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

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Friday, 30-Apr-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Faces Of Melaka X - Stairways Into The Past

Row Of Wooden Pre-War Shophouses
A Sole House Perched On A Hill Outside Of Town
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Not much is known about Merlimau town although it can safely be said that this is still a relatively 'new' town as compared to the other towns in Melaka. Despite this, there are still many interesting things to be seen in town, including pre-war shop houses and of course, traditional Malay houses.

Merlimau, apart from Serkam, is well known for its beautiful staircases which use colourful and intricate-designed tiles. This is perhaps one of the more distinguishable feature of a traditional Melaka Malay house. So much so, staircases which use such colourful tiles are called "tangga Melaka" (which means Melaka's staircases), a clear testimony that such splendour is very much associated with Melaka.

As I have written in my earlier entry, such staircases are now beginning to disappear and replaced by more modern-designed staircases, which to my personal opinion, simply lack the colour and character.

While most of the houses which uses this type of staircase is fast disappearing, there are still many traditional Melaka houses on the fringes of Merlimau, many situated near paddy fields, another feature which is fast disappearing from Merlimau's landscape. Merlimau's town centre is similar to other smaller and older towns elsewhere, where old pre-war shophouses and ageing wooden structures are still in existance, although they are today dwarfed by the more stylish and modern buildings.

Thursday, 29-Apr-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Faces Of Melaka IX - Historical, Mystical & Mysterious

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Melaka Pindah, located about 10kms from Alor Gajah, can perhaps be deemed as a historical place as the area was said to have been established in 1511. However, to me, one of the biggest mysteries of Melaka Pindah is the existance of several megalith sites. I accidentally found one of these sites when I was wandering around Melaka Pindah, looking for something to photograph. One site led to the discovery of yet another megalith site.

The question than came to mind, what do these megalithic boulders actually signify? Are they some kind of signs or are they used for some kind of worship in the past? Mysterious and mystical as it may seem, the answers seem to have eluded everyone.

From an extensive search, I found out that more than 100 megalith sites have been found in the Alor Gajah and Tampin districts. Although they may not be as popular as the Stonehenge in Salisbury Plain, England, these megalith sites still contain many unanswered questions about their significance. As most of the megaliths are commonly found in or near cemetaries, this gave rise to the assumption that they may have been used as grave markers.

Most of the megaliths in Malaysia are normally found in Perak, Negeri Sembilan, Melaka, Sabah and Sarawak with the most common form of megalith found being dolmen, cist, slab bulit grave and alignment.

On the historical point of view, Melaka Pindah is significant as it was here that followers of Melaka's last Sultan had escaped to during the fall of Melaka to the Portuguese in 1511. On of them, Datuk Paduka Maharajalela, led his followers to a district under Perpatih Naning where the settlement was set-up. It was known as 'Melaka Pindah' (pindah is the Malay word for shift).

Wednesday, 28-Apr-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
If I Could Turn Back The Clock

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This used to be my playground (used to be)
This used to be my childhood dream
This used to be the place I ran to
Whenever I was in need
Of a friend
Why did it have to end
And why do they always say

Don't look back
Keep your head held high
Don't ask them why
Because life is short
And before you know
You're feeling old
And your heart is breaking
Don't hold on to the past
Well that's too much to ask

This used to be my playground (used to be)
This used to be my childhood dream
This used to be the place I ran to
Whenever I was in need
Of a friend
Why did it have to end
And why do they always say

No regrets
But I wish that you
Were here with me
Well then there's hope yet
I can see your face
In our secret place
You're not just a memory
Say goodbye to yesterday (the dream)
Those are words I'll never say (I'll never say)

This used to be my playground (used to be)
This used to be our pride and joy
This used to be the place we ran to
That no one in the world could dare destroy

This used to be our playground (used to be)
This used to be our childhood dream
This used to be the place we ran to
I wish you were standing here with me

Written by Madonna and Shep Pettibone

Tuesday, 27-Apr-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Faces Of Melaka VIII - The Elephant Trail

Town Centre
Alor Gajah Town
Row Of Old Buildings
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Alor Gajah (gajah means elephants in English) was said to have been a forest and was home to herds of elephants, which explains why the town was named Alor Gajah. However, there are no longer any sign of elephants around. Perhaps, this was the price to be paid for development. Today, Alor Gajah is a thriving town and has developed tremendously over the past few years.

Alor Gajah is the biggest town in Alor Gajah district (there are three districts in Melaka with Alor Gajah being one of them). Apart from Alor Gajah, the district is also made up of two other major towns - Masjid Tanah and Pulau Sebang - and 16 other smaller towns. Alor Gajah district has a population of about 131,870 (year 2000 census). Alor Gajah town is located about 24 kilometers from Melaka city and it is one of the main entry points into Melaka via the North-South Expressway.

From the historical point of view, Alor Gajah has secured a place in the country's historical books for the exploits of a Naning warrior, Dato' Dol Said, who waged a war against the British forces during the Naning War in 1932 following the imposition of tax on tin ore by the British.

While efforts are being made to turn the district into a modern and vibrant municipality, the old rustic charms of the traditional Malay villages, especially those situated along the coastal road, are still being preserved.

P.S:I intended to focus on Alor Gajah after all the smaller towns but due to a request from F&Z...I am uploading it today...

Monday, 26-Apr-2004 00:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Faces Of Melaka VII - The Last Stand

Amidst A Coconut Plantation
Fancy Some Seafood?
Something's Cooking Here
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Apart from Umbai, another place which is well-known for its ikan bakar (grilled fish) is Serkam. This is another town which has gained fame as a result of its seafood. The seafood here are not only fresh but also relatively cheaper than any other place due to the proximity of fish landing jetties.

Although Serkam is considered one of the bigger towns in the southern region of Melaka, traces of its history can still be seen today. It is here that most of the traditional Melaka house, which uses intricate and colourful tiles as decorations for its staircases, can be seen. However, many of such houses are fast disappearing as owners are now opting for the more modern and simple designs.

Serkam is basically surrounded by tradisional villages, where farming is still one of the major economic activities for locals. However, due to the rapid economic development and industrialisation, this is fast changing. It is here in Serkam that you will be able to witness the remaining few of the paddy field in Melaka. At one time, paddy plantation was the major revenue earner in Serkam and its surrounding areas. However, the past decades or so, many of the paddy fields have been converted into industrial lands.

It was said that several areas in Serkam, especially Kampung Pulai, were opened as settlements as early as in the 1840s by Bugis immigrants. This, however, cannot be factual supported. However, one thing is confirmed - it is here that the mausoleum of a Melaka woman warrior - Tun Teja - is located. Tun Teja, who was married to the last Melaka Sultan, died in Serkam while fleeing from the invading Portuguese forces in 1511. The royal entourage was then escaping to Bentayan (now Muar - a distance of about 20 or so kilometers from Serkam). The mausoleum is today located in the middle of a paddy field.

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