Saturday, May 28, 2011
Features My Kampung 2011-05-28 18:12
Kampung Hulu Mosque in 1910s. Photo courtesy: University of Singapore
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Translated by LIM YAN TING
Sin Chew Daily
MELAKA: Kampung Hulu Mosque was built in the year 1728 during the Dutch colonisation. It is one of the oldest and yet still fully functional mosque in the country, the other one being Peringgit Mosque.
Kapitan Dato Shamsuddin Along, leader of the Malay community, was the one who built this 283-year-old mosque.
It has been said that the Kapitan was originally from China and was also called Sun Shih-Lin. He met a shipwreck on his way from China to Melaka and vowed that he would embrace Islam if his life was eventually saved.
A blend of cultures
Kampung Hulu Mosque boasts a combination of architectural styles including those from the Netherlands, Sumatra, China, etc. It has an Indonesian style three-tiered square roof, with the corner of the roof slightly raised.
There are floral designs decorated with shoal rock and glass chips, as well as a solid yet curvy octagonal round tower that looks more like a lighthouse but is actually the tower of light in Islam that summonses the faithfuls to pray five times a day.
Bricks were added to the Kampung Hulu Mosque to reinforce the structure in the year 1892.
Postcard 1: Black roof tiles of 1910s
One of the postcards shows the Kampung Hulu Mosque with the black roof tiles in 1910's. In the picture we can see that the rooftop of the mosque was covered with tiles, the sliding door with brick wall. Rickshaws and attap-roofed bullock-carts could be seen on the road.
However, from the picture taken from today's angle, we can clearly see that the wall has been expanded; and changes were made to the original door. The Chinese style round roof behind the mosque has been torn down and replaced by a squarish modern building.
Postcard 2: White rooftop covered with zinc
From another postcard, the Kampung Hulu mosque with a white rooftop could be more recent than the one on the previous postcard. We can see that the roof of the mosque was covered with zinc, and there were vehicles on the road that looked much more modern than the bullock-carts.
You can also see the Melaka River not too far away from the front of the mosque. The building on the left behind has disappeared and changed, whereas some buildings on the right behind the mosque have been demolished.
From the most recent picture, it can be seen that on the left hand side of the river are a row of four-and-a-half storey buildings built about 30 years ago.
Kampung Hulu Mosque's appearance is still pretty much the same today as two centuries ago, only that the surroundings have changed drastically over the years.
The 283-year-old mosque remains an important place for Muslims to visit and offer their prayers.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
A sorry sight: The embankment along Sungai Melaka was ruined after the soil underneath the pedestrian pathway gave way and collapsed near Stadhuys on Wednesday.
Friday May 27, 2011
Malacca river bank collapses
MALACCA: Part of an embankment along Sungai Melaka here, believed to have been built during the early days of the British colonial era, has collapsed.
The over 100-year-old structure, which collapsed on Wednesday night, could have become weakened following heavy overnight rain in the city.
The rain also triggered a landslip along the river bank.
Malacca Historical City Council's mayor Zainal Abu, who visited the site yesterday, said remedial work on the damaged portion would be carried out at once.
He said the embankment was believed to have collapsed between 8pm and 9pm.
“We will get a contractor to assess the damages and the cost of reconstructing the structure,” he said, adding that the materials used in the earlier construction would be retrieved in a bid to preserve the original structure.
“We will do our best to maintain all the past structural elements that crumbled due to the soil erosion,” he said.
Three stalls operating along the damaged site would also be temporarily relocated until the reconstruction had been completed, added Zainal.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Business News 2011-05-23 15:30
MELAKA, May 23 (Bernama) -- A coastal highway between Melaka and Port Dickson and a flood mitigation project are among four infrastructure projects proposed by the Melaka government in Budget 2012 to be tabled by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on Oct 7.
Melaka Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam said the other projects were upgrading of the Ayer Keroh expressway and a drainage and sewage project.
"These projects are crucial to provide better facilities for the people and accommodate the rapid development in Melaka," he told reporters here after a visit to Pekan Bukit Baru here today.
He said the existing infrastructure, like drains, could not accommodate the rapid development in the state, resulting in flash floods to occur.
