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Tourism Malaysia

10 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT MALAYSIA’S LATEST ATTRACTION, ENCORE MELAKA

Hear ye! Hear ye! There’s a new attraction in town and we’ve got the 101 on it for you right here!

From the Impression series of world-acclaimed performances in China comes Encore Melaka, specially curated and directed by Wang Chaoge (the creative force behind the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games Opening Ceremony) to express her feelings for Melaka, its past, present and future.

Having just opened its doors on 7 July 2018, Encore Melaka puts up a magnificent and spectacular show. Expect emotive storytelling, high-energy choreography, vivid stage settings with creative lighting and unbelievable stage effects along with a score of moving music that will not only inspire audiences but capture their imagination, too.

We had a chance to be among the first to view the performance on its grand launch, which coincided with the very date that Melaka was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage City in 2008, and came away fully impressed (no pun intended)!

Here’s a sneak peek of what to expect of this awe-inspiring show that spans 700 years of story-telling through beautiful costumes, light, music, dance, folklore and history, all using top-notch technology that will blow your mind away!

  1. A new landmark in Melaka: The theatre itself is a work of art! Overlooking the scenic Straits of Melaka, it sets a new landmark in Melaka with its contemporary design. The façade is tiled with fish scale-like LED panels which reflect light from the ever-changing and vibrant sky of Melaka. It is the largest permanent theatre in Malaysia designed by chief architect Wang Ge from the Beijing Institute of Architectural Design, and is purpose-built for Encore Melaka and nothing else! Tip: Come early before the show to catch the beautiful sunset scene of the theatre hall against the Straits of Melaka.

  2. State-of-the-art theatre hall: This theatre hall is unlike any other. The audience seats are situated in what seems to be an island surrounded by massive screens. In fact, to get to your seats, you will have to cross over the stage! Seating capacity is 2,000 and it has state-of-the-art theatre technology including a sophisticated hydraulics system to support the 240 meter-long stage, multi-layered stages, advanced audio and 3D video mapping projection equipment. All this technology is synchronised to create a vivid and immersive theatre experience for all.

  3. The 360 degree rotating audience platform: The “wow” factor of this theatre is definitely the 360 degree rotating audience platform surrounded by four stages, the first of its kind in Southeast Asia. The entire island of seats rotate automatically during the performance but you might not even realise the movements as the turns are so subtle. But, it will move you from stage to stage, bringing you a new perspective of the performance each time.

  4. Abstract storytelling: Don’t expect a linear re-telling of Melaka’s history in this show. Instead, Wang Chaoge wanted to compile cultural stories of Melaka and vignettes of life that reflected a society which embraced diversity and inclusiveness. There are snippets depicting Baba Nyonya wedding traditions, but in other scenes are abstract representations of Melaka and its people through symbolic dance movements. Never mind if some of the scenes are too deep, the production itself, through artistic choreography, creative stage use, costumes and music, and 3D mapping technology, will keep you mesmerized. 

  5. A performer’s dream: During the 70-minute live performance, about 200 local performers from all over Malaysia, aged between 18 and 63 years will take to the stage. The show’s producers proudly shared with us that putting together the show had brought about the realization of dreams for many of their performers. Indeed, the production supports the full-time careers of these performers and goes to show that the arts is well and truly alive in Malaysia.

  6. Memorable scenes: Keep your eyes open for some of the most memorable scenes of the performance: mesmerizing abstract lines dancing across the scene/stage depicting waves that later transform into a fleet of ships during the Cheng Ho scene; rows of shirtless drummers masterfully hitting drums in sync against projected imagery of waves; the water effects accompanied by emotive choreography in one of the show’s most thought-provoking dance sequence; the scene when a line of ladies dressed in colourful kebayas take on the stage with their stirring and nuanced performance. The show is presented in English, Malay, Mandarin, Tamil, and other local dialects, reflecting the multi-racial and multi-cultural society in Melaka, but even so, remember that theatre, dance and music breaks all barriers. 

  7. The work of an accomplished director: The whole storyline of Encore Melaka is the brainchild of Wang Chaoge, after studying Melaka’s history, culture, traditions and people for two years. It showcases her own perceptions and interpretations of the Melaka culture, after immersing herself in its history, experiencing the modern Melaka and envisioning its future. In fact, she has been famously quoted as saying, “I did not choose Melaka; Melaka has chosen me…” when explaining why Melaka was handpicked out of 150 competing countries lobbying for their own Impression show.

  8. The tenth Impression series and first out of China: The Impression series was started in 1998 by Wang Chaoge, along with fellow directors Zhang Yimou and Fan Yue. In China, six Impression shows and three Encore shows have been created under the series. Some of the famous Impression series include Impression Sanjie Liu and Impression Lijiang which are outdoor performances utilizing natural backdrops of mountains, lakes and rivers. When Melaka was handpicked by Wang Chaoge as the coveted home of Encore Melaka, it made Malaysia the first country outside of China to continue the legacy of this well-established performance series.

  9. Impression City in Melaka – The Encore Melaka theatre is part of a larger waterfront integrated mixed development called Impression City Melaka which encompasses hotels, serviced apartments, commercial complexes, office towers, educational and wellness facilities, a shopping mall, retail shops, a yatch club and a marina. The landmark 56 ha project with a gross development value of RM7 billion, is being developed by Yong Tai Berhad and expected to be ready in eight to ten years’ time. Encore Melaka theatre will remain as the centerpiece of this new destination.

