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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.



110. Bandar Hilir Walk

Saturday 20th March
Woke up at 5AM went back to sleep, then woke at 7 (AM). Had breakfast at 8.00AM - scrambled egg, sausage which was a chicken hot dog, small in size, (had I realised how tasty they were, I'd have had them when I was in Georgetown!), half a hash brown, baked beans, sliced tomato and 2 pieces of toast with butter and jam. Tea and coffee.
Tried to start a conversation with other guests but not much happened on that front. People (the guests) seemed rather stuffy - like they had a poker up their Khyber Pass! Hmmm. Nuf said.

Anyway, sitting at the table, I wrote a list in order of things to see. Dutch cemetery, Cultural Museum (Melaka Sultanate Palace), Port De Santiago (A'Formosa), the People's Museum and the Proclamation of Independence. I managed to find them all, but not in that order. I was so close and hadn't realised it - went the long way round, up, up, up all those ruddy steps to St. Paul's.
Found the Memorial by accident. Shopping complex - Dataran Pahlawan, Digital Domain North West. Went to loo (urgent) then had lunch. So readeth my diary.

Bandar Hilir (Lower City)
I set out, camera at hand and bottle of water in tow. Even though it was still earlyish, it was on the humid side so drinking plenty of water is necessary. I came across this lovely park.

The park was originally named Taman Merdeka and was officiated by Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj, the first Prime Minister of Malaysia after the Declaration of Independence Date of Malaya on his return from London on 20th February, 1956.

Bullock cart
In the early 20th century, bullocks carts were a common site in Malaysian streets - before the advent of the motor car, people used them for travel and for transporting goods. The driver and passengers sat in the front section of the two-wheeled vehicle and goods were placed in the back. These carts had a woven attap roof, and it's thought they were introduced by Indian traders during the Melaka Sultanate.

In Malacca, tourists can have a ride in a traditional bullock cart (kereta lembu)for RM10 and covers a distance of one kilometre. The carts hold up to five people. I think it'd be rather fun riding in one of these - it's something that isn't around anymore and being able to experience something of the past is always fun, although it probably wasn't considered "fun" in the old days. What is it about things that are no longer used or around that we love to see them, sit on it, ride in it, dress up in it, walk around it? There's something wistful about it all.

Note: The cart is real, the bullock are not! ☺

Taman Bunga Merdeka Bandaraya Melaka
Above: Independence Park (Taman Bunga Merdeka Bandaraya Melaka)
After a bit of hunting around, I find it is called Independence Park in English. I liked the way it was set out and it was a nice find to see the greenery and plants in a city area. Sitting under the trees was restful and being in the shade you feel a little cooler. Out comes the water bottle, I close my eyes and inhale the smell of nature on the breeze. I could sit here forever, it's just so peaceful and relaxing. But - time waits for no man and I, well I am on a schedule, a mission, to see all the things Malacca has to offer, so off I go, strength renewed.

Above: Trees
I think the topiary is quite stunning, don't you? I like the way they fit in with their surroundings. Topiary is the art of trimming and shaping trees into an interesting array of shapes and sizes to add an artistic touch. The tops of the trees look a bit like an umbrella. I like them.

Above: Red and gold pillars
These look like an entrance to a different section of the gardens. If you click on the picture to enlarge it, you'll be able to see how it is laid out and get a more detailed view of the different plantings.

I shall pause here for a moment - there was this monk, a fake monk who had been pestering me the day before for money. Joanne said he had asked her and several others for money, had tapped her on the arm and was selling things. I told her real monks don't touch women and they don't sell things. Anyway, here he was again, he had come up to me just before I entered the park, and here he is again - not a half hour later - bowl in one hand and waving these Buddhas with red tassels. I'm afraid I did the unforgivable - the thing one should never, do - I raised my voice telling him he had already asked me before and I told you no then. And I told him to bugger off. (That's Aussie slang for get lost). Oh. Then I remembered. You don't raise your voice. My eyes glanced around and I could see everybody looking at me, then quickly turn away. Oh, I should have known better. Don't raise your voice and get angry - people lose face. I sighed. But - I can tell you that was the only time, I never repeated the same mistake. Anyway.. moving on ...

Above: Commemorative marker
After walking through the red/gold pillars, I came across this marker which was on the right-hand side. The marker reads:
The launch was officiated in conjunction Gotong-Royong Melaka by Y.A.B. Datuk Seri Hj. Mohod Bin Mohod Ali Sustam Chief Menteru Malacca On Sunday 4th January, 2004. (I have translated from Malay to English).