Mohd Ali said the upgrading of the Ayer Keroh expressway, which would involve construction of a flyover at the intersection of the Melaka International Trade Centre and at the Istana intersection near the Pantai Hospital, was vital as it served as the main entry point to the state.
"I will also request to have a tram service between Ayer Keroh and the Melaka town center to reduce congestion on the Ayer Keroh expressway," he added.
In another development, Mohd Ali said the state government had spent RM4.9 million to pay compensation to owners of 26 houses and shops in Pekan Bukit Baru to make way for new development at the site.
The site would be developed with the construction of a three-storey building comprising 43 shops and work on the project would begin in August, he added.
Monday, May 16, 2011
Buddhism to the world more than 2,500 years ago.
May we extend our Wesak greetings to all Buddhists on this auspicious occasion. It is our time to remember the Teachings of Buddha and practice the Middle Path so that we can reach Enlightment in our own lives.
Let us remember that our lives in this physical world are transient. Our lives are not permanent but we should strive towards Enlightenment so that we can break the vicious cycle of Rebirth. Being Born is suffering and to end our suffering, we must work towards Nirvana where we can break our Rebirth.
Don't be afraid of Death, Beware of Birth.
Death is the beginning of rebirth
Living is on the way to death.
Cessation of suffering means no rebirth.
This is the Truth of no Rebirth (Nirvana)
Sunday, May 15, 2011
FireFly-Melaka Air will boost state as tourist destination
MALACCA: The Batu Berendam International airport here is poised to get a stimulus with a new airline interested in turning the facility into its air transportation hub.
Servicing seven air routes between Thailand, Indonesia and local sectors, the FireFly-Melaka Air is expected to make its maiden flight on Nov 11, 2011, symbolising the favourite numbers for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak - (11/11/11).
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam said NN Flyers, a aviation company based in Kuala Lumpur who holds an equity of 90% in the company will collaborate with state-owned agency, Yayasan Melaka, who owns a 10% share in the airlines.
Affordable air travel: Budget carriers like Firefly is making transit time faster for busy people.
“NNFlyers will lease the ATR-72 aircraft from MAS affiliate FireFly with the cost of USD190,000 where the collaboration will be known as Firefly-Melaka Air,” he said after chairing the weekly Exco meeting here on Wednesday.
Mohd Ali added that the airlines will serve Medan, Pekan Baru, Padang and Pelembang in Indonesia, Hatyai in Thailand while Penang and Kota Baru are the two local routes.
The frequency of flights are between three to four times in a week while the ticket prices are expected to be announced later.
Mohd Ali said he had calculated the maintenance of each aircraft at RM800,000 including the salaries of crew members of the new airline.
“We anticipate the revenue of the new airline to be lucrative considering that Malacca is a top tourist destination,” he said.
He also noted that two other airlines Wings Air and Riau Airlines that have landing rights at the airport here would not be affected by the debut of the new service.
The airt transporation providers currently serves Pekan Baru-Malacca-Pekan Baru with frequencies of three flights, a week.
On a separate matter, Mohd Ali announced that foreigners will be granted to procure properties here that cost more than RM200,000 but with the condition that they have to fork out a levy of 2%.
He said the new ruling will take effect immediately where the revenue collected from such levies would be used to aid the needy in the state.
Mohd Ali added that the collection will be channelled to state Public Aid Fund where the fund would be wisely utilised to aid the locals who are in need of financial assistances.
He said the state hoped to yield some type of revenue due from the property boom in the state, especially with the overwhelming demand from foreigners, especially Singaporeans who are keen to own properties here.
Friday, May 13, 2011
'Bahtera Merdeka', A New Tourist Attraction In Melaka
MELAKA, May 13 (Bernama) -- 'Bahtera Merdeka', an amphitheatre in the shape of a ship from yesteryear, is set to be a new tourist attraction in Melaka when it is open to the public by year-end.
Mohd Nizar Mohd Najib, who heads Pekan Legasi Sdn Bhd, the company responsible for building the new attraction, said Bahtera Merdeka would have a 472-seat capacity and could be transformed to accommodate special functions.
