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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

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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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Categories
Tourism Malaysia

Chinese New Year Trivia

1)

Gong Xi Fa Cai, as many mistakenly believe is, not Happy New Year. It means I Wish You Prosperity.

2)

Dumplings are synonymous with prosperity. It is believed that the more you consume the delicacy, the wealthier you would become.

3)

Sweet food items are usually served in a tray consisting of 8 portions.  Apart from symbolizing unity and togetherness and unity, the number 8 is traditionally considered a lucky number.

4)

Noodles signify long life. You’re supposed to be consuming them in the length they come. If you cut them to make swallowing manageable, you run the risk of shortening your life.

5)

One should really be quiet and not say anything while making the nian gao, customarily offered to the Kitchen God before his return to Heaven to present his report on each household to the Jade Emperor. A slip of the tongue is not going to put you in the good books of the God.

6)

What are the differences between five-clawed, four-clawed and three-clawed dragons in ancient China? Not all dragons are created equal in ancient China, though the winged creature was an emblem for the Emperor and royals. During  the Zhou Dynasty, the five-clawed dragon signified the Son of Heaven (Emperor), the four-clawed were the nobles and three-clawed were represented the ministers.

7)

We mentioned that Westerners portrayed the dragon as an evil beast.  Not all Westerners think of dragons as malevolent though.The Scandinavians, for instance, thought highly of dragons. They worshipped and revered the creature which inspired the design of their famed war boats. Of  course these vessels bore the names of venerated dragons.  

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Categories
Tourism Malaysia

Here Comes The Dragon


   Here Comes The Dragon!

Dragon Year
Enter the Dragon!

Legend has it that the Jade Emperor, the ruler of the heavens, had called for a meeting of the animals. He had ordained that the Zodiac be named after each animal according to the order of their arrival at the meeting.

It seems the dragon came in fifth. Being a fair and wise ruler, the Jade Emperor questioned the dragon as to why it did not come in first, having wings on its back and all. The latecomer explained that it was held back to help bring some rainfall to some farmers. He later saw a rabbit stranded on a log in a river and had aided the poor creature to the shore.

The Jade Emperor was so impressed with the Dragon’s helpfulness that His Majesty included it into the Zodiac, despite it being the only mythical animal among the lot.

What’s in Store for the Much-Anticipated Dragon Year?

Starting a new business? Embarking on a new career path? Planning to tie the knot or have a baby? If you’re a Chinese, you couldn’t be happier that the Year of the Dragon is just around the corner .

The Dragon Year has always been considered the most auspicious in the Chinese Zodiac and indeed, the 2012 Chinese New Year looks set to provide us a fair share of excitement, prosperity and meaningful events!

Joey Yap, founder of the Joey Yap Consulting Group, author of over 80 books on Feng Shui and face reading, calls 2012 as `a year of changes’. As 2012 is the Year of Water Dragon, it will bring much cleansing and clarification, as water refreshes and nourishes all negative elements.

He added that the Dragon Year also brings growth and renewal. Bickering people will tired of arguing and quarrelling – they would resort to finding solutions and answers to their problems.

Feng Shui expert, Lillian Too, along with her daughter, Jennifer Too, call 2012 a `transformative year’, a harbinger of good luck and prosperity.

 

 
Though the Chinese dragon looks intimidating it’s a symbol of generosity and compassion
(public domain image from Wikimedia Commons)
 

The Stuff Dragon People are Made Of

Westerners perceive the dragon as a fire-breathing, man-eating, evil beast and malicious ‘lizard’, with depictions of its viciousness in folklores and movies like “Dragonheart” and “Reign of Fire”. Even the Disney cartoon, “Sleeping Beauty”, portrays the creature as malevolent, with the nasty Queen turning herself into a dragon to kill the Prince!

So, do people born in the Dragon Year exhibit the so-called villainous character of the dragon? They don’t seem to.

The Chinese regard the dragon as a symbol of generosity, auspiciousness, prosperity, not to mention regal and imperial authority. So much so only Emperors were allowed to sport the dragon symbol in their regalia.

A wise guardian, protector of the weak and a symbol of happiness and joy, the mystical dragon is held in high esteem by the Chinese, and like the creature, the people born under this Chinese Zodiac Sign display a great amount of generosity, compassion and other exemplary qualities.

These extroverts enjoy outdoor activities and are essentially thrill-seekers. Being highly imaginative and rather dominant, they make good engineers, architects, philosophers and lawyers.

