Visitors take delight in Portuguese music, food
By Jason Gerald John and Adrian David
Musicians from the Portuguese Settlement in Malacca enchanting the crowd at the celebration of the 500-year anniversary of the arrival of the Portuguese in Malacca recently. — NST picture by Rasul Azli Samad
MALACCA: Visitors to the celebration of the 500-year anniversary of the arrival of the Portuguese in Malacca were captivated by the rich culture and tradition preserved by the community.
The four-day celebration, which ended last Saturday at the Portuguese Settlement in Ujong Pasir, was a huge success, said organising committee chairman Michael Singho.
Catia Barbara Dias Candeias, 29, one of the 15 visitors who flew in from Portugal, said Malacca did not feel like it was very far from home.
"The culture here in Malacca and back home is very much similar.
"We have the importance and the speciality of music in our blood. I'm very happy that this culture has not been forgotten here for the past 500 years."
Finnish student Hedvig Moetzfeldt, 22, said the rich cultural diversity in Malacca was unique as all the different races were living in a vibrant community.
"When I came to Malacca, I met a few other backpackers and I was told about this 500-year celebration in the Portuguese Settlement.
"I had a very good time here and I very much enjoyed the music, food and wonderful hospitality."
Besides foreign tourists, the celebration also attracted a number of locals outside Malacca.
Shamala Devi, 24, a student at Limkokwing University, also enjoyed the food while civil servant Azlina Mulup, 43, from Terengganu, spent most of her time shopping at various stalls in the settlement.
"The handicrafts are just awesome and I bought beads and other accessories to match a wide collection of my dresses," Azlina said.
Musician Jerry Singho, 51, said music was a big passion for the Portuguese community and it had always been a part of the community's culture not only in Malacca, but also around the world.
"I hope that the younger generation will carry on this passion in their hearts and keep it treasured. This celebration of 500 years is very special indeed.
"It took us just over a month to practice the songs that had been played.
"I'm glad that everyone enjoyed this event as there's a smile plastered on everyone's face here."
For senior settlement resident Augusta Pereira, 80, watching the community evolve in her lifetime had brought her great pride.
"I am very happy to have witnessed this celebration.
" The Portuguese culture is very unique and beautiful, and it is definitely felt by those who came for this wonderful event.
"I have 14 grandchildren and I hope that they, too, will carry on this tradition," she said.