"We began building Bahtera Merdeka in October, last year," he told a press conference after a signing ceremony between the company and SME Bank here Friday.
The bank was represented by its managing director, Datuk Mohd Radzif Mohd Yunus.
Mohd Nizar said the project was 70 per cent completed and cost RM25 million. SME Bank is giving a RM18.3 million loan to finance the project.
He said Bahtera Merdeka would offer visitors a 5-D show on a water screen to relate the birth of Melaka through the year of prosperity until the beginning of Malaysia.
"We will run the show five times daily and expect to lure about 10,000 visitors a month," he said, adding that ticket prices would be between RM40 and RM60 per person.
The project, part of the first phase of the Melaka Alive project located in the World Heritage Site, also comprises a facelift to the History Museum, Maritime Museum and the Warisan Museum Complex.
Mohd Nizar said, the second phase of Melaka Alive project which cost more than RM41.4 million, was expected to begin in the first quarter of next year and take two years to finish, focusing on the upgrading of the site and assets of existing museums.
Meanwhile, Perbadanan Muzium Melaka general manager Khamis Abas said the Melaka Alive project, aimed at giving a facelift to the World Heritage Site, would revolutionise the way people viewed history.
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Fri, May 13, 2011
By Surendar Kaur
DON'T be surprised if you don't see too many Sikhs in Singapore next weekend. Most of us will be in Malacca from May 20 to 22 for prayers at the Gurdwara Sahib Malacca.
The weekend of prayers draws thousands of Sikhs and others from Malaysia and Singapore to the Jalan Temenggong gurdwara. They go to pay their respects to the late Baba Sohan Singh who spread the Sikh religion with his inspiring discussions and speeches.
Ever since he died on May 24, 1972, after a short illness, the Gurdwara Sahib Malacca commemorates the date by holding an Akhand Path (continuous recitation of the Sikh sacred religious texts for approximately 21/2 days) and prayers annually. Popularly known as Baba Sohan Singh's Barsi, it is a time to pray for whatever help they seek and also express gratitude for the help received.
I, for one, have been making this annual pilgrimage to Malacca for the past 17 years. The first time, in 1994, I prayed to be blessed with a child. My daughter was born a year later - call it divine or medical intervention, but my husband and I were thrilled - and since then we make sure we are at Gurdwara Sahib Malacca every year.
Apart from the prayers, I also enjoy the social aspect of this pilgrimage. With so many Sikhs descending on Malacca for the weekend - thousands drive up from Singapore or charter buses for the trip while even more arrive from other Malaysian cities and towns - hotels are packed and room reservations have to be made very early.
In the temple, we attend the prayer sessions and do sewa (performing a service) which can include helping to prepare food and serving it to the devotees.
And this is where the weekend takes on a multiracial flavour: Not only does the temple serve free food to anyone who walks in and takes a seat in the dining area, many Chinese volunteers provide items like you tiao (fried crullers) and soya bean drinks while south Indians cook thosais or pratas for breakfast.
In addition, there is a blood donation drive, with medical teams in attendance, while a pasar malam (night market) always springs up outside the temple with stalls selling Punjabi outfits, CDs, Indian sweets and many other items.
While some people shop, others do some sightseeing. A common sight during the weekend is elderly women riding in a cycle rickshaw which has Hindi music blaring from its huge speakers. And once night falls, a bhangra night is also organised for the youngsters to have some fun.
For my family and me, this is a great outing where we combine our religious duties with some shopping and fun. In fact, it even becomes an opportunity to catch up with relatives and friends from the community. So, if you're in Malacca next weekend, come and say hello.
Thursday, May 12, 2011
By Jason Gerald John
MALACCA: The state government has again offered a billion ringgit deal to the private sector to salvage treasures from sunken ships lying in the sea off Malacca.
About 13 ships, comprising merchant ships and warships that sunk in the strait about 500 years ago, have been identified and its treasures are estimated to be worth billions of ringgit.
Among them are the Middleburg, which sank on Aug 16, 1606; Wieringen (June 2, 1636), Franeker (Jan 18, 1642), Bambeek (Jan 12, 1702), and Overduin (June 27, 1784).