Taman ini pada asalnya dinamakan Taman Merdeka dan telah dirasmikan oleh
Almarhum Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj, Perdana Menteri Malaysia yang pertama sempena Pengisytiharan Tarikh Kemerdekaan Tanah Melayu (Malaya) di Melaka sekembalinya dari London pada 20 Februari 1956)

NOTE: Gotong-/Royong means lots people working together in co-operation with one another.

Above: Reindeer
Reindeer? In Malaysia? Well not real ones obviously - they couldn't stand the heat!☺ These artistic reindeer have rope lights on them which would look very pretty when turned on. We associate reindeer with Christmas - you know, those cute little animals that pull Santa's Sleigh.
I actually had the good fortune to see a real reindeer when I was in New Zealand, this is the photo I took.

I found a poem called "We are a team of Reindeer" written by a Malaysian lady named Jacinta Ramayah so I'm including it in this post as I do think it appropriate.

We Are A Team Of Reindeer
We've been Santa's favorite pets for a long while now
no dogs nor cats for him, no goats nor cows.

Eight of us in a mob, no-one knew we each had a name
then came a red-nosed mate who gave us some fame.

As the leader I, Dasher, was the first to speed ahead,
I was his captain that was what Santa usually said.

Dancer is the lightest who could land neatly on a roof
he would brake at the edge with his tiny little hoof.

Skidding and bumping, that would be good old Prancer
he is the frisky one and Santa's jolly young deer.

The wily one is Vixen, from wolves he could get away
that hid in the snow hoping we would go astray.

At the speed of a bullet, that's how Comet could fly
to make sure children slept he'd bleat a lullaby.

Cupid has the prettiest eye-lashes you ever did see
On Santa he batted them, who'd never stay angry.

An ear-splitting “Stop!” is what Donder could crack
his thunderous voice helped get us back on track.

With his keen sense of direction Blitzen knew where to go
he would take us safely through storm and snow.

Santa asked Rudolph for help and on that occasion he rose
tho' we did laugh at him, we are grateful for his nose.

There are nine of us with Santa, if you see us passing by
don't be afraid, we're a team of deer bringing you joy.

Malacca Transport Museum ~ A Plane in the Park
Imagine my surprise when I saw a plane there in the park. I didn't know then that it was part of the Malacca Transport Museum, but I wish I had because I've since found there a many exhibits from long ago to the not too distant past and I would have greatly enjoyed looking at them.

Above: Scottish Aviation Twin Pioneer FM1064
To my way of thinking, it's important to find out about things or places I've photographed and this plane was no exception. It did present quite a challenge let me tell you and it took me many hours of googling and research but eventually I did find what I was looking for.

The plane is a Scottish Aviation Twin Pioneer, Registration FM1064. The FM-1064 (cn 583) is an Ex-RMAF aircraft and was donated by the Royal Malaysian Airforce to the Malacca Transport Museum (Muzium Pengangkutan Melaka).

The Scottish Aviation Twin Pioneer was a British STOL (short takeoff and landing) transport aircraft built by Scottish Aviation Limited at Prestwick Airport, Scotland, during the 1950s. It was designed for both civil and military operators

Above: Front view
The Twin Pioneer is also powered by Alvis radials and features a high wing, but is much larger, capable of seating up to 16 passengers in the main cabin. Designed for both civil and military applications, the Twin Pioneer was also one of the few postwar aircraft to feature a high wing and tail wheel undercarriage.

The military version could carry external stores such as bombs under the stub wings. One aircraft became the first aircraft for the newly formed Royal Malaysian Air Force. FM1062 c/n580 and FM c/n581 were delivered to the Malaysian Air Force 16 January 1962 and FM1064 c/n 583 FM1065 c/n 584 were delivered two days later. The first two aircraft were taken "on charge" by No 1 Squadron Royal Malaysian Air Force. The type served with the air force for 12 years.

Royal Malaysian Air Force
The Royal Malaysian Air Force (Tentera Udara DiRaja Malaysia in Malay), was formed on 2 June 1958 as the Royal Federation of Malaya Air Force and its roots can be traced back to the Malayan Auxiliary Air Force formations of the British Royal Air Force in colonial British Malaya.

