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Monday, October 22, 2012

SELAMAT HARI RAYA HAJI

22nd.October 2012

In a few days time, all Muslims around the world will celebrate the auspicious day of Eid or Hari Raya Haji. Millions will commemorate this day with sacrifices and prayers in mosques around the world.

May we take this opportunity to wish all Muslims "Selamat Hari Raya Haji" on this auspicious day.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

UNESCO LISTING BOOSTS ARRIVALS

MELAKA- In 2008, UNESCO chose to register both cities of Melaka and Georgetown (State of Penang) into the World Heritage List. Both cities were seen as lively historical testimonies of 500 years of trading and cultural exchanges between East and West in the Straits of Malacca.

The UN agency for culture then acknowledged that few urban centres in Southeast Asia blended to intimately influences of Asia and Europe providing both towns with a specific multicultural heritage, both tangible and intangible. With its government buildings, churches, squares and fortifications, Melaka is a remarkable example of colonial architecture, which stretches back to the 15th-century Malay sultanate, continued with the Portuguese and Dutch presence from the early 16th century to finally become part of British Malaya before being part of the new independent Malaysia.

UNESCO then helped Melaka to preserve and renovate its blend of Chinese, European and Malay architectures as well as preserving its peculiar way of life. Over the last five years, old houses along the River have been renovated, some transformed into trendy cafes, eateries and hotels. In the evening special lighting effects turn also the city into an attractive night destination. 

Long considered as a sleepy outpost on the way from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore, Melaka is now reviving as tourists and domestic visitors rediscover the city since its UNESCO inception.

In 2011, Melaka recorded its highest number of visitors ever at 12.165 million. They generated tourism revenues of RM 7.06 billion (US$ 2.2 billion).

According to State Tourism, Culture and Heritage Committee chairman Datuk Wira Latiff Tamby Chik, growth in tourist arrivals was 17.5 per cent higher than in 2010.

During the first four months of 2012, growth continued unabated. Melaka welcomed during that period 4.11 million, a further rise of 13.3 % over the same months of 2011. From this number, 2.92 million were domestic tourists while the rest were foreigners.

Foreign arrivals grow faster than the domestic ones (37.3% versus 5.8%). The State government now believes that Melaka will welcome over 12.5 million visitors by year end. 

According to report by the State Tourism Department, Melaka top five foreign country tourist arrivals were China with 222,999 tourists followed by Singapore (185,277), Indonesia (16890), Taiwan (108,128) and Hong Kong (57,241).

Most popular attractions to the area are museums (312,058 visitors) followed by the Malacca River Cruise (279,338 visitors), Malacca Zoo (176,943) and Menara Taming Sari (169,340). 

A popular program in Melaka for foreign travellers is homestays with local people. Melaka offers 7 homestay programs officially registered with the Tourism Ministry. They welcomed last year 25,109 visitors, of which 8,883 were foreign guests. 

Among the new initiatives launched towards for travellers is a new website called ‘Welcome to Melaka’. The site provides travellers with everything about Malaysia’s capital city of culture by sharing some of Melaka’s best addresses, providing also web-surfers with articles and even discounts to selected shops. 

OLD MALACCA SCENT

20 October 2012 | last updated at 12:14AM

Old Malacca on St Paul's Hill

By PHILIP LIM | streets@nstp.com.my 0 comments

MALACCA: THERE'S an old scent of history on St Paul's Hill in Malacca that draws tens of thousands of visitors there every month.

There are about 10 old Portuguese tombstones inside the church. 1 / 7

Even though the roof is missing, with only the walls left standing, visitors who walk on its grounds can't help but feel that history has left a long trail of invisible footprints left behind by forgotten Christian missionaries.

The original building on the hill was built in 1521 as a chapel dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The chapel was named Nossa Senhora da Annunciada or Our Lady of the Hill. In 1548, the Bishop of Goa handed over control of the chapel to the Jesuits and a missionary named Francis Xavier took over the deed.

Renovations to the chapel took place in 1556, 1590 and 1592. In due course, the chapel was renamed Igreja de Madre de Deus or Church of the Mother of God. When the Dutch took over Malacca in 1641, the church was renamed St Paul's Church. One hundred eighty-three years later in 1824, the British gained control of Malacca but the name of the hill remained.

On any given day, one will find on St Paul's Hill souvenir pedlars and artists who seem to be drawn there more by the place's serenity than by anything else. Foo is one of them. He is on the lighter side of his 50s, but looks like someone who has emerged unscathed by the Flower Power of the 1960s.

His greying moustache and his lean frame give the impression that he is a bohemian seeking his fortunes amid 400-year-old ancient ruins. Sporting shoulder-length hair, a red jockey cap and cropped pyjama-style pants, Foo has that enigmatic smile that reveals he has seen far more of life than he is willing to share with strangers.