  10. Close proximity to other tourist attractions – The theatre is located in Melaka’s most prominent site, along the city’s waterfront, just 3.5 km from Jonker Street, a renowned China town in the city. It is quite close to the city’s shopping, historic and cultural areas. In fact, from the Melaka city centre, it will barely take you 15 minutes to reach the theatre site. Bear in mind, though, as the theatre is located within a new commercial district, there aren’t many retail outlets just yet, so it is best to dine in the city before going for the show.

 

Contact Details/Information:

Address: No. 1 Jalan KSB, Impression 8, Impression City @ Kota Syahbandar, 75200, Melaka, Malaysia.
Ticketing: The ticket prices is from RM128 onwards. Visit https://encore-melaka.com/ticketing for ticket purchase.
Show Time: Monday –Saturday (5.30pm 8.30pm); Sunday (2.30pm 5.30pm).

Article source: http://blog.tourism.gov.my/feed/

Categories
Cuisine in Melaka

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.

Article source: http://tourism-melaka.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default

Categories
Cuisine in Melaka

CRUISING DOWN VENICE OF THE EAST

Go: Cruising down Venice of the East
2011/11/09
PHILIP LIM
[email protected]

The history of Malacca is about 700 years, perhaps older. PHILIP LIM goes on a river cruise and enjoys vistas of the ancient and modern

IF you are new to Malacca, one of the most pleasant ways of getting acquainted with the Unesco World Heritage Site (since 2008) is to take a river cruise.

I have been an absentee local visitor for the past 11 years. So a revisit to the city was long overdue. A friend told me that one of the nicest attractions in Malacca at present is to board a boat from the Quayside Heritage Centre and take a 45-minute cruise of Malacca River.

Much has happened in the years between the time when the river was an eyesore and it’s in fairly pristine condition now.

It has been about six years since the Malacca River was given a makeover and its murky waters had been treated and rendered visually presentable. The river boat jetty took about two years to complete.

A la Venice

The time spent on the boat is equivalent to a cruise along any of the big rivers in Europe. It is not a coincidence that Malacca in its golden era was nicknamed the Venice of the East.

The only difference is the temperature. The Malaysian weather on the day of our river boat trip is almost perfect.

The sky is a clear blue with only traces of clouds drifting above. There’s a gentle wind which caresses our cheeks as the boat skims the surface of the calm waters.

At last count, there are 26 river boats cruising the Malacca River ferrying passengers across a distance of about nine kilometres. These fibreglass boats are capable of sailing beneath the numerous bridges even at high tides.

At its lowest, the tide is still 0.8 metres which is manageable by the river boats.

A visual count during the river cruise reveals the presence of eight bridges.

They are Tan Kim Seng, Chan Koon Cheng (Ghostbridge of Malacca), Hang Tuah, Hang Jebat, Kampung Jawa, Kampung Morten, Old Bus Station and Pasar.

The river route has been deliberately designed and engineered for visitors to catch glimpses of river bank flower gardens, a Malay kampung, a windmill, a fort and the Christ Church of Malacca.

Excited cruisers
With us on the boat tour is a family of 10 tourists. They are quite enthusiastic and animated vocally at the novelty of seeing so many unfamiliar scenes outside their country.

Their loud conversations in Cantonese only add to the merriment of the occasion. At one stage of the cruise, the boatman spots a 150cm long monitor lizard lazing on a mangrove branch near the water edge.

One woman loudly exclaims in Cantonese: “This is so big, not even a family of 10 can finish it on the dining table!”

Those of us who understand her can only smile nervously. There are two young Caucasian women on board the boat as well. It would have been interesting to watch their reaction if they had understood the comment.

As far as I am concerned, it is the monitor lizard’s lucky day. It could have been born in another country, lived on another river and might have suffered the unfortunate fate of being the main course on a distant family’s evening menu.

A therapy of sort
The last boat ride ends around 11.30pm. A night cruise along the river is an exhilarating experience altogether because passengers can soak in the sights and sounds of a nocturnal Malacca.

Many of the trees lining the river cruise route are decorated with lights and the old buildings and ancient structures exude an aura that tell of bygone days that once made the city one of the busiest trading ports for hundreds of years.

The human body is susceptible to the lull of lapping waves and the concrete attractions by the river side at every turn and corner give your entire being a sense of high.

The Malacca River cruise is scheduled at a 30-minute interval beginning from 9.30am. Adult fare is RM10 and for children below 12 years, it is RM5. If you are organising a group tour, the Malacca River Cruise office can make arrangements for RM100 per boat.

Call 06-281 7322.

Fast Facts
Before the 15th Century, Malacca was just an ordinary fishing village. It began to flourish under the reign of Iskandar Shah (Parameswara). Before long, Arab traders began to call on the port city.

In the mid-15th Century, Chinese Muslim Admiral Cheng Ho paid a courtesy call on Malacca. According to historical records, Malacca soon became a vassal State of Ming China.

In 1511, the Portuguese seized Malacca and brought it under their control. One hundred thirty years would pass before the Dutch mounted an attack on Malacca and ousted the Portuguese. The year 1641 marked the beginning of the Dutch rule.

For the next 150 years, the Dutch presence in Malacca was supreme. In 1795, Holland (Netherlands) was conquered by the French and consequently the Dutch lost control of Malacca.

The Dutch absence was soon replaced by the British who took over after the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824.

Malacca was first governed by the British East India Company. It was only later that it became a British Crown Colony. Together with Singapore and Penang, Malacca became part of the British Straits Settlements.

Read more: Go: Cruising down Venice of the East http://www.nst.com.my/nst/articles/Go_CruisingdownVeniceoftheEast/Article#ixzz1dGni1IT6

Article source: http://tourism-melaka.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default