Local Heart, Global Soul

November 11, 2012

Are These The “Now” Photos, Or The Future “Then” Photos?

Filed under: MALAYSIA,PHOTOGRAPHY,Places and Sights,Travel — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We are about to leave Melaka, but first let’s take a look around the rest of the town. I like taking “general” photos like this because it shows the real character of a place where locals live and work and the “normal” places as opposed to the touristic haunts.

Also it’s always true that every town and city is in a constant state of evolution, buildings come and go, fashion changes, so in a strange way I also want to leave a record of what it looks like in 2012 so that if one day I return  in the future I can compare the “then”and “now”.

And who knows?  Maybe even one day one of my children or grandchildren or great grandchildren will also enjoy travelling to far flung places around the world,  wouldn’t it be fabulous if they were also bloggers who documented their travels?

Wouldn’t it be cool if they found these places and took their own “now” photos and compared them to mine? (sigh) OK Kiwidutch, get real,  this scenario probably won”t ever happen…  and while you’re at it just admit that you just like taking photos of ordinary things, ordinary places, constantly, all the time. Yes, as usual let’s just enjoy taking a look around…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

November 7, 2012

Even the Church has Changed it’s Stripes… But is Not Separated From This World…

Filed under: HISTORY,Landmarks,MALAYSIA,Melaka,PHOTOGRAPHY,Travel — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

You are leafing through the pages of my travel diary as I document our travel adventures of December 2011 and January 2012. At the moment we are taking a side trip to Melaka Malaysia, as part of an almost week long stopover in Singapore on our way back home to the Netherlands.

Dutch Square in Melaka has me captivated… it’s wall-to-wall tropical heat but here I am, mesmerised by beautiful buildings, culture and a heap of history… what’s not to like?

The latest building to capture my attention is the Melaka Christ Church. Painted in the same pink/red as the Stadthuys on one side and the Youth Museum and Art Gallery on the other, this previously Dutch Reformed church has been through it’s share of changes because  it’s now an Anglican church.

I love going inside all historical buildings,  and love churches too, but sadly we just don’t have time to see and experience all that Melaka has to offer in one short day trip, especially one that involves six hours of coach travel.

From Wikipedia I learn:

The church is built in Dutch Colonial architecture style and is laid out in a simple rectangle of 82 feet (25 m) by 42 feet (13 m). The ceiling rises to 40 feet (12 m) and is spanned by wooden beams, each carved from a single tree.

The roof is covered with Dutch tiles and the walls were raised using Dutch bricks built on local laterite blocks then coated with Chinese plaster. The floors of the church are paved with granite blocks originally used as ballast for merchant ships.

The Dutch conquest of Malacca from the Portuguese Empire in 1641 saw the proscription of Roman Catholicism and the conversion of existing churches to Dutch Reformed use. The old St. Paul’s Church at the summit of St. Paul Hill was renamed the Bovenkerk (High Church) and used as the main parish church of the Dutch community.

In 1741, in commemoration of the centenary of the capture of Malacca from the Portuguese, the Dutch burgher community decided to build a new church to replace the aging Bovenkerk. 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The foundation stone was laid by the Malacca born Captain of the Malacca Burghers, Abraham de Wind, on behalf of his father, Claas de Wind, a prominent Burgher who had been the Secunde (Deputy Governor) of Malacca.

The church was completed 12 years later in 1753 and replaced the Bovenkerk as the primary Dutch Reformed Church in Dutch Malacca. 

With the signing of the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824, possession of Malacca was transferred to the British East India Company and in 1838, the church was re-consecrated with the rites of the Church of England by the Rt. Rev. Daniel Wilson, the Anglican Bishop of Calcutta and renamed Christ Church.

Originally painted white, the church and the neighbouring Stadthuys building was painted red in 1911 and this distinctive colour scheme has remained the hallmark of Malacca’s Dutch-era buildings since. The original Dutch windows were reduced and ornamented after the British takeover of Malacca and the porch and vestry were built only in the mid-19th century.

The floors of the church also incorporate various tombstones with Portuguese and Armenian inscriptions used as paving blocks. Memorial plaques in Dutch, Armenian and English also adorn the interior of the church. Some Armenian inscriptions provide an interesting panorama of life in the Dutch period:

“Greetings, you who are reading this tablet of my tomb in which I now sleep. Give me the news, the freedom of my countrymen, for them I did much weep. If there arose among them one good guardian to govern and keep. Vainly I expected the world to see a good shepherd came to look after the scattered sheep.”

“I, Jacob, grandson of Shamier, an Armenian of a respectable family whose name I keep, was born in Persia near Inefa, where my parents now forever sleep. Fortune brought me to distant Malacca, which my remains in bondage to keep. Separated from the world on 7th July 1774 A.D. at the age of twenty-nine, my mortal remains were deposited in this spot of the ground which I purchased.” 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The church bell is inscribed with the date 1698 suggesting that it was used for another purpose prior to the completion of the church.
The church’s collection of Kerk Boek (Church Book), Resolutie Boek (Resolution Book), Rapporten (Reports) as well as the Doop Boek (Baptism Register) going back to the earliest Dutch times in Malacca have survived through the centuries. These antiquated documents are now being kept at the National Archives of Malaysia.

Silver altar vessels dating back to the early Dutch period are also in the possession of the church but are kept in storage and rarely taken out for display. The altar Bible has a cover made of brass inscribed with the passage from John 1:1 in Dutch.

I love the serenity in the prose that describes Jacob’s date of death:  “separated from the world on… ” .. and I was struck by the fact that he was only twenty-nine years of age. Life back then was apparently tough, … and short.

