Some of the exhibits reveal the pain and agony some people would have to endure to achieve the concept of beauty as visualised by their community and culture.

Among the different concepts of beauty exhibited are skin tattooing, stretching lips by the insertion of round discs, moulding heads into oval shapes and restricting the growth of feet. Ouch! Sounds painful. Tattoos, yes well, people get tattooed today, and bound feet I know was practised in China until not all that long ago. (How those poor women ever walked with their little stubs of feet I'll never know) But ladies with brass rings around their necks to elongate them and stretched ear lobes with plates.

You know something? When I look in the mirror, I don't think I look to bad after all.

Melaka Water Wheel

Above: Water Wheel
The Malacca River is the site that witnessed the birth of the Malacca port during the Malacca Sultanate. It serves as an international port for both the East and the West including South East Asia, China, India and Europe during the 15th and 16th centuries.

It was recorded that as many as 84 languages and dialects were spoken in Malacca with four harbourmasters responsible for the welfare of the foreign traders. AT its peak, some 2,000 trading ships docked at the ancient port.

Traders from the lands of Arab, Persia, India, China Ryukyu, Philippines and Thailand gathered at the port owing to its natural strategic location. The port was located at the narrowest point of the Straits of Malacca, which was meeting point for the changing monsoon trade winds while offering protection from the typhoons from Sumatra.

The Malacca River once again witnesses history being created with the construction of the 13 metre tall water wheel of the Malacca Sultanate. The water wheel usually located in fast moving waters, was used to channel water for the large number of traders. Such water wheel technology can be found in Hama, Syria, China, India and Europe.

The construction of the replica Water Wheel of the Malacca Sultanate represents the greatness of Malacca and its technological feat for tourists to view up close. The turning of the water wheel symbolises the wheel of life and evolution of man's civilisation. Its continuous revolution represents the quest for discovery of knowledge with history to be viewed as a guide and lesson for all times.

Above: Water Wheel info

The Malacca Fort
The Malacca Fort, built in the 15th century, was a prominent landmark during the Malacca Sultanate. This was where the administrative complex and royal residences were located. The complex, guarded by armed warriors, also housed the palace, mosque and sentry towers. Laterite red stone was the main material available then and used to build and integrate the buildings in the complex. The bulk of the building material was sourced from Pulau Lupeh, Pulau Melaka, Tanjung Kling, Sebatu and Bukit Piatu.

Above: Malacca Fort

Malacca was subject to change with each successive colonial power that came to control it. In 1511, the Portuguese captured Malacca and heedlessly destroyed the Malay fortification. In 1512, the Portuguese replaced the old Malacca Center with another fort named Fortaleza de Malacca, which largely resembled the other Portuguese forts built in other parts of Asia and Africa. The Portuguese fort, completed in 1588, covered an area of 1.4 kms. On this site were located the administration building, governor's residence, hospital, quarters for employees, a church, and barracks for the army. The fort was equipped with eight bulwarks.

When the Dutch captured Malacca in 1641, they renamed the eight bulwarks: Victoria (St. Domingo), Emelia (Madre de Deus), Henriette Louyse (Onze Mille Virgines), Wilhelmus (Santiago), Mauritius (Hospital dos Pobres), Frederick Hendrik (Courassa), Ernst Casimir (Mora) and Amsterdam (Hospital Del Rey).
In 1660 and 1678, the Dutch reinforced this complex of defensive walls by building another bulwark called Middleburg, making a total of nine bulwarks.

Above: St. John Fort info

Malacca declined when the British ruled from 1795 to 1818. The Fort of Malacca that strongly attracted trading groups and commerce was destroyed in 1807, influencing residents and traders to move to Penang. The move to develop a new trading post in Penang proved a failure as it could hardly compete with the well established Malacca and its long standing trade links and flourishing reputation. While the British design was less than successful, the Fort of Malacca was soon destroyed. Only the Porta de Santiago was left intact.

Archeological excavations conducted by the Department of National Heritage in 2006 discovered the site of the Malacca Fort. Following this, the structure of the fort was revealed, making it open in 2008. The Middleburg was then reconstructed, based on archeological research and excavations, written documents, reports and discussions among local and foreign experts in the field of archeology, history, architecture and geology.
(Department of National Heritage)

Next: The Baba Nyonya Museum


113. The Forbidden Garden of the Palace of the Malay Sultanate of Melaka

About the Forbidden Garden
The Palace of the Malay Sultanate of Melaka was constructed together with a botanical garden known as the Forbidden Garden. The Forbidden Garden has the same concept of the play area of the royal princesses during the era of the Malacca Sultanate. Although, it has never been clearly recorded that the garden actually existed at the palace, by comparison with other palaces of the Malay world, it can be visualised that such a garden did exist in Malacca too.