But once he warms up to you, Foo, who is sometimes called Patrick, is quick to recount tales of those early years when he was a fisherman. He weathered the storms on the high seas for two or three years before he realised that it was not his true path in life.

"During those fishing years, I was out at sea for two or three days at a time. Occasionally, it was about one to two weeks," said Foo. The weather was unforgiving and life sometimes seemed to hang in the balance, added Foo with a whimsical smile.

About 10 years ago, Foo decided he had had enough of the rough seas, scorching sun and vacillating fortunes. He returned to being a landlubber on terra firma where his feet did not have to sway.

With the help of some business friends, he obtained an ample supply of prints of old Malacca. The prints, popular among tourists, are given sepia tones to lend an old charm to the historical city.

Among the 20-odd pictures of old Malacca are scenes of Jonker Street in 1890, Heeren Street in 1910, Malacca River in 1880 and Kwee Meng Kuang footbridge in 1890. A batch of five prints is sold at RM20. For a KL resident, the price seemed immensely reasonable. In Jonker Street, where some photo shops are located, a similar old print which is framed is priced at RM45 each.

Foo readily admits that he is not an artist and that the items spread on the floor are not his work. Sitting on a stool in the corner of the interior of the church, the congenial individual seems to like life as it is right now.

His "work station" is in the rear of roofless church, which houses an old burial vault and Portuguese tombstones removed from the grounds in the 1930s. The Portuguese tombstones, which number about 10, form a boundary of sorts around Foo's "exhibition area".

A few feet from Foo is a sign in three languages (Bahasa Malaysia, English and Dutch) that says "laid to rest here is Ioanna six who was born in Tayoan, wife of Jacobus Pedel, a merchant and harbour master for Malacca town. Departed this life on 1 January 1696 at the age of 40 years, 9 months, 15 days also, before her on 21 May, 1695, their son Jacobus Pedel Junior passed away at age less 2 days to 7 months". With these centuries-old tombstones and relics on St Paul's Hill, the old Malacca that Foo somehow seems to personify, has come alive with its ancient walls and tombstones speaking in whispered tones about lives come and gone.

This former holy ground, like many others, is not without its own tale and mystery. The story lies in a statue of St Francis Xavier, erected in 1952, that has a broken right arm, at the front of the church.

The statue was to mark the 400th anniversary of the saint's stay in Malacca. One day after the statue was put up, a large tree fell and broke the arm.

It would not have been an unusual occurrence if not for the fact that in 1614, the right forearm of St Francis Xavier was removed from his body as a relic.

Today on St Paul's Hill, if you care to listen in silence to the whispers of the slow, incoming sea breeze, you, too, may hear something.

Read more: Old Malacca on St Paul's Hill - Central - New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/streets/central/old-malacca-on-st-paul-s-hill-1.159199#ixzz2A0Y2BVki

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

www.tourism-melaka.com invited by TYT Gabvenor of Melaka

We have been invited to attend an official dinner to be hosted by the Governor of Melaka on this Friday night.

On Saturday morning, we will be visiting some new tourist products for Melaka viz.Taman Seribu Bunga, Macau Gallery, the Jonker Bird house, Coral Wonderland etc. which should be interesting for visitors to Melaka.

Certainly Tourism Melaka is looking forward to this dinner and exciting new tourism products for Melaka. We will feature them after our visit.

Webmaster : It was with great disappointment that we had to cancel and turn down the above invitation due to unforseen circumstances. Some family matter cropped out so we had to cancel this trip. Our apologies to the organisers.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

PULAU MELAKA IN THE FUTURE

A photo of Pulau Melaka in the future if all the proposed development are carried out there. There is the proposed cable car, Eye of Malacca, hotel, bungalows, Arab City Mall(under construction phase). Currently, there is the mosque on the Straits of Malacca which is very popular with tourists and sea lion show. Hope more visitors will come and the shophouses can be tenanted.

Something to look forward to at Pulau Melaka.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

KAMPUNG HAILAM IN MELAKA

The Hainanese Village of Melaka

MyKampung 2012-10-09 16:53

The Hainanese people started to emigrate to Melaka about a century ago. Photo courtesy: Guang Ming Daily 1 of 8 Translated by WINNIE CHOOI Guang Ming Daily

MELAKA -- A translucent sunlight makes a perfect timing to explore Hang Tuah's tomb with a wonderful setting of azure sea and blue sky. A complete journey should be accompanied with a search of the Qiongzhou accent omnipresent in the Hainanese Village as well as the unmistakable Hakka Dongjiang cuisine.

Tanjung Kling

Melaka is such a casual and romantic place where the beach could be reached within 30 minutes. One of the popular beaches in Melaka, Tanjung Kling is also the final resting place of national hero Hang Tuah.

Tanjung Kling is located about 10km northwest of the historic city. Along the road are rows of shophouses erected on reclaimed land with the coastline beyond. The beach is easily accessible with a short 10-minute drive from town. Its serene ambience makes it a perfect venue for leisure and recreational activities.