They are located off Tanjung Tuan, Tanjung Kling, Tanjung Pinang, Pulau Undan and Permatang Rumput, respectively.
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam said investigations showed the vessels could have sank during Malacca's heyday as a trading port.
"We are interested in salvaging these sunken treasures which are believed to be worth billions of ringgit but we have no monetary resources as it takes some RM3 million to salvage treasures from one single vessel.
"This is why I am seeking the help of interested private shipwreck salvagers to help the state bring up the treasures and they will be rewarded for their efforts.
"Half the treasures which are salvaged must be handed over to the Federal Government while the remaining half could be shared equally by the state government and the private company undertaking the salvage works," he said.
He was speaking to reporters after the weekly state executive council meeting yesterday. In 2004, porcelain believed to be more than 200 years old was salvaged from a shipwreck about two nautical miles off the coast of Limbungan.
The artefacts, dating back to the 1800s, are believed to be shards of two vases from China and Vietnam, and were salvaged by Royal Malaysian Navy divers after being detected a sonar scan. The search and salvage operation is estimated to have cost the state government about RM171,000.
It was also reported that at least six Portuguese ships might have sunk along the Malacca coastline and these do not include 12 shipwrecks discovered off Tanjung Tuan by a local salvaging company, Serene Zone Sdn Bhd, and several others off Pulau Upeh.
Ali said he had been making a similar offer since 2000 to shipwreck salvage companies to help uncover the treasures from the depths of the Straits of Malacca but there were no takers. "If there are no takers after this, we might ask the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Culture, Art and Heritage, to help us salvage the treasures as these could also be national heritage items," he said.
Monday, May 9, 2011
Thursday, May 5, 2011
May 05, 2011 18:03 PM
Songket Melaka Adds Prestige To Historical State
By Fadzli Ramli
MELAKA, May 5 (Bernama) -- Traditionally, the songket, the luxurious textile hand-woven in silk or cotton and intricately patterned with gold or silver threads, is an exclusive artwork from Kelantan and Terengganu.
Now, Melaka, a state in the west coast, aims to be part of the songket's legacy with its own unique brand of songket bunga kesidang.
The songket is the brainchild of Yang Dipertua Negeri Melaka Tun Mohd Khalil Yaakob, who wanted to ensure that Melaka had a songket of its own. In fact, the songket is already most commonly associated with the state.
The motif chosen for the songket was based on the bunga kesidang (Vallaris Glabara), the bread flower, which is also the state's official flower.
In 2004, the Institut Seni Malaysia Melaka (ISMMA) was tasked with designing the songket using the bunga kesidang motif and ensuring that it qualified as the Songket Melaka.
The institute was also entrusted with ensuring that Songket Melaka was on par with the songkets from Kelantan and Terengganu.
THE SONGKET MELAKA'S DESIGN
ISMMA's manager, Noor Azlina Yunus, told Bernama that the institute started designing the songket about six years ago using the expertise of two cultural icons, Malaysia's Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Tapa and Bapak Tenas Effendy from Indonesia.
She noted that the songket basically has four parts: a body, head, kapit and legs. Both experts, she said, decided on the most suitable design for each part.
"Each part of the songket has its own motif and reason for why it is there," she explained.
Azlina revealed that the work of designing the patterns on the songket took about a year before a 'prototype' was made for the approval of Mohd Khalil.
After getting the nod from Mohd Khalil, ISMMA searched for the best weaver to ensure that Melaka entered the world of songket-making in style.
ISMMA compared the work quality of weavers from Terengganu, Indonesia and Selangor. After a thorough scrutiny of woven work from the three states, a company in Selangor was awarded the task of weaving the songket.
"It is not that ISMMA did not want to weave the songket itself; rather, it was done to ensure the highest weaving quality and we wanted the skills of an expert weaver before taking on the task ourselves," she said.
ISMMA is currently learning the art of songket weaving to create high quality songket bunga kesidang.
In pursuit of this goal, ISMMA has sent some of its staffers on an exchange programme to a weaving handicraft agency in Indonesia.
"We always send young staffers on such exchange programmes. We want to expose them to the art of songket weaving, as well as ensure that this art form is handed down to future generations," she explained.