As was related by a Chinese traveller, there were various types of trees that grew luxuriantly. In the said garden various types of vegetation are grown, including flowering plants such as jasmine, frangipani, "Kenanga", (fragrant greenish yellow flower), as well as herbal plants such as lemon grass 'Tongkat Ali' and others.

Above: Garden collage
There were waterfalls and little bridges and it was a delightful place to linger. Below are some of the photos I took. I hope you enjoy their simple, yet well planned beauty.

Above: Facing the Palace

Above: A worker cleans the pathway
Not a leaf out of place - everywhere is beautifully maintained.

Above: Facing away from the Palace

Above: The "Avenue"
This I have called the "Avenue" because of the long(ish) walk along the stoned path to the monument at the end. There is a commemorative design at the beginning of the walk. (See last photograph)

Above: Hidden corner
I really liked the semi-circular shape and sat on the wooden seat there. It was quiet and I remember inhaling the aroma of the flowering plants. Bougainvillea in the front - there's a variegated one on the left, with Juniperus Chinensis Pyramidalis behind (I have two of these in pots at home, they're prickly) - they are a lovely blue/green colour and smell fragrant on a cool day, Cypress to the left, and a pine in the background. Pines, junipers and cypress all had colour and fragrance.

Above: Dated 15th April 1989
On here is written Melaka Bandaraya Bersayarah which translated is English is Malacca City Berseyarah. This commemorative design is at the beginning of the "Avenue".


112. Palace of the Malay Sultanate of Melaka

The Palace was something I really, really wanted to see. Silly me, I thought it was the actual palace where the sultans lived. It wasn't till I got here that I found out it's a replica. A brilliantly done replica too.

Okay now, it was built in 1984 and is a wooden replica of Sultan Mansur Shah's palace, he's the Sultan who ruled Melaka from 1456 to 1477. This building is built of only two types of hardwood, 'chengal' and 'rasak', and the roof is made of 'belian' wood. And ... no nails were used in the construction of the building, only wooden pegs. That's amazing. To think that they built this huge palace and only used wooden pegs. Wow! Bet there wouldn't be too many able to do that!

The museum cost the Malaccan government RM2.5million to build and was officially opened to the public on 17th July, 1986 by Malaysia's Prime Minister Dato' Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad. There's over 1,350 items including prints, photographs, drawings, and artefacts representing the history and cultural heritage of the Malay Sultanate of Malacca and the various communities who came to settle here during that period.

The palace has a ground floor (well obviously) and two upper floors and is divided into eight chambers and three galleries including chambers of the Royal band, weaponry, decorative arts, emissaries and gifts, a recreation hall, an audience hall and an Islamic hall.

IN some of the galleries, you learn about the famous clash between the legendary warriors Hang Tuah and Hang Jebat, there's these beautiful traditional costumes and the pièce de résistance - the royal bedchamber! There are a lot of exhibits - prints and photographs of the Malacca Sultanate, a model of the Sultan Mansur Shah Palace (I took a photo of that), Malay weapons, Malay traditional wedding dress, jewellery and brass ware. I remember reading about those warriors and there were models of them but my camera isn't all that good when I take indoor shots and the light is poor, so I restricted myself to taking just a few photos which I knew would come out alright.

Above: Entrance gate
You walk through this gate, the entrance fee is 2 ringgit and you get given a plastic bag for your shoes. You aren't allowed to wear shoes when you go inside (the building). I can understand that, because if you have hundreds of people all going through, the floor would get damaged. From here it's just a short walk to the palace itself.

Above: Palace of the Malay Sultanate of Malacca
I just adore the steep roof and gables - not only are they appealing to look at, the steepness aids in deflecting heat and helps in keeping the indoors cool.

Above: Front entrance
At the top of the stairs is a wooden verandah and these two fearsome warriors standing guard. I wouldn't like to upset them - those spears look awfully sharp!
You can see the beautiful detail surrounding the doorway - hand crafted designs, fancy gold leaf surround the entrance. It truly is a work of at. I wonder how many hours and how many artisans it took to create this?