After the withdrawal of British military forces from Malaysia and Singapore at the end of 1971, a five-nation agreement between Malaysia, Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, and the United Kingdom was concluded to ensure defence against external aggression. The Royal Australian Air Force maintained two Mirage IIIO squadrons at the Butterworth Air Base as part of its commitment to the Five Power Defence Agreement. These squadrons were withdrawn in 1986, although occasional deployments of RAAF aircraft continue. From a one aircraft airforce in 1958 and a crew of 14 men, the RMAF has grown to a force it is today, with MiG-29s, F-18s and SU-30s.

Above: Royal Malaysian Air Force Crest
It was created in 1936 as Malayan Auxiliary Air Force, disbanded after World War II, reactivated in 1950. The passing of Air Force Ordinance by the Parliament on 2 June 1958 saw the creation of Royal Malayan Air Force. The first adviser was seconded from the Royal Air Force(RAF), Air Commodore A.V.R Johnstsone who became the first Chief of the Royal Malayan Air Force (RMAF). The proud few who formed the RMAF were Flying Officer Lim Heng Lip, Sergeant Subramanian, Corporal Othman Mohd Ismail, Corporal Wan Said, Corporal JD Parsley, Corporal Mahadeven, Senior Aircraftman (SAC) Surindam, SAC Md Noor, SAC Zainal, SAC Mohd Hussain and Junior Technician (JT) Ismail Ariffin.

The motto of the RMAF is "Sentiasa di angkasa raya" (English: "Always in the Airspace").

Governor's mansion
Above: Governor's mansion - built 17th century
This stately mansion was built by the Dutch and was the official residence and office of the Dutch Governor of Malacca and later the British governor under British rule. The place has a fabulous view being located on top of St. Paul's Hill.

This was also the site of the palace of Melaka Sultanate before the Portuguese. According to the Munshi Abdullah this building was known as Raja’s House. On 31st August 1957, the name was changed to Seri Melaka, as title of the Governor was also changed to Tuan Yang Terutama Yang di-Pertua Negeri.

After independence in 1957, the building remained the governor's residence until September 1996. (A new, bigger place was built in Ayer Keroh). Today, it is a museum and has been gazetted as a heritage building by the State Government.

This house is the stuff that dreams are made of and reminds me of "Gone With The Wind" - you can imagine Scarlett O'Hara running out, crinoline held off the ground with both hands running to her beau, calling, "Ashley, Ashley"!
I bags the room up the top on the left hand side. Think of the view - two sides, looking ahead plus looking out over the township of Malacca. And on a balmy summer evening, walking down the steps from the first floor to sit on the balcony sipping a cool drink watching the sunset, catching the breeze on the wind and seeing the stars come out at night.
Aren't dreams wonderful? (It helps having a good imagination!)

Malacca Islamic museum
Above: Malacca Islamic museum
The museum is only a hop, skip and a jump from Dutch Square and is opposite the Police State Contingent Headquarters. It was built in the 1850s to record the advent and development of Islam in the Peninsular and the South East Asian region. The building has been gazetted as an antiquity under the Antiquities Act 1976.

Police HQ
Above: The local cop shop
Ibu Pejabat Daerah Melaka Tengah - Police Headquarters Central Melaka District. I'm afraid I couldn't find any information about this building - what can I say? It's a lovely old white building with a blue tin roof. The middle section is double storey with detailed architectural design. The window awnings, trimmings and entrance door frame is painted a matching blue and the windows have colonial panes.

Dutch Cemetery
Above: Dutch Cemetery
The Dutch Graveyard is a small cemetery in Malacca first used in the last quarter of the 17th century. Despite its name, only five Dutch graves remain there today, and 33 belonging to British officers and their wives. The cemetery was used first by the Dutch between 1670-1682, and later by the British between 1818-1838.

St. Paul's Hill
Above: View from St. Paul's Hill
As the Dutch graveyard is at the foot of the St Paul's Hill, I climbed up the hill to get a daytime view and was rewarded with this pleasing vista. Apart from the green garden, you can see the Proclomation of Independence Memorial and Porta De Santiago (A' Famosa). The palm to the left of A'Formosa looks rather like a ferris wheel.

Porta De Santiago
Above: Porta De Santiago (A' Famosa) built 1512
The Portuguese admiral, Alfonso D’Albuquerque, built Porta de Santiago or A’Famosa in 1511. It was badly damaged during the Dutch invasion in 1641. The English were didn't really want to of maintain the fortification and ordered its destruction. It was demolished on British orders on August 10, 1807 (except for a small gate house). In 1808, Sir Stamford Raffles, a British official who had a passion for history, saved what remains of A’Famosa today. This famous landmark is located near St. Paul’s Church.