Kampung Hailam

Half way towards Tanjung Kling from the city centre, along the small road leading to Pantai Kundor is a milestone standing next to a shabby Malay shop house marking the entrance to "Hainanese Village, where environment is our common responsibility."

Walking into the alley and not far away lies the sea followed by a few houses at one corner. Some 95% of residents living in the 9-acre Kampung Hailam are Hainanese, with only three Hokkien households.

During the West Han dynasty of China, the Hainanese people began emigrating to Southeast Asia. The Hainanese people started to come to Melaka about a hundred years ago. They came together to form a tiny fishing village rich in the Hainanese culture.

Fishing and cooking

There are about 50 households in the Hainanese Village leading a typically laid-back lifestyle in a strongly bonded society. However, due to the lack of development, most young villagers have moved to the city to make a living.

According to older villagers, their livelihood was mostly dependent on fishing during the colonial days. Many families here boil and dry the salt in their own compounds and almost every vacant plot of land in the village has been turned into salt fields. As fishing is the most primitive skills of the Hainanese people, many villagers have started to make fishing their main source of livelihood.

Records show that during the colonial days back in the 1950s, villagers quit fishing because of inconsistent income and became domestic helps for senior British officers in order to earn more lucrative incomes. In addition, the Hainanese were also known for their cooking skills and almost every Hainanese family has produced at least a chef serving at major restaurants worldwide.

Cherishing freedom

83-year-old villager Lin Jin Luan told Guang Ming Daily she had been living in the Hainanese Village for more than six decades ever since she was married to her husband and relocated here. She said majority of the fishermen in the village used to be Chinese but now there are more and more fishermen from other races.

Having grown accustomed to life by the sea, Lin said she would have problem adapting to the new life if she were to move away from the beach.

"How would you like to live in the city?" When confronted by the question from the Guang Ming Daily reporter, Lin replied, "Urban people lock themselves in the concrete cages; city living is not my cup of tea.

"I would never want to move into a bungalow even if I become rich one day. I would prefer to live by the beach and stare at the open sea."

Lin's daughter Yan Yu Zhuan, a maths teacher in the nearby SMK Bukit Rambai, chooses to remain in the tiny fishing village, unlike her contemporaries.

"If possible, I would like to continue living in the village."

He Ping Hakka Restaurant

Hakka dishes are also known as Dongjiang dishes. Traditional Hakka food is characterised by its heavy taste and is somewhat salty, spiced and fatty. The saltiness is to prolong the preservation period of the food while fat provides the energy for Hakka people who used to be engaged in manual works, while spicy food stimulates the taste buds.

Located at Pantai Kundor about 10 minutes from Tanjung Kling and the Hainanese Village, the restaurant has been in operation for 15 years now. Among the Hakka specialties served are the abacus yam balls, pork with preserved vegetables, steamed duck and stewed bean curd.

Webmaster:

Kampung Hailam is also near to the Malacca Club Rotunda which is Malacca's oldest club which was founded in 1890. Melaka Sailing Club used to be located near Kampung Hailam during the 1970s. Unfortunately, the sailing club is non-existent now.

Monday, October 8, 2012

PRICES AND RENTALS OF HERITAGE SHOPHOUSES RISE IN HISTORIC MELAKA

9th. October 2012

Since the announcement of Malacca and Georgetown as World Heritage Cities in 2008, both cities have seen a rise of local and foreign tourists arrivals. Melaka has seen tourists arrival increase from 8 million in 2008 to about an estimate of 13 million visitors in 2012 or about 15% increase year on year basis. These arrivals have helped Melaka and Malaccans economically and tourism is regarded as one of major source of income despite her small population. Malaccans cannot deny that fact tourism has benefitted them.

With Melaka being world recognised as a heritage city, property prices and rentals within the Heritage city areas have jumped by 30%. Within the Jonker street and Heeren street, heritage freehold shophouses prices are now being offered between 3 to 5 Million Ringgit which are unheard of previously.

Foreigners especially Singaporeans and Australians consider these prices as cheap in relative terms to the exchange rates. Singaporeans in particular are buying up these properties as investments since Melaka is just 3.5 hours drive away from Singapore.

At the same time, property owners within Melaka are also asking for higher rentals for businesses. Some businessmen from KL are also coming in to invest in properties and businesses as they see the potential of Melaka as a popular tourist destination. Similar trends are also seen in Georgetown, Penang.

New developments in international brands and boutique hotels are being constructed in Melaka and shopping malls are being built on reclaimed land around Bandar Hilir and Klebang. Hopefully, with the construction of new roads such as the coastal road at Klebang and expansion of the Ayer Keroh highway (construction of flyovers at strategic interchanges) will end weekend traffic jams.

Melaka Historical City council should undertake and develop a masterplan so that Melaka can benefit from this in years ahead.