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Admiral

Museum: Admiral Cheng Ho Gallery

The gallery showcases the Admiral’s journey to the Southern
sea and his great feat in international relations where he established China’s
great affiliation with the African and Asia countries leading to a prosperous
and fair trading amongst them.

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MALACCA SET TO MAKE AN IMPRESSION

Published: Tuesday September 3, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM

Updated: Tuesday September 3, 2013 MYT 11:53:03 AM

Malacca set to make an Impression

BY JUNE H.L. WONG

A scene from the Impression Liu Sanjie outdoor musical in Guilin, which features dazzling light effects and an awesome setting of mountains and a river.

KUALA LUMPUR: Malacca will become the first city outside China to stage the 10th production under acclaimed Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou’s “Impression” series of outdoor musical shows.

Impression Melaka, is a project between PTS Impression Sdn Bhd and China Impression Wonders Art Development Co Ltd, which will be endorsed by Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz today as a National Key Economic Area project under Pemandu.

This follows a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by PTS Impression CEO Boo Kuan Loon and China Impression Wonders Art Development Co’s co-founder and CEO Wang Chaoge in February in Malacca, witnessed by then Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen, and the project’s official launch in Beijing in May.

The immensely successful Impression musicals were founded by Zhang and his creative partners Wang Chaoge and Fan Yue who were also directors of the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The stage for Impression Melaka will be built to look like a Chinese junk in Admiral Zheng He’s fleet with the audience seated in the middle.

All the Impression shows are live outdoor performances involving huge casts, humongous stages and amazing special effects.

The first was launched in 1998 in Guilin called Impression Lui Sanjie on a 2km-long setting along the Li River. Since then, there are Impressions in nine locations all over China, including Lijiang and West Lake, using spectacular natural backdrops.

Impression Melaka, however, will be performed on a gigantic stage built to look like Admiral Zheng He’s junk with a revolving seating area for 2,014 in the middle.

It was Wang who decided on Malacca as her company’s first foreign foray after being pursued by a persistent Boo who brought she and her team to visit his hometown.

Boo, 42, who describes himself as a true-blue anak Melaka, is a property developer who wants to create a destination theatre experience to benefit locals and give tourists a reason to stay overnight in Malacca.

Mr. Boo Kuan Loon, CEO of PTS Impressions Sdn Bhd
Boo wants to create a destination theatre experience to benefit locals and give tourists a reason to stay overnight in Malacca.

“Most tourists come to Malacca for day tours but don’t stay overnight because there isn’t much to see or do at night. Impression Melaka can change that as there will two performances every night,” he said.

Boo added that it was a feather in Malacca’s cap that Wang’s company chose the city for its first foreign production out of 150 proposals from cities around the world, thanks in part to its Unesco world heritage status.

Although Impression Melaka’s storyline and music are being written and the stage designed by China Impression Wonders Art Development Co, Boo stressed it would not be a Chinese story but one that reflected Malacca’s vibrant cosmopolitan history and heritage.

As Wang said in an interview with Lifestyle Magazine, “When we go outside the country, we’re not taking Chinese culture and exporting it to them, but rather we export our art and performance – Impression Melaka is about Malaysian culture.”

She was also quoted as saying at the Beijing launch that Impression Melaka would “showcase the city’s glorious past and modern day life.”

Nevertheless, the junk-shaped stage recalls Zheng He’s five visits to the port in seven voyages between 1405 and 1433 which led to a longstanding relationship between the Malacca sultanate and China.

The directors: (from left) Zhang, Wang and Fan who will create Impression Melaka.
Impression Melaka, a RM300mil project, is funded by local and foreign investors and will be the only one in the region for the next three years, said Boo.

He said the 75-minute long show, with a cast of 200, is projected to sell 1.3 million tickets a year, at about RM130 a seat.

Like other Impression shows, most of the performers will be ordinary folk living in the vicinity who will be trained by Zhang, Wang, Fan and their team.

While its location is still under wraps, Boo said the theatre will require 8.1ha, while another 32.4ha will be developed for other related developments, such as restaurants and a tourism village.

Impression Melaka is scheduled to open in October 2014, in conjunction with Malaysia-China Friendship Year to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two nations and in time for Visit Malaysia Year.

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BUKIT CHINA : A HILL STEEPED IN LEGEND AND HISTORY

Published: Friday August 16, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Friday August 16, 2013 MYT 11:00:18 AM

Bukit China: A hill steeped in legend and history

BY M. VEERA PANDIYAN

[email protected]

The Bukit China Chinese cemetery in Malacca is the oldest in the country.