These days we have creature comforts Jacob could not have even dreamt about, medications not the least of them. We travel with speed and comfort, we can exchange information around the world at speeds almost beyond our own comprehension, we are well educated and we enjoy long life expectancy. I wonder what Jacob would make of us all if he could come back and see us today?

One thing is for sure… Melaka then was probably as much  a cross-roads, meeting point and place of vibrancy then as it is today. And in that, Jacob, who sleeps eternally in his little purchased spot in the church, would have felt very much at home.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christ_Church,_Malacca

October 29, 2012

The Narrow Streets Widen…

Filed under: MALAYSIA,Melaka,PHOTOGRAPHY,Travel — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We are winding our way through narrow streets in Melaka in Malaysia, some of the streets are so narrow we are in danger of collecting street decorations, laundry and any other item pointing streetwards on the wing mirrors of the coach, but our driver shows his skill and we manage to negotiate the way without collecting any additional ornamentation.

After brushing past a few longer stemmed plants we suddenly find ourselves in wider streets and can see more than just building material flashing past our windows.

Our guide gives us some history about Melaka  (a.k.a. Malacca) such as the fact that the city centre has been listed as a World Heritage Site since 2008 and that the area has had it’s fair share of invaders, colonisers and rulers who included over the centuries the Thai,Vietnamese, Portuguese, Dutch, British as well as other influences for shorter periods of time in between. This was mostly because Melaka was an excellent all weather port in a very strategic position at the narrowest point of the Malacca Straights.  We also learn that the head of state in Melaka is a Governor rather than a Sultan (as in other areas of Malaysia) Let’s take a look…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 28, 2012

Eek! There’s a Dragon in The Street!!!

Filed under: MALAYSIA,Melaka,PHOTOGRAPHY,Traditional,Travel — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This is a page out of my travel diary, of our trip to New Zealand and back, via Singapore and Malaysia in December 2011- January 2012.

We’ve just had lunch in the Melaka Equatorial Hotel, Malaysia and are now on the bus into the centre of town.

We are here just a few weeks before Chinese New Year so there are decorations galore and the entire town looked very festive.

It’s with some surprise that we round a corner and are confronted with a huge decorative dragon suspended in the middle of the street: by chance I did get a photo out of the front of the bus window, but I was seated too far back for the photo to be properly sharp.

I’ll include it in the photo series anyway so that you can get an idea of how it looked like to get a “face full” of dragon out of the front window.  Later we walked back past the dragon so I got photographs from ground level too. The dragon takes over the entire space around the roundabout and the tail weaves around itself, a very impressive piece of construction and engineering as well as decorative detail.

The roundabout itself is a fountain, with fish in the middle, which I also manage to get photos of .

What a wonderful introduction to the city…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 27, 2012

Chopsticks en Guarde, Hotels Duel for The Most Stars…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

These are the photos that a Foodie cannot resist taking… not only is much of it new to me, but the colours the tastes and smells… heaven!

An instant clue that I’m a long way from Kansas The Hague is that where I hoped to find knives and forks there are instead chopsticks and spoons.

Actually that’s not a problem because I’m quite proficient with chopsticks but Kiwi Daughter has a small look of panic on her face. She needn’t have feared, we found knives and forks on the tables and Little Mr would have been totally happy to use this fingers so was actually rather disappointed by this discovery.

Velvetine is delighted to find what she called “porridge” but it’s certainly not “porridge” as I know it, no rolled oats in this, instead it’s a rice porridge and whilst she’s keen that I try it, to be honest it doesn’t look enticing enough when were are on a time limit and there are other goodies I’d like to try.

There were some things I couldn’t identify, and most things I didn’t know the name of but what I picked out turned out to be tasty.

The kids stuck to plain fare in the savoury section and did well considering how picky they usually are. That said,  a large part of their consumption turned out to be in the dessert section where the discovery of a selection of ice creams suddenly made all that sitting still in the coach completely worthwhile.

Himself isn’t totally sure of his stomach today so settled for a lunch that consisted of a  cup of tea instead.

This hotel is touted as the local five-star establishment so Velvetine and I set about seeing how it compares to the Rasa in Singapore.

The verdict is quick and clear… full marks for effort but from what we’ve seen in the entrance area so far (and the Ladies, where there was a very small but hazardous step outside the disabled toilet) and the fact that if you looked in corners or at the periphery of the rooms the decor looks a little tired so we both have the impression that this was a place trying hard to make a grand impression on a less than grand budget and that it certainly doesn’t even come close to the Rasa. That said however, this is a place that’s making an effort and whilst they are not there yet, we are sure they will get there in the end.

Now I get to tempt you with the delicacies on offer… it may not be quite five star but I’m sure you will manage to drool anyway.

First, this is “porridge”… (with additional condiments added) What do you think?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Condiments for in the soup or to put with the noodles…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Fish cakes… particularly good.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Ice-cream,  the kid favourite…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Kiwi Daughter and I loooove fresh tropical fruits…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 26, 2012

An Equatorial Melaka Lunch…

Filed under: MALAYSIA,Melaka,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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We have arrived at our destination: Melaka.  The first stop is for a quick lunch, it will be  slightly hasty affair because it’s taken us three hours to drive here, it will take another three hours to get back and there’s plenty to see and do  so we are told to get our skates on, it’s a eat, enjoy, run kind of meal, not a long leisurely lunch. The coach has pulled in at the Melaka Hotel Equatorial for lunch  so let’s go inside and take a look around.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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