Above: Scale model
For this photo, I have cropped it and chosen a wide width to better show the model. There is a sign in front with information, but unfortunately I forgot to take a photo of it.

Above: Boardgame
These two young lasses are playing a game, the name of which I do not know. It obviously isn't draughts, don't think it's chess (not that I know how to play chess). If any of you reading this know the name of the game, could you please leave a comment and let me know? It'd be really good to find out what it's called and much appreciated. (Thanks)

Above: Audience Hall
This is what is known as a diorama which is a three-dimensional full-size or miniature model. It shows the audience hall of the Sultan. In Malay, this hall is called Balairong Ser.

Above: Explanation of hall
As you can see, I've taken a photo of the information board which explains who the people are. If you click on the photo to enlarge it, you can read the writing. The left page is in Malay, the right side of the page is in English. Whilst I or you, might not know who the figures are, there can be no doubt as to which one is the Sultan! He's the chap at the very end in gold.

Above: Kris (dagger)
This is one of the daggers on display. I've translated from the information card -
"The kris or dagger, is from the Upper Peninsula and has been in use for over 600 years. The kris originated in Java."

With the introduction of firearms in the 16th century by European powers, the kris started losing popularity as a battle weapon. Today it is seen as a ceremonial piece.
Wicked looking thing isn't it? Could do a lot of damage that.☺

Above: Royal bedchamber
The pièce de résistance - the Royal Bedchamber. Ooh La La - imagine sleeping in this. Isn't it magnificent? I love the colours. And a four poster too. It ticks all the boxes!
In Malay, it is known as Balai Beradu.

Above: Sultan Mansur Syah's tombstone
There was a plaque with information about this tombstone and it reads -

The tombstone of Sultan Mansur Syah of Malacca who reigned from 1456 until his death in 1477. This tombstone was probably moved from its original place by the Portuguese in 1511 and was found on St. Paul's hill, Malacca in 1918. It was later kept in the Raffles museum Singapore and was returned to the National Museum in 1954.

This has been translated as:-
"This is the consecrated the holy grave the brilliant illuminated tomb of the just Sultan, the magnanimous ruler Sultan Mansur Shah. He removed from his mortal abode on the Wednesday of rejab in the year 882 after hijrah of the prophet, the chosen one."

This has been translated as:-
The world is but transistory; the world has no permanence;;
The world is like a house made by a spider......

Above: Tun Teja's tombstone
There's a tombstone of a Malay princess near the Sultan's and I've copied the information -

Tun Teja was the daughter of Seri Amar Diraja, the Bendahara of Pahang who later became the Queen of Sultan Mahmud Shah (1488 - 1511). This tombstone is only a replica of the actual gravestone which is located at Pengkalan Samak, Merlimau about 24 km from the town of Malacca.

I couldn't help thinking about the poor Princess, no big, grand words for her even though she was a Royal, just a few simple lines. But I bet if she'd been a Prince she'd have had a far more detailed eulogy.

A Bit of Trivia
The Malacca Cultural Museum was first inaugurated in March 1954 by the then Resident Commissioner of Melaka, G.E.C. Wisdom, C.M.G., in a Dutch house built around 1660. The Cultural Museum was later moved to the Stadhuys in 1982 before it was finally moved into the Melaka Sultanate Palace.

Next: The Forbidden Garden Of The Palace Of The Malay Sultanate Of Melaka.


111. Dataran Pahlawan Heroes Square

Dataran Pahlawan Mega Mall is in the Bandar Hilir area, facing Jalan Merdeka (South Gate) at the front and Jalan Kota at the back (North Gate).
Dataran is the bahasa word for square and Pahlawan means heroes, therefore the name translates as Heroes Square.

It's built on the actual battle ground of the war-time days and was then turned into a field in front of the A'Famosa fort. There's an interesting "time-capsule" corner with a fountain and wall sculptures depicting Malacca's history.
I read somewhere that it's the biggest mall in Southern Malaysia.

I didn't come here to shop, it was a matter of life or death - literally. It was a race against time to find the ladies loo. Well, what do you expect, after drinking all that water. That's the only downside to keeping one's fluids up - what goes in must come out! (It's worse sitting in a tuk-tuk travelling over a bumpy road full of potholes. Believe me I know what I'm talking about)☺

Above: Former bullock wagon
This cute wagon was outside and to the right of where I entered Dataran Pahlawan - you can see the steps I went up to the left of the wagon.

