Cuisine in Melaka


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



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.

Tourism Malaysia

Cruise travel grows in Asia

A Princess Cruises ship in Alaska. The company will operate from Singapore next yearto provide short-haul leisure tripsA Princess Cruises ship in Alaska. The company will operate from Singapore next year
to provide short-haul leisure trips

The region will have more cruise travel options next year with the coming of a mega-cruise company.

CARNIVAL, the world’s largest cruise group, unveiled its Asian expansion plans, predicting the regional market for leisure voyages will grow dramatically within the decade.

South-East Asia in particular will be a key focus, the company said as it announced that one of its brands, Princess Cruises, will operate from Singapore by next year to provide short-haul leisure trips.

“Carnival is really investing a lot in Asia. We are trying to stimulate the demand of the market. Today, it’s a bit quiet as cruising is not well known,” Pier Luigi Foschi, chairman and chief executive of Carnival Asia, said.

“South-East Asia is a key market to develop cruising because it is a year-round experience. The seas are typically calm and the surroundings are beautiful, particularly for short-haul cruises.”

Carnival’s brands include Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn, AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard, Ibero Cruises, PO Cruises in Australia and PO Cruises in Britain.

Foschi, speaking on the sidelines of a press conference, cited industry forecasts that cruise liners will see a total of seven million passengers a year by 2020 in Asia, up from just above one million now.

The Sapphire Princess will be deployed to Singapore from November 2014 to February 2015. The luxury liner, which can carry 2,670 passengers, will bring travellers from Singapore to cities and exotic destinations in countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. Carnival already has a presence in China through its Costa Cruises brand, while Princess Cruises is setting up shop in Japan this month.

“As cruise lines are being deployed into the market, the market starts to develop. Slowly at first, but then they reach a critical mass,” said Alan Buckelew, chief executive and president of Princess Cruises.

“Our ships move to where we believe the demand is strongest.”

Singapore, a regional aviation hub, has also taken steps to gain a bigger slice of the growing cruise travel market. In October last year, it opened a new cruise terminal capable of berthing the world’s biggest luxury liners. – AFP

All Malaysia Info

Puteri Gunung Ledang

Puteri Gunung Ledang (PGL) tells the tale of the eponymous Princess of Mt. Ledang whose beauty is said to be unmatched.

Puteri Gunung Ledang

Tiara Jacquelina in Puteri Gunung Ledang the Movie.

Her legend and renown soon caught the attention of the then ruler of Malacca Sultan Mahmud Shah.

The Sultan, who upon hearing of the princess who lived at the peak of Gunung Ledang, sent a small group of men to trudge up the mountain to send her his marriage proposal.

After seven days of a challenging climb, the men reached the summit of Gunung Ledang and came upon an old and bent woman (invariably called Nek Kebayan in traditional Malay literature, and not unlike the haggard Witch of Western folklore).

The men explained the purpose of their visit to the old lady, but they were cautioned and given a forewarning: to be as truthful and honest of their intentions when meeting the princess.

Before the men could enquire the meaning behind her words, Nek Kebayan vanished before their very eyes. Where she stood, a mystical path appeared that led the men to an enchanting garden where they met the beautiful princess.

Upon meeting her, the men conveyed the Sultan’s marriage proposal but the princess demanded that the Sultan prepare a dowry that included a bridge of gold and silver from the summit of Gunung Ledang to Malacca; seven trays of mosquito hearts and seven trays of hearts of mites; a vessel of water from dried areca nuts; a vessel of virgin maiden tears; and a bowl of the Sultan’s son’s blood.

The princess would wed the Sultan only if her demands were met.

In the Sultan’s haste to satisfy his lust and desire, he set about fulfilling the list of dowry until he reached the final demand – a bowl of his son’s blood.

As the Sultan prepared to plunge his keris into his child’s body, the princess appeared before him out of thin air to stop him from doing so.

She condemned the Sultan on his willingness to kill his son to fulfill his selfish desires and expressed her dismay; she could never marry such a man.

It can be surmised that the purpose of the princess’ demands were twofold. It served as a hindrance to, as well as a test of character for potential suitors, and the Sultan failed the test.

Tourism Malaysia

The Magical World of Aladdin

December 14, 2011 at 4:00 pm

Our story begins in a land far far away called Askabah…

The evil Jafar, who is also the Sultan’s Grand Vizier, is up to no good again. Standing in front of the Cave of Wonders, Jafar sends in a local thief to retrieve the most powerful item that is stored within the cave – a magic lamp. But his efforts to get the lamp are wasted as the guardian of the cave informs him that only one person can enter the cave, a boy known as ‘The Diamond in the Rough’.

Where a young lad named Aladdin roam the market grounds of Askabah, avoiding the royal guards of the Sultan.