Its name can be traced to a legendary Ming Dynasty princess who supposedly arrived from China to marry Mansur Shah, the sixth Sultan of Malacca who ruled Malacca from 1459 to 1477.

Bukit China (Chinese Hill) was originally an undulating jungle of three mounds — Bukit Tinggi, Bukit Gedong and Bukit Tempurong.

It apparently took on the name after the Sultan allowed the entourage of princess Hang Li Poh to settle around the foot of the main hill.

These days, there are doubts over the purported royal lineage of Hang Li Po, as there is no written evidence to show that she was indeed a princess.

The guesswork is that she might have been a daughter of one of the emperor’s concubines or even a royal handmaiden.

But there are no doubts about the special relationship between Malacca and China then.

According to the Ming Shi-lu (Veritable Records Of The Ming Dynasty), an envoy of Balimisura (Parameswara) went to China in 1405 to offer tribute and another arrived two years later, complaining about Siam’s aggression and seizure of his kingdom’s royal seal.

An example of past architecture at Bukit China.
The following year, Ming’s renowned admiral Zheng He (Cheng Ho) was sent to Malacca.

Parameswara gave another tribute to the emperor the following year after Siam stopped intimidating his kingdom.

The records also note that Parameswara arrived at the emperor’s court on Aug 4, 1411 with his family of 540 followers and that he was treated with respect and showered with banquets and impressive presents during his stay.

As for Sultan Mansur Shah, the palace where he supposedly lived with all his wives, including Hang Li Po, was said to be at the foot of Bukit Melaka (today’s St Paul’s Hill).

There is now a replica of the palace, which houses the Malacca Cultural Museum. It was built using three types of hardwood — cengal, rasak and belian (for the roof) — based on what was written in Sejarah Melayu (Malay Annals).

It was written that the sultan ordered a well to be dug at Bukit China for the new immigrants. The well, Perigi Raja remains to this day and never dries up even during droughts.

Bukit China remained largely forested until the Portuguese built a chapel called Madre De Deus (Mother of God) and monastery at the top of the hill in 1581.

It was destroyed in an Achehnese attack in 1629. The Achehnese actually held Malacca for about eight months before the Portuguese won it back.

The monastery was rebuilt when the Achehnese were finally defeated with the deaths of prominent warriors, including Panglima Pidi whose grave, known as keramat panjang (long sacred grave) remains on Bukit China.

There are about 20 other Muslim graves nearby and the area used to be a favourite haunt of those seeking “spiritual help” for four-digit numbers during the 60s and early 70s.

In addition to the beach at Tanjung Kling, it was also an alternative site for the then popular Mandi Safar festival which was banned as “unIslamic” activities during the 80’s.

Bukit China became a Chinese cemetery in 1685 when Lee Wei King, the then “Kapitan China” of Malacca, bought the three hills from the Dutch and renamed them as “San Pao Shan” (Three Gems Hill or Three Protections Hill). He placed it under the trust of the Cheng Hoon Teng temple.

Reputedly the oldest remaining traditional Chinese burial ground in the world with 12,500 graves, Bukit China remained largely unknown and mostly overgrown until about this time of the year, 29 years ago.

All hell literally broke loose during the Hungry Ghosts Festival in 1984, when the Malacca Government announced its plans to develop the 42ha hill into a housing and commercial centre in July 1984.

The then Chief Minister, (now Tan Sri) Abdul Rahim Tamby Chik, gave three options — development of the hill solely by the Chinese community, joint development by the state and community or development by the state.

The plan sparked anger and outrage throughout the country, moving the diverse community to come together to preserve a heritage symbolising their earliest ancestors links to the country.

When the trustees of the Cheng Hoon Teng Temple conducted a survey to gauge public response on the development proposal, 553 associations and close to 300,000 people replied with a resounding no, against a mere 73 who agreed.

The country’s first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, was among those against the plan, lending more weight to calls for its preservation.

Representatives of political parties urged the then PM (now Tun) Dr Mahathir Mohamad to intervene and resolve the politically explosive and racially divisive issue.

As Carolyn Cartier, professor of geography and urban studies at the University of Technology, Sydney noted in her book, Globalising South China, the Save Bukit China campaign achieved ethnic and class representation and became a national movement, the first to grow to such proportions in the history of the country.

The State government eventually relented and has since been promoting Bukit China as part of its rich cultural heritage.

Today, the hill has become a recreational ground where joggers have carved out a track between graves. It has also become a valuable green lung for the city, offering great views from the peak.

