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Cuisine in Melaka

OLD MALACCA SCENT

20 October 2012 | last updated at 12:14AM

Old Malacca on St Paul’s Hill

By PHILIP LIM | [email protected] 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.
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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

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Categories
Tourism Malaysia

History: St. Peter’s Church

The Church of St. Peter was erected in 1710 during the Dutch occupation of Melaka. It is the oldest Roman Catholic Church in Malaysia and it was built on a piece of land donated by a Dutch gentleman, Maryber Franz Amboer. Its facade and decor has a combination of eastern and western architecture. One of its bells was cast in Goa in 1608.

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Categories
Cuisine in Melaka

PORTUGUESE HERITAGE HAS IMPACTED MELAKA

Saturday September 24, 2011

Centuries of Portuguese heritage has impacted state greatly, says Mohd Ali
By R.S.N. MURALI
[email protected]

MALACCA: Five centuries of Portuguese heritage in Malacca has turned the state into a “melting pot of the world,” according to Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam.

He said the legacy left by the Portuguese had greatly impacted Malacca in terms of cultural diversity and also provided an impetus for the local tourism industry.

“I would like to compliment the Portuguese community for their relentless commitment to place Malacca in the world map as a unique state with cultural extravaganza.

“Malacca is the birthplace of a community with mixed European and Asian parentage, commonly known as Eurasian,” he said in an interview ahead of a four-day celebration to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Portuguese conquest of Malacca.

Celebrating 500 years: The Portuguese community celebrating the Feast of St Peter on a gaily decorated boat at the Portuguese Settlement in Ujong Pasir, Malacca. It has been 500 years since Alfonso d’ Albuquerque arrived here from Goa.
The event, themed “Our Roots, Our Heritage, Our Home”, will be organised by the Malacca Portuguese-Eurasian Associa-tion (MPEA) from Oct 26 to Oct 29 at the Portuguese Settlement in Ujong Pasir.

There will be traditional food fairs, live music and band performances, cultural and performing arts presentations, traditional games, beauty contest, a football tournament, cottage industries promotion and a handicraft exhibition.

Mohd Ali said the existence of the Portuguese community here was significant as it brought about a new kaleidoscope, turning Malaysia into a colourful multi-cultural paradise.

He said the state would continue to safeguard the community’s status as a minority group.

He added that the state would also protect their welfare besides conserving the rich heritage and customs inherited from their ancestors.

Mohd Ali said Malacca had prospered as a nautical haven since Alfonso d’ Albuquerque arrived from Goa with an entourage of 18 ships on Aug 24, 1511.

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Popular historical attractions

Popular historical attractions

Christ Church, Melaka.

Example of gravestone from St Francis Xavier Church.

  • Fort A Famosa: Constructed by the Portuguese in 1511, it suffered severe structural damage during the Dutch invasion. The plan by the British to destroy it was aborted as a result of the intervention of Sir Stamford Raffles in 1808.
  • St. John’s Fort: Reconstructed by the Dutch in the third quarter of the 18th century, the cannons in this fort point inwards towards the mainland because at that time, the threat to Malacca was mainly from inland rather than the sea.
  • St. Peter’s Church: Constructed in 1710 under the Dutch administration, the church is the oldest Catholic church in Malaysia. Its facade and decorative embellishment is a mix of both eastern and western architecture. Its bell was delivered from Goa in 1608.
  • St. Paul’s Church: Constructed by the Portuguese captain, Duarte Coelho, this church was named “Our Lady of The Hill”, but was later turned into a burial ground by the Dutch for their noble dead, and renamed “St. Paul’s Church”. Currently the church is part of the Malaccan Museums Complex. The body of St. Francis Xavier was interred here temporarily before it was taken to Goa, India.
  • Christ Church: Constructed in 1753, the structure reflects original Dutch architecture. The building houses hand-crafted church benches, jointless ceiling skylights, a copper replica of the Bible, a headstone written in the Armenian language, and a replica of “The Last Supper“.
  • Francis Xavier Church: This Gothic church was built by a French priest, Rev. Fabre, in 1849, to commemorate St. Francis Xavier who is also known as the “Apostle of the East”. St. Francis Xavier is credited for his Catholic missionary work in Southeast Asia during the 16th century.
  • Stadthuys: Constructed in 1650 as the residence of the Dutch Governor and his deputy, the structure reflects Dutch architecture. It is today the “Museum of History and Ethnography“. The museum exhibits traditional wedding clothes and artifacts of Melaka, dating back to its days of glory.
  • Jonker Street (Jalan Hang Jebat): This street is famous for its antique goods. It is also famous for its carnival-like atmosphere during weekend nights.
  • Portuguese Square Perhaps the right phrase to infer strong affinity to Portugal would be ‘Mini Lisbon’. Located within the Portuguese Settlement, the square is the culmination of Portuguese culture in its full splendour and colours.
  • Cheng Hoon Teng: Oldest Chinese temple in Malaysia.

In order to attract more tourists to Malacca, the State government has built a number of museums to house its rich cultural heritage.