Pearl S Buck Dragon Child

Dragon child :1938 Nobel Prize Winner, Author Pearl S. Buck
(public domain image from Wikimedia Commons)

Dragon People, however, possess a short temper and are prone to emotional eruptions.

Famous Dragon People include Courtney Cox, Sandra Bullock, Reese Witherspoon, Isabella Rossellini, Shirley Temple, Ringo Starr, Pearl Buck, George Bernard Shaw and John Lennon, among others.

 

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Categories
Tourism Malaysia

A Malaysian Cooking Up a Storm in a Japanese Kitchen

October 20, 2011 during 12:00 pm

What creates a good chef? Is it merely usually his cooking? Or are there other contributing factors that gives a cook a honour of being famous as a good chef? The Malaysia.com group recently met adult with Sous Chef Mohd. Zamri during Sagano in Renaissance Hotel for a brief discuss about his food and him being nominated as one of a chefs participating in a Malaysia International Gourmet Festival 2011.

Sous Chef Mohd Zamri – a elementary and superb man

The cosy atmosphere of Sagano Restaurant in Renaissance Hotel creates dining an noted experience

One of a initial things that one might notice when articulate with Sous Chef Mohd Zamri is a fact that he is a really common person. When asked about his delicious creations for a epicurean festival, he explains that this year’s menu was desirous by a prior menus combined for this event. Sous Chef Mohd. Zamri is a chairman who prefers to let his food do all a talking, as everybody knows that good food always pronounce volumes. His creations are superb and elementary and is a thoughtfulness of a chairman itself.

The mixture used for Wagyu Striploin and contingent of fungus with wasabi-teriyaki sauce

It was by fluke that Sous Chef Mohd. Zamri finished adult where he is now. He started out operative in one of a tip 5 Japanese restaurants in 1988, where jobs were tough to come by as a outcome of a economy downturn. What started out as ‘fun’ pursuit incited into a lifelong passion after he fell in adore with it. Sous Chef Mohd. Zamri afterwards went on to work in one of a Japanese restaurants during SOGO selling mall before relocating on to Nikko Hotel, where he stayed on for twelve years. When asked about his noted times during his career, he smiled and remarked that it was during his reign as a cook in Nikko Hotel where he had a event to offer 3 opposite Japanese Prime Ministers during their visits to Malaysia. He even had a possibility to offer a Japanese Emperor when he was visited Malaysia!

Sous Chef Mohd. Zamri putting on a proof on a credentials of one of a MIGF dishes

The menu that is accessible for this year’s epicurean festival is a testimony of his cooking talents drawn from 23 years of scheming Japanese cuisine. Sous Chef Mohd. Zamri has prepared a miraculous feast for all, featuring some of a favourite mixture frequently used in Japanese cuisine like soft-shell crab, unagi, salmon, cod fish and wagyu beef. The cost of a menu is set during RM 138.00++ per chairman (without wine) and RM 188.00 ++ per chairman (with wine). There is also a light Festival Menu, labelled during RM 108.00 ++ per chairman (without wine) that comes with appetizers, soup, choice of one (1) categorical and dessert, suitable for those who would like a discerning bite. The whole menu is really value for money.

Medium Rare Atlantic Salmon and Grated Yam, Hot Spicy Sauce and Ikura

From Top to Bottom: Deep Fried Soft Shell Crab with Sticky Ginger Soy Sauce, Egg Tofu and Boiled Live Prawn with Bainiku Sauce, Unagi Sushi with Seaweed Sauce

Sagano Wagyu striploin and contingent of mushroom, wasabi-teriyaki sauce

Sagano is not a usually grill of a Renaissance Hotel that is participating in a Malaysia International Gourmet Festival 2011. The hotel is charity a double pleasure promotion, featuring Sagano and Dynasty Restaurant, a Cantonese cuisine restaurant. The package is also labelled during RM 138.00++ per chairman (without wine) and RM 188.00 ++ per chairman (with wine). For those who are on a diet, there is also a light Festival Menu, labelled during RM 108.00 ++ per chairman (without wine) that comes with appetizers, soup, choice of one (1) categorical and dessert.

For some-more information and reservations, greatfully call 03 – 2162 2233 or email [email protected]

All prices are theme to 10% use assign and 6% use tax. Dynasty Restaurant is a non-halal restaurant.

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