Above: Porta De Santiago canon
It's among the oldest surviving European architectural remains in Asia. The fortress had four towers, or bastions, and 2.4 metre thick walls. The towers were called Baluarte San Pedro, Baluerte de las Virgenes, Baluerte Madre de Dios, Baluerte Santo Domingo, and Baluerte de Santiago.
The Porta de Santiago, a small gate house, is the only remaining part of the fortress still standing.

Above: Gate arch
The fort changed hands in 1641 when the Dutch drove the Portuguese out of Malacca. The Dutch renovated the gate in 1670 and had the logo "ANNO 1670" inscribed on the gate's arch. Above the arch is a bas-relief logo of the Dutch East India Company.

Above: Porta De Santiago (Gate of St. James)
Porta De Santiago, or the Gate of St. James, is the sole remaining legacy of Portuguese architecture. From my research of Porta De Santiago, it seems it is erroneously called A'Formosa. A'Formosa was the name of the fortress behind this gate, not the gate itself. A'Formosa translated from the Portuguese is "The Famous". Therefore, this quite rightly should be described as the surviving gate of the A Famosa Portuguese fort in Malacca.

The Porta De Santiago was gazetted as an old building and historical site under the Antiquities Act no. 168/19776 on the 12th May, 1977.

The Proclamation of Independence Memorial

Above: Proclamation of Independence Memorial - Year Built: 1911/1912
This beautiful, ornate building with twin golden domes was originally built as the headquarters of the Malacca Club, where the British ruling class slugged gin slings, gathered for tiffin, danced an elegant waltz and played cricket. It was a bastion of British colonialism and only the best sort of people were members! There was a large field front for playing cricket or polo - both "gentlemen's" games where the ladies with large hats and gloved hands would sit under shady parasols and watch to the sounds of, "Oh I say, great shot, what". Today the field is the site of the Dataran Pahlawan Melaka Megamall.

This lovely old building today is a Memorial to Democracy where Malaysia's first prime minister announced the country's forthcoming independence on February 20, 1956. On August 31st 1985, the Proclamation of Independence Memorial was officially open to the public. The Management and administration of the Memorial has been entrusted to National Archives of Malaysia.

Above: Window detail
Much of Malacca's charm lies in its colonial architectural heritage as is evidenced by this wonderful window detail.

Above: Abdul Rahman's 1957 Chevy
In the courtyard is this gorgeous old chevy. Must have been great to have been able to ride around in them, they're such a great looking car and I just love the white trim on the tyres. The '57 Chevies are an auto icon and often restored to their original condition and sometimes modified. I was checking out the price online - do you know how much people are asking for them? From around $55,000!!! The highest price I saw was $75,000. Gee whiz, I could think of a lot better things to spend 50 thousand bucks on - think how often I could travel overseas, how many holidays I could have in Malaysia, how many other countries I could visit.
I did see one for $18,500 but that was a 2 door in "original" condition - read full of rust, parts missing, ready for the junk heap. I suppose there will be someone who will buy it and spend hours and hours and thousands of dollars to restore the old bomb.

Above: Abdul Rahman's 1957 Chevy
The chevy was bought in 1957 and was originally used as one of the many limousines provided by the government to ferry VIP's arriving at Sungai Besi airport, Kuala Lumpur to their respective hotels and rest houses. These VIP's were representatives of their countries during the independence celebration in Kuala Lumpur. The original paintwork of this car was white.

During the 1959 general elections, this car was used personally by YTM Tunku Abdul Rahman to travel the whole country in order to carry out his political campaigns.

And now we come to the last building before I crossed the road and had lunch.

Above: Bastion House - Torture Museum
Bastion House is a brick building that was built in 1910 by the British-owned company, Dunlop Rubber Company and was used solely as a business house until 1986 when it was rented out to a bank. The steep, sloping roof shows the influence of English architecture.
It's now the Malay and Islamic World Museum and houses the Museum of Torture on the ground floor.

NOTE: When researching information on this old building, one site said 'the building was named Bastion House because it is located very close to the bastions of Fortaleza de Malaca' and another site said it "might" be. I have no way of verifying this so have not included it in the above, but have mentioned it here as a possibility.

And now - it's off to lunch.

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