Above: Mosaic steps
I was really taken with these steps. The design was great and the colours bright and cheerful. Looks like a great deal of work has gone into creating this mosaic by some very talented people. Alas, I haven't been able to find out any information about them. I'd love to know whose idea it was and who created them.

Above: Dataran Pahlawan - Dome and Sculpture Wall
Sculpture wall at the fountain. The Fountain Wall and Sculpture tell Malacca's history from the time of Parameswara to Tunku Abdul Rahman.

Above: Fountain
Relaxing at the fountain - it's a great place to cool down.

Above: Dome
The red section looks like an upturned Lotus flower and if you enlarge the picture, you can see the detail - it isn't just red, it has a raised pattern with little bits of black and red. Each "petal" is fluted with three wavy lines running down. Atop this are nine metal curved supports holding a light. It's quite a brilliant design.

Next I went and had lunch, but for the sake of continuity, I've put the two outdoor photos of the history wall which were taken after lunch, here.

Above: History wall
In this section, you can see the Melaka River (there are several boats on the river), surrounded by buildings. There is a palm to the left of the river. The lower frontispiece shows a bridge spanning the width with people crossing over.

Above: History wall - Independence Ceremony at Merdeka Stadium, August 31, 1957
There are nine seated and two standing gents. The other men standing are perhaps servants - they are holding large umbrellas over the heads of those seated. The seated gentleman fifth from the right is in army uniform and has a sword - the Queen’s representative, the Duke of Gloucester. The figure to his left (Or right when looking at the picture) sports a safari helmet. The other chaps are in traditional costume. The main standing figure has his right hand raised and wears glasses. I'm guessing he is Tunku Abdul Rahman. The rest of the sculpture is filled with hundreds of people watching the proceedings.

Always check your work
I wanted to make sure that what I had written was correct, so did a bit of searching on the computer and found the above history wall was depicting what I thought it was - a re-creation of Independence Day, 1957. Below is the photograph I found confirming this. As a result, I have tweaked a bit of the above. (Because I know the answers now).

Above: Tunku Abdul Rahmam chanted "Merdeka" (Independence) August 31,1957
As you can see, the artwork of the sculpture work is an identical likeness of the photo that bears witness.

See it on Youtube
For those who are interested - I did a search on Youtube and found a video of the actual Independence Day 1957 ceremony.

Independence Day Ceremony, 31 August 1957

It wasn't until I was writing this post - it was actually when I was writing about the sculpture wall, the one depicting Malaysia's Independence that I realised just how significant and important this was. After almost 450 years of foreign rule, to finally gain independence and have your country given back and be ruled by your own people, must have been a day of great happiness. Coming from a country such as Australia, we haven't lived this situation. I'm grateful at having the good fortune to travel because it opens your eyes to new things and I have the opportunity to learn.

Above: Food court
By this stage I was pretty hungry and found my way to the food court. I forgot to write down the name of the place where I ate, but it was in this area here. The colours were bright and cheerful and the place was blessedly cool.

Above: Hainanese chicken rice
Lunch - I practically live on this dish throughout most of my time in Malaysia. Well, I did eat other foods but this was my favourite. This was one of the cheapest, it only cost 5 ringgit here. S'funny isn't it how the same meal can cost so much more depending on where you eat.

After leaving the mall, I still had two more things on my "list". I found them both quite by accident. The first was the independence monument.

Above: Proclamation of Independence Memorial 31st August 1957
The Proclamation of Independence Memorial is an important monument - this is where Tunku Abdul Rahman, Malaysia's first Prime Minister first declared the date for the independent of Malaysia in 1956, a year before 31 August 1957. The place where the monument stands is in a corner of Pahlawan Square.

There's a sign that reads:

"The following ceremonies were performed on this site on the 31st day of August, 1957.

(i) The handing over of the instrument of independence by the Hon'ble Resident Commissioner (Mr. H. G. Hammett, M.C.S.O. to his Excellency the Governor of Malacca (Mr. Leong Yew Koh).

(ii) The reading of the Proclamation of Independence by the Hon'ble Chief Minister, Malacca, Dato'Kurnia Jasa Osman Bin Talib.

(iii) The raising of the Malacca state flag."

Above: Dataran Pahlawan
The monument in front of the mall.

Next: Off to find the Cultural Museum - the Malacca Sultanate Palace.

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