So far, two types of songket bunga kesidang are available, namely the samping (short sarong worn over the trousers) for men and the textile set, and sash for women.
The hand-woven songket made of silk can sell for RM 2,500, while the one made of polyester material fetches RM650. However, a machine-made songket is much cheaper at RM250.
A hand-woven songket made of silk, in the form of sarongs and sashes, can sell for RM3,000.
TAKING MELAKA'S SONGKET TO THE WORLD
Since 2009, ISMMA has been promoting the songket bunga kesidang locally, starting with official state government functions.
"Currently, members of the public are encouraged to wear the Songket Melaka at official state events, like the investiture ceremony," he said.
ISMMA has plans to market the songket overseas. In addition, the Malay Islamic World Secretariat (DMDI) has been identified as the agency with the capability to market the songket on the international stage.
On 6 Dec, 2008, Bollywood star Datuk Shah Rukh Khan wore the samping Songket Melaka sponsored by ISMMA when he received the Darjah Mulia Seri Melaka (DMSM) award. The award gives official recognition to songkets unique to the state.
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Monday, May 2, 2011
Malacca's biggest real estate project
By Jason Gerald John
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Malacca Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam
The RM2 billion Hatten City project in Jalan Syed Abdul Aziz in Banda Hilir was launched by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam.
The development will be undertaken by Singapore-based Hatten Group.
With a gross area of eight million square feet in an eight-hectare plot, the project will also feature the tallest building in the state, 45-storey high with a 360-degree viewing sky deck.
Speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony, Ali said the biggest real estate project in the state would combine heritage and futuristic elements.
"The Hatten City is poised to be the state's most iconic development that portrays futuristic and chic innovations, injects fun, excitement and vibrancy.
"The mixed-development project comprises retail units, residences (condominiums), international hotels, office tower, resort and shopping complex," he said.
Also present were Hatten Group chairman Datuk Eric Tan Eng Huat, chief executive officer Edwin Tan Ping Huang and managing director Colin Tan Juen Teng.
Hatten City is the third development project for the Hatten Group, which is known for its development of the Dataran Pahlawan shopping mall that draws millions of visitors each year.
"This new icon, which is expected to be completed in the next eight years in two parcels, will transform Malacca," said Juen Teng.
"Parcel I, which rests on two hectares, will include the Elements mall which will share the same building with two international hotel chains.
"This parcel is further made extravagant with Silverscape, the highest condominium towers with 45 storeys in the heart of the city and facing the Straits of Malacca," said Juen Teng.
Work on the Elements mall will begin this year and be completed in three years.
"It will be a mix of our past heritage and high fashion, where the dramatic history of Malacca is tastefully recreated for our convenience.
"You can walk down the 'Time Tunnel' and indulge in 500 years of history of the state, all in cool comfort and ambience, while bringing you back to the past with the many mini replicas of famous historical sites such as Stadhuys, A Famosa and also the well sought after diversified cultural displays of the Baba Nyonya, Portuguese, Malays, Chinese and Indians.
"Elements mall is an inspiring blend of retail and recreation, comprises eight retail floors, with each floor dedicated to a particular segment of fashion or arts and crafts.
"Elements is inspired by the famous Korean fashion hubs concept, Dongdaemun and Namdaemun, and offers high fashion concepts, housing both local and international brands, spanning five levels from the ground floor with 830 retail units."
On Silverscape, Juen Teng said the high-end residence that occupies two of the four tower blocks that make up Parcel I, offered luxury living fronting the sea.
"Spacious yet intimate, each unit at Silverscape beckons with concept and style. Silverscape sits directly above the Elements mall, towering over the Malacca city centre and rises to the pinnacle.
As for Parcel II, which will sit on 4.7ha of reclaimed land, Juen Teng said it promises breathtaking premium sea front living condominiums and private villas with a contemporary business zone to combine work and play.
"Parcel II would also be complemented with Troadwalle, a luxury shopping haven for premium fashion brands from across the globe and Malacca's very first open sky deck clubhouse.
"This would truly be the only one place where you can unwind, indulge, explore, invest and grow," he said, adding that work on Parcel II would start in 2014 and would be completed by 2019.