A Journey Through Time...
By: M Jeffri Razali

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Tuesday, 11-May-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Colours Of Malaysia - The Legendary Princess

The Older Part Of Town
Rows Of Textile Stores
The Main Road. Mount Ophir In The Background
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Tangkak, considered as one of the popular towns in Johor, is today deemed as a centre for textile trade in the country. Just walk along any part of the town and you will surely come face to face with shops and outlets selling textiles of various colours. This is one of Tangkak's lure today.

The town itself is a mixture of both old and new, a scene commonly found in any towns and districts in Malaysia. Thanks mostly to the textile trade, the town has grown tremendously and its significance was evident when the National Day celebration for the state of Johor was held here in 2003.

Tangkak is also home to one of the most popular mountains in Malaysia - Gunung Ledang (or Mount Ophir). It is on this mountain that the legendary Puteri Gunung Ledang (or the Princess of Gunung Ledang) is said to be residing. Perhaps it is not too much to say that Puteri Gunung Ledang is one of the most popular figures in the local folklore, especially since Sultan Mansur Shah, the former Sultan of Melaka, was said to have tried in vain to make the princess his wife.

A renowned 16th century Portuguese historian, Tom Pires in his book Suma Oriental, had this to say about the princess :-

"...the enchanted queen in the hill of Malacca called Gulom Leydam (Gunung Ledang) - where they are only women, and they have no men, and that they are got with child by others who go there to trade and then leave, and others are made pregnant by the wind..."

The princess' guardian, Dang Raya Rani, was said to have set various impossible conditions for the Sultan as dowry for the princess' hand in marriage. According to Pires :-

"And for a betrothal gift, let there be seven trays of mosquito hearts; seven trays of the hearts of mites; a vat of water from dried areca nuts; a vat of the tears of virgin maidens; a cup of the Raja's blood; and a cup of his son's blood".

This story, which has been passed on for generations, is still one of the factors which lure many people to Tangkak, especially to climb Gunung Ledang. Perhaps out of curiosity...perhaps to catch a glimpse of the princess or perhaps for other reasons known only to them. But by and large, this legend has survived over the centuries and continue to prosper Tangkak.

Monday, 10-May-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Faces Of Melaka XV - Mother Nature In A Concrete Jungle

Taken From One Of The Observation Towers
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Many seem to regard a zoo as a place to watch animals, especially exotic and endangered animals, from up close. But a zoo is more than just animals.

To me, a zoo is a perfect place to relax and enjoy the natural surroundings, something which many of us, especially those living in a big city, ever gets the chance to do. More often than note, a zoo can be considered as a last bastion for lush flora and fauna amidst the ever growing concrete jungle. Although their existence is nothing compared to the wilds, nevertheless, it will provide us and our children with the opportunity to learn more about the greeneries that once surrounded us. It also provides us with an opportunity to escape from the searing sun and heartache of city living to a more cooling natural atmosphere and a tranquil union with mother nature.

For the young, and the young at heart, well...there are simply too many things to be done in a zoo. So much so, many of the eldest are left with the near-impossible task of keeping up with them.

Sunday, 9-May-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Sunset On The Bay

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A masterpiece is being painted today
Down by the seashore,
down by the bay.
The colors are radiant, as I watch
Standing where
The Master is painting
The sunset out there.

The sky, once so blue,
Is aglow in my sight.
His painting is crimson,
with gold tinted light.
The sea caught the reflection
And doubled the shine.
How I wish I could make
This painting all mine.

The colors are perfect
As they blend one by one,
His waters ... the paints,
His paintbrush ... the sun.
And my thoughts are prayerful
As homeward I plod.
The canvas ... the sky,
And the Artist ... is God.

Poem By : Anne Kaye

Saturday, 8-May-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Faces Of Melaka XIV - The Animal Kingdom

New Breed Of Guard 'Dog'
Let Us Count The Stripe...One...Two...
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The Melaka Zoo is located in Ayer Keroh and is within walking distance from numerous other attractions in the area. Ayer Keroh is considered as highly accessible as it is only several kilometers from the North-South Expressway which links the entire Peninsular Malaysia.

Opened in 1963, it is considered as the second best zoo in Malaysia, after the National Zoo in Kuala Lumpur. Today, the zoo is said to be housing some 200 different species of animals from various parts of the world. It is also said to be the first zoo in the region to display the almost-extinct Sumatran Rhino and Seladang.

Apart from serving as a platform to educate children about animals, the Melaka Zoo has also created a name for being the only animal breeding facility in the country, following its successes in breeding various animals, particularly the endangered Indo-Chinese tigers (Panthera Tigris Corbetti). Following the success of these breeding programmes, numerous endangered species have been sent to various zoos in the world, including those in China, Germany and many other countries.

For those not so keen on animals, the Melaka Zoo is also a perfect place to escape from the hustle of city life. It is paradise to relax under the shady trees to escape from the burning mid-day sun and be accompanied by cool breeze. Wonder if the animals also share the same sentiment.

P.S : These are only some of the animals...

Friday, 7-May-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Faces Of Melaka XIII - Historic Square

One Of The Monuments
A View Of The Stage From Atop The Amphitheatre
Rows Of Empty Seats
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Although it is known as Dataran Sejarah (or Historical Square), it has nothing significant in terms of history as this place had only come into being in 1993. The vicinity of Dataran Sejarah is still relatively new as it had only become a popular destination in the 1990s. Perhaps due to its strategic location, within a few kilometers from the North-South Expressway which links the entire Peninsular Malaysia, and the existance of numerous places of interest in the vicinity, Ayer Keroh has today grown into a bustling area.

The Historical Square is perhaps the most popular venue for any outdoor activity, including sporting events, gatherings, cultural performances, exhibitions and of course, the annual celebration of the country's Independence Day. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why this place is known as Historical Square, as it has seen numerous Independence Day celebration over the years.

For the record, Melaka was the first place where Malaysia's first Prime Minister had announced the date of the country's independence, following his return from England in 1956 after attending an independence negotiation with Britain. The annoucement was made in Bandar Hilir, some 16 kilometers away from the Historical Square, where for the first time ever, Malaysians (or Malayans as they were called back then) were told that they would be freed from colonial rule on August 31, 1957.

Although its historical values are nothing compared to the other parts of Melaka, the Historical Square, nevertheless, had seen its share of historical events and happenings over the years. And who knows, in the years to come, it may even join the ever-growing list of historical landmarks in Melaka and Malaysia.

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