Though it may be early in the morning, the marketplace is now bustling with people from all walks of life. Some of them were there to peddle their wares while others were there to browse at what was offered. Suddenly, a buzz of activity formed at the fringes of the marketplace – Aladdin is on the run again from the Sultan’s guards. As he outwits and outruns the guards with his quick mind and nimble feet, he caught a glimpse of a dark-haired beauty from the corners of his eyes walking around the marketplace…

The marketplace of Askabah

Here comes Aladdin!

Uh oh.. look out behind you Aladdin! The Royal Guards are closing in!

As he was trying to shake the Sultan’s guards off his tail, he sees a beautiful girl walking around the marketplace…

Though Princess Jasmine knows that her father loves her very much, she was not too pleased when she found out that the Sultan is trying to find a husband for her. The princess believes that one should only marry for love and nothing else. Though she could not help but be smitten when she met Aladdin, she realised that she could never marry a street rat.

Princess Jasmine reveals her true identity at a chance meeting with Aladdin in the marketplace. Alas… as a princess, she could never marry a street rat

After realising that the dark-haired beauty was Princess Jasmine, Aladdin escapes the guards once more and heads to the Palace Garden.

Although she realises that marrying a street rat does not befit her status as a princess, Princess Jasmine cannot help but share her feelings for Aladdin with her hand maidens. Little did she know that Aladdin is nearby. And when the opportunity came for Aladdin to reveal himself to Princess Jasmine, he gladly took it with both of his hands.

The princess shares her feelings with her hand maidens about her brief encounter with the handsome Aladdin

Aladdin taking his chance to meet Princess Jasmine at the Palace Garden

Unbeknownst to Aladdin, the evil Jafar has his eyes on the boy and manages to capture him at the Palace Garden…

Jafar is still looking for the boy known as ‘The Diamond in The Rough’ but failing miserably. He then hypnotises the Sultan in order to get his mystical blue diamond ring, where The Slave of the Ring resides. Through this lesser genie, Jafar finds out that only Aladdin can enter the caves and retrieve the magical lamp. When he finds out that Aladdin was at the Palace Garden talking to Princess Jasmine, he wastes no time and sets out to capture the boy.

The evil Jafar casts a spell on the Sultan in order to steal the Sultan’s mystical blue diamond ring

The Sultan confides in his Grand Vizier regarding his plans to find a husband for Princess Jasmine. Unknown to the Sultan, Jafar wants to marry the princess himself so that he can become the next king!

As soon as Princess Jasmine finds out that Aladdin has been captured, she pleaded with her father to let him go, but to no avail

Disguised as an old man, Jafar enters the dungeons and promises to set Aladdin free with only one favour in return – that Aladdin follows him to the Cave of Wonders and retrieves one item of his bidding from the cave.

Aladdin follows this mysterious old man across the desert and to the Cave of Wonders. Acting on the old man’s instructions, he goes into the cave and manages to find the magical lamp. An impatient Jafar tries to enter the cave in hopes of laying his hands on the magical lamp faster, but the cave closes in and traps Aladdin inside. Feeling despair, Aladdin pondered on his predicament when the Slave of the Ring came to his help!

Poor Aladdin found himself thrown into the dungeon by Jafar’s men

A mysterious old man suddenly appears out of nowhere to save Aladdin from his predicament

In return, Aladdin must follow the old man to the Cave of Wonders and retrieve a magic lamp from within the cave

As only Aladdin can enter the cave, Jafar’s impatience caused the cave to close up… trapping our hero inside!

With a little bit of help from the Slave of the Ring, Aladdin rubbed the magic lamp and …

Whoosh!! Out of nowhere, a genie appeared from that little lamp. In return for setting him free from the lamp, the genie promises to grant Aladdin three wishes. Aladdin also finds out that in order to release the genie from his prison, his master must wish for his freedom. Aladdin promises to use his last wish to release the genie, but for now he asks the genie to make him a ‘Billionaire’ and both of them escape from the cave with the genie’s help.

Oh no! How will Aladdin escape from the cave? Wait… did he not find a magical lamp?

Do you think Aladdin should rub the magic lamp?

Whoosh! The Genie of the lamp appears in front of Aladdin as soon as he rubs the magic lamp

With your help Genie, let’s get out of the cave and rock Askabah!

Out came the Genie of the lamp! Using two of the three wishes granted…

There is a new prince in town and no one knows where this dashing prince comes from, not even Jafar. Prince Ali struts into the town of Askabar with his grand entourage and his loyal sidekick, the Genie. With his new found wealth, Prince Ali plans to woo Princess Jasmine and eventually ask for her hand in marriage. Though the prince may appear to be charming, he is at his wits’ end when it comes to the topic of wooing Princess Jasmine. So with Genie’s help, Prince Ali takes the beautiful Princess Jasmine on a magical carpet ride and together they discover ‘A Whole New World’.

There is a new prince in town… And his name is Prince Ali!

