Friday, 1 May 2015

Malaysia, Melaka

This must be my umpteenth time in Melaka. I love going to Melaka for a short retreat because it's not too faraway from Singapore. Plus, it's a quiet town so there's no crowd or traffic. For me, the whole point of being here is to just sleep, eat, and sleep. 

I can still cover the whole heritage area of Melaka though, in just one day when I'm here. That's what I normally do when I am bored out of my minds. My starting point is always at the Independance Memorial and then I'll walk up towards the Melaka Sultanate Palace Museum.

It's good to visit the palace because this is where we could learn about the system of governance during the time when the Sultan ruled Melaka. The picture below features the King Audience Hall, also known as the 'Balairong Seri' in Malay.

Paramewara was the first Sultan of Melaka. He took up the name of Iskandar Syah later on in his life, after he converted to Islam. 

Under his rule, the nobles who reported to him were the 'Bendahara' (main royal advisor & chief justice), the 'Penghulu Bendahari' (minister for finance), the Temenggong (minister for home affairs), and the Laksmana (minister for defence/naval force). These were the prominent ones but there were others too. 

A stone throw away from the palace is the Porta de Santiago, which means a small gatehouse. It used to be part of the A' Famosa fort (The Famous Fort) built by the Portuguese, after they defeated the Melaka Sultanate army and secured Melaka as one of their important outposts along the Spice Route. The fort later on fell under the Dutch and then to the British. The British eventually destroyed the entire A' Famosa fort because they feared that the fort would be used against them. And so Porta de Santiago is the only building that remains until today. 

Making my way up the hill...

I came across a Dutch graveyard and the ruins of the St Paul Church. You can see the Straits of Melaka from here. This must be the best spot to monitor the seas during the olden times. Right next to the church is the Governor's Museum, where the Dutch used to reside and work. 

I didn't stay long here because there was nothing much. Instead, I walked down the road and came across the Literature Museum. In here, I read about Malayan poets and writers. I'm actually quite amazed that I could recognise two of the writers featured in the museum: Munshi Abdullah and A. Samad Said. I've read some of their works too before.

It appeared that I was the only one in the building at that time. There was no one at the reception counter when I walked in, so I decided to leave. The place felt abandoned and dark. Against my better judgment, I think I got spooked out.

Frankly speaking, I've been to so many museums in Melaka that I've forgotten their names. After seeing so many artefacts in one day, it was time to get out and be in the open. I knew that I could get claustrophobic if I were to stay in an enclosed area for too long.

Finally, I have reached the Christ Church, the Stadhuy and many other red buildings that could be seen here in the Red Square. The redness of the buildings was quite daunting. I really don't like the colour. They were originally painted white by the Dutch but I don't know why the British decided to repaint them red.

I took a walk along the Melaka River after that. It was a nice walk if only the sun was not too sunny. By the time I'm done with my walk, I was drenched with sweat and needed a cool bath. 

Overall, it was a good exploration for me and a nice exercise. I need to get a bite now!! Ciao.

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