Thursday, January 04, 2007

Old Melaka

A fortnight ago, I was at Jonker street (again) with the guys to take some pictures of Old Malacca. It gave me a chance to get reacquainted with my camera. Even though I've had it for about a year now, only recently have I gotten to try out its more intricate features like the Aperture and Shutter Speed modes.

Jonker Street is the name given to an antiquated part of Malacca which housed the Straits Chinese or the Baba Nyonya community. The unique of southern Chinese and local Malay culture is evident in the language, food, lifestyle and architecture of the area.

The Melaka local government is taking great pains to conserve the beautiful architecture of the shophouses and places of worship. A number of local companies also have 'adopted' some of these late 18th century buildings as part of their community efforts and I salute them for their contribution to our nation's heritage.

This palace belongs to a very rich Malacca businessman and legend has it that he tore down the entire building and rebuilt it from the ground up in memory of his beloved wife, sort of like his Taj Mahal.

The Eng Choon Society building which has recently undergone some restoration and renovation works is a fantastic example of Chinese architecture and art. Motifs of dragons and phoenices adds a spiritual dimension to its old-world charm.

Dragons are important in the chinese culture as they symbolise strength, virility and victory. Personally I felt rather empowered as I stood in the hallway with two concrete pillaars shaped like a pair of dragons.... must be the 'chi' rubbing off on me. Hehehe

As we were happily snapping away, it's easy to forget that people actually live in some of these ancient buildings, and not all of the inhabitants were happy to see us take pictures of their houses. Most of these buildings, however, have already been turned into shophouses dealing in antiques, Nonya restaurants and boutique hotels.

As we were walking along the picturesque streets, we couldn't help but notice numerous rickshaws (beca) ferrying a tourist or two honking or jingling their bells as they passed us by. They were very garishly decorated and some even had the radio blaring from a makeshift stereo system on the roof of the rickshaw. This one (top) was, in my opinion, the best decorated one, complete with a picture of the Prime Minister of Malaysia on the back!

We stumbled onto a Nonya delicacies 'factory', situated some ways from the main street. This was where they make the famous multihued delicacies and as soon we saw these colourful and aromatic 'kueh's on parade, our mouths watered! What a way to end our day trip - high tea with oodles and oodles of sweet cakes!


sbanboy said...

wow great pics .....

yeah u have a great camera .... :D

Asther said...

Ahem... I tot ur camera's NEW??? Cos the old one got stolen recently & u bought another SAME MODEL, rite? Hehehe...

My boyfriend just bought new G7 and UW housing. Will be trying it out this month in Mabul! Yahooo....

Amazonman said...

Well, technically, it's a NEW camera, but it is the SAME OLD MODEL. SO, I still think of it as the same old one (actually so that I don't feel so bad about having lost the first one mah!)

k.d said...

My kampung is Malacca but to tell you the truth never venture to other parts of Malacca.

Nice pics..

ENjoy the camera..