As Prince Ali’s entourage swept into the city of Askabah, everyone was mesmerised by the fire-eaters and the dancers

Everybody is wondering.. who is this mysterious prince?

Aladdin may be good at avoiding the Royal guards, but he definitely can use some of the genie’s help when it comes to capturing Princess Jasmine’s heart

Aladdin brings Princess Jasmine on a magical carpet ride, opening her eyes to a whole new world

The street rat is now a wealthy prince. But alas, the evil Jafar soon finds out Prince Ali’s true identity…

Jafar plans to trick Princess Jasmine into giving him the lamp by posing as a lamp merchant. Thinking nothing bad will ever come from trading an old lamp for new, Princess Jasmine hands over the magical lamp to Jafar, making him now Genie’s new master. Jafar captures the princess and the Sultan and locks them up in the dungeon.

Jafar disguises as a peddler trading new lamps for old, and manages to trick Princess Jasmine into giving him the magic lamp for a new one

Oh no! Now that the genie is under Jafar’s control, he has ordered the Sultan and Princess Jasmine to be locked up in the dungeons. Who will save them?

He tricks Princess Jasmine into handing over the lamp and is now Genie’s new master. Jafar soon plans to use his wishes to make himself the ruler of Askabah and the world!

When Prince Ali realises what has happened, he quickly came to the princess and the Sultan’s rescue. He bravely fights off the palace guards but Jafar turns the genie onto Prince Ali. Remembering his last wish, Prince Ali wishes for the genie’s freedom and … poof!! The genie is now a free man. But what happened to the evil Jafar?

Poor Princess Jasmine… who will come to her aid now?

With his last wish, Aladdin wishes for the genie’s freedom… imprisoning Jafar as the genie in the lamp instead!

When Prince Ali discovered Jafar’s evil plans, he rushed to the dungeons and saved Princess Jasmine and the Sultan. Using his last wish, he wished that the genie will have his freedom and never to be a slave to the lamp.

By making that last wish, Prince Ali freed the genie and in return, the evil Jafar took over the genie’s place. Now that Jafar has been captured, Askabah is once again ruled by the gentle hearted Sultan. Prince Ali confesses to his true identity to Princess Jasmine, who is glad to know that her beloved prince is the same street rat that she had fallen for previously. They celebrate their wedding in great style and…

After confessing his true identity to Princess Jasmine, they both celebrate their wedding in style and live happily ever after

Prince Ali saved the princess and the Sultan from Jafar’s evil plans. Everyone is happy and they all lived happily ever after… including the genie!

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Tourism Malaysia

Aladdin The Musical

November 23, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Who can ever forget the enchanting tale of Aladdin and Princess Jasmine in Disney cartoon’s ‘Aladdin‘. His charms and dashing smile melted the hearts of many a peasant girl as well as Princess Jasmine. Together with the fast-talking and crazy Genie of the Lamp, they expose Jafar’s evil plans of becoming the world’s most powerful sorcerer and Sultan of Agrabah and saves the kingdom from falling into his evil hands. And like all Disney’s cartoons, Aladdin wins Princess Jasmine’s heart in the end and they both live happily ever after.

Come 25th November 2011 till 2nd January 2012, Sunway Lagoon is proud to present Aladdin The Musical. Be prepared to be entertained by Aladdin, Princess Jasmine, the jovial ‘rapping’ Genie and the evil Jafar as they transport the crowd into the magical land of Askabar. This extravagant West End production promises to enthral the audiences with flying carpets, pyrotechnics and even snow, bringing this age old fairytale of Aladdin to life. The six principal characters will be played by talents from London’s famous West End and will be joined by an international ensemble cast of dancers, fire eaters and stilt-walkers.

Aladdin The Musical

So come and experience a fun and magical time with Aladdin The Musical at the Amphitheatre @ Sunway Lagoon. The musical will show once a day and twice on Saturdays. There will also be extra shows on 25th December 2011 and 1st January 2012. Tickets are priced at RM 100, RM 200, RM 250 and RM 300 for adults and RM 50, RM 100, RM 120 and RM 150 for children up to 12 years old. Performance schedules are as below:

Shows from Sundays to Fridays @ 8.00 pm

Shows on Saturdays at 7.15 pm and 9.15 pm

Extra shows on 25th December 2011 AND 1st January 2012 at 7.15 pm and 9.15 pm.

*Please note that there will be no shows on TUESDAYS.

For those who would like to purchase the tickets, please log on to AirAsia Red Tix’s website here or call Sunway Lagoon at 03 5639 0000. Alternatively, one can also purchase tickets for Aladdin The Musical at the following Rock Corner outlets located in The Gardens, Mid Valley, Mid Valley, KLCC, Subang Parade, The Curve and One Utama. Tickets can also be purchased at Victoria Music outlets located at Sungei Wang, Amcorp Mall, Tropicana Mall and Bangsar Shopping Centre.

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