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  • Aug 29th, 2011

Melaka

I love travelling it’s so inspirational and my recent trip to Malaysia and Indonesia was no exception. I have discovered some amazing places and even more amazing textiles which I will be sharing over the next few weeks.

Trishaws in Dutch Square Melaka

Melaka is Malaysia’s most historically interesting city. Under the Melaka Sultanates the city’s strategic position on the Straits made it one of South East Asia’s wealthiest trading ports. It was subsequently colonized by the Portuguese, Dutch and British all of whom left reminders of their rule.

Lined up outside the bright red Christ Church in Dutch Square are the colourful and highly decorated trishaws. Festooned with gawdy artificial flowers, elaborate canopies, umberellas, bells, whistles and even Barbie dolls. Most are equipped with their own car stereo systems blaring out all manner of music from local tunes to the latest hits.

Trishaw with Barbie Dolls

Trishaw with Barbie Dolls

Crossing the river you enter old Melaka. Here the Cheng Hoon Chinese Temple ( the oldest in Malaysia) is just down the road from the Mosque and the Hindu Temple reflecting the diverse ethnic and cultural traditions which co-exist.

Cheng Hoon Chinese Temple

Cheng Hoon Chinese Temple

Offerings at Cheng Hoon Temple

Wandering along the famous Jalan Hang Jebat (Jonkers St) it is Peranakan architecture which is most evident. Narrow shophouses with louvered shutters, elaborate plasterwork facades and brightly coloured ceramic tiles line the winding streets. Melaka is the centre of the Peranakan or Baba Nyonya culture. A unique community created when Chinese immigrants married Malay women and their cultures became intertwined. Melaka is a wonderful melting pot of different ethnic and cultural traditions.

Shophouse

The Exquisite hand beaded shoes worn by Peranaken women

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