The Chinese living around the area, covering Jalan Bukit China, Lorong Bukit China, Jalan Temenggong, Kampung Bukit China and nearby Banda Kaba, are referred to as the “San Pao Ching” community, in reference to several old wells in the area, seven of which were said to be dug during the time of Zheng He.

In addition to a hike up the hill, among the must-see sights for tourists are the Poh San Teng temple, built in 1795 by another Kapitan China, Chua Su Cheong and the Chinese War Memorial, located next to it.

The cenotaph to remember those who were brutally killed during the Japanese Occupation consists of an obelisk inscribed with Chinese calligraphy mounted on a raised platform with a Kuomintang flag at the top.

Thousands were killed after Malacca fell to the Japanese on Jan 15, 1942. The horror stories include burying victims alive and the killing of babies by throwing them up into the air and stabbing them with bayonets as they fell.

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ZHENG HE RETURNS TO MELAKA

Wednesday January 30, 2013

Zheng He ‘returns’ to Malacca
By R.S.N.MURALI
[email protected]

Epic voyage: A replica of the vessel helmed by Zheng He in Jonker Walk, Malacca.
MALACCA: Legend has it that Admiral Zheng He and his armada left his home port of Nanjing in China for their epic voyage to India in the Year of the Snake in the 1400s. Along the way they stopped at Malacca.

To mark the auspicious year of his voyage, the Chinese community will display a huge replica of the ship used by the admiral in the city’s world-famous Jonker Street, touted as the pulse of the community here.

Measuring 30m in length and 23m-high, it weighs close to two tonnes and resembles the original Chinese junk used by Zheng He in his sea travels.

Two cranes hoisted the replica to its above-ground berth on Friday night.

State MCA chief Datuk Gan Tian Loo said the replica, assembled by local craftsmen, would be displayed on two pillars that support the artificial junk, the names of the countries the admiral had sailed to.

Zheng He had reputedly sailed to 30 nations across Asia and Africa.

Gan said the craftsmen had incorporated intricate designs from the original vessel into the replica.

“It will be the icon of this historic city during the celebrations,” he said, adding thousands of visitors are expected to view the boat during the festive season.

“The city is ready to welcome the Year of the Snake in style, with carnivals and shows to mark the auspicious event,” he said, adding that Zheng He’s boat will complement the 1Malaysia dragons that adorn Jonker Street to mark the outgoing Year of the Dragon.

One of the dragons, dubbed the Prosperity Dragon, measures 121m-long, and is the longest outdoor dragon effigy in Malaysia.

The Harmony Dragon comes a close second at 91m.

Meanwhile, Temple Street , also known as Harmony Street in the old section of Malacca city, was lit with hundreds of red lanterns and coloured lights on Saturday.

Several arches and billboards with festive greetings and messages already festoon Jonker Street.

Hundreds jammed the streets in the historical hub as Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam led a team of community leaders that included MCA vice-president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai and Jonker Walk committee adviser Datuk Wira Gan Boon Leong to light the lanterns to usher in the new year.

Earlier, several lion dance troupes, musicians, dancers, performers and entertainers, showcased their talents in various performances to entertain the public and foreign tourists.

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NATIONAL ARCHIVES TO RECOVER PRE-1800 HISTORICAL RECORDS

National Archives to recover country’s pre-1800 historical records

Posted on October 31, 2012, Wednesday

MELAKA: The National Archives is on a mission to recover records on the country’s history dating back before the year 1800, of which many are currently kept in foreign countries, especially in India.

Its director-general Daresah Ismail said this effort could help to enlighten the people on the history during that era, as the historical records kept by the Naational Archives at the moment were mostly after the year 1800.

“We lack of historical records during the British, Dutch and Portugese colonial eras before 1800 because those records had been brought back by them.

“So the National Archives is now attempting to bring back copies of the records especially from India as it was a former administrative centre for the British,” she told reporters after attending an outreach programme at Saad Foundation College here, yesterday.

Daresah added that the oldest collection at the National Archives was on churches in Melaka during the Dutch colonial era in the 16th century as well as the birth and death registry of that time.

“We also have copies of documents from Japan which contained stories on Admiral Hang Tuah and the Melaka Malay Sultanate in the 1500s,” she said. — Bernama

WEBMASTER: IT WILL BE INTERESTING IF WE CAN GET A COPY OF SIR STAMFORD RAFFLES’S LETTER TO LORD MINTO APPEAL TO HIM TO STOP THE DESTRUCTION OF THE MALACCA A FAMOSA FORTRESS.

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