WORLD HERITAGE DESTINATION

WORLD HERITAGE DESTINATION

Sunday, February 28, 2010

To: All Malacca TA Members

Forward the invitation from Hospital Pantai Ayer Keroh to attend their health forum and the details as append below for your attn.

1) Protect Your Kidney & Control Diabetes on 6-3-2010 (Sat) from 1.30 PM - 3.00 P.M. (free admission) ;


and

2) antenatal workshop on 14-3-2010 (Sun) from 11.00 a.m to 3.00 pm.

Kindly give your support. Thank you.


Regards


25hb Februari 2010



KEPADA AHLI-AHLI PERSATUAN PELANCONGAN NEGERI MELAKA



Tuan/Puan,



KURSUS ETIKA TELEFON



Dengan hormatnya saya merujuk kepada perkara di atas.



2. Pembangunan modal insan merupakan salah satu elemen terpenting dalam membangunkan organisasi dan juga negara dalam mengharungi Melaka Maju 2010. Akademi Pelancongan Melaka (APM) adalah merupakan salah satu anak syarikat kerajaan yang telah dilantik sebagai agen pelaksana bagi menjalankan kursus-kursus yang berkaitan perkhidmatan pelanggan, kerjasama Persatuan Pelancongan Negeri Melaka (MTA) dengan Hotel Straits Meridian Melaka dan APM telah mengambil langkah proaktif dengan menganjurkan Kursus Etika Telefon dengan bagi semua telefonis-telefonis di hotel, resort dan agen pelancongan.



3. Telefon merupakan salah satu kemudahan yang penting dalam komunikasi hari ini dan ianya menghubungkan sesebuah jabatan/organisasi dengan para pelanggan. Sistem perniagaan, perdagangan dan perhubungan sentiasa dilakukan melalui telefon. Oleh itu, adalah amat penting bagi telefonis di sesebuah organisasi itu mempunyai kemahiran menggunakan telefon untuk menunjukkan imej yang meyakinkan, berkesan dan melancarkan lagi urusan bagi sesebuah organisasi.



4. Objektif utama kursus ini adalah:



a. Peserta akan sentiasa berhemah dan memahami prosedur dan teknik semasa menjawab telefon.



b. Memahami betapa mustahaknya khidmat pelanggan yang lebih profesional.



c. Mengikuti prosedur yang betul semasa menerima dan membuat panggilan.



d. Mengamalkan sikap positif dalam menjalankan tugas dan mempamerkan imej organisasi yang menjulang.



e. Lebih bersikap proaktif dalam menangani ketidakpuasan hati pemanggil/pelanggan yang mungkin timbul.



f. Berpengetahuan mengenai produk-produk Negeri Melaka.



g. Memahami maksud 1 Malaysia.



h. Mahir dengan penggunaan bahasa azimat (magic words)







5. Sehubungan itu, dimaklumkan Kursus Etika Telefon akan diadakan pada ketetapan berikut :



Tarikh : 9 Mac 2010 (Selasa)



Masa : 9.00 pagi – 1.00 tengahari



Bayaran : RM 40.00 (seorang)



Tempat : Hotel Straits Meridian


No 1 Jalan Malinja


75150 Bukit Baru


Melaka



6. Justeru itu, dipohon jasa baik pihak tuan untuk menghantar 2 orang kakitangan tuan di


jabatan yang berkaitan bagi mengikuti kursus tersebut. Sila kemukakan/fakskan borang di Lampiran ( A ) kepada Pengurusan Straits Meridian Hotel sekurang-kurangnya lima (5) hari waktu bekerja sebelum tarikh kursus iaitu 4hb Mac 2010. di no fax :06-2830030. Sila membuat bayaran diatas nama ”Straits Meridian Sdn Bhd”.



7. Untuk makluman lanjut, sila hubungi Bahagian Pemasaran di telefon 06-2841166. Jika


peserta yang dicalonkan itu tidak dapat hadir, maka pihak kami hendaklah dimaklumkan secara


bertulis.



8. Sokongan dan kerjasama pihak tuan bagi menjayakan kursus ini amatlah dihargai dan


didahului dengan ribuan terima kasih.



Sekian.



”1 MALAYSIA,MELAKA MAJU 2010”


PERSATUAN PELANCONGAN NEGERI MELAKA




PRESIDEN


DATUK SEET TIANG CHYE

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

February 18, 2010 15:07 PM

Dondang Sayang 1Malaysia-style In Melaka

By Mohamad Bakri Darus

MELAKA, Feb 18 (Bernama) -- In Melaka, it is amazing to see people from various ethnic groups including the Malays, Baba Nyonya, Portuguese and Chitty performing the 'dondang sayang'.

Dondang sayang, which means 'love song', originated in Melaka in the 16th century and is influenced by the traditional Portuguese folk music. It is a traditional Malay form of entertainment where the singers exchange the Malay pantun extemporaneously in a lighthearted and sometimes humorous style.

Dondang sayang was believed to have existed since the Melaka Sultanate and during the reign of Sultan Mansur Shah, dondang sayang was performed for the guests and merchants who came to the ancient port.

In the performance, the singers are normally accompanied by a violin, rebana (Malay drums), and tetawak (gong). These instruments are often supplemented by other available instruments, most notably, accordions, flutes, violin and also the tabla (Indian drum).

Last Feb 4, singers from various races performed the dondang sayang at the the "1Malaysia Programme With Melaka People' event at Dataran Klebang here. The event was jointly organised by the Melaka State Government and Information Communication and Culture Ministry.

EXTEMPORANEOUS PANTUN

Dondang sayang personality Abas Katan, 63, said the unique feature of dondang sayang is the ability of performers to trade the pantun spontaneously and in a humorous manner.

"The strength in dondang sayang is the pantun," he told Bernama.

Abas, the three-time state-level champion and once a runner-up at the national level, said only the four-line pantun is used and he has more than 300 such poems at his finger tips.

"Dondang sayang does not follow the old songs, only that its tune is old. Now we have the new tune, the rhythm is based on the lagu asli but we have added the elements of the inang, zapin, mambo and joget," he said.

He said dondang sayang is also performed by people in Singapore and Indonesia particularly in Sumatra, but what separates that dondang sayang from the Melaka style is the way they perform and sing it.

Abas, who is active in performing dondang sayang since the age of 20, heads a dondang sayang troupe known as Kumpulan Dondang Sayang Hiasan Budaya. He recalls of having performed together with the Baba Nyonya and Chitty on the same stage.

"We (Malays) were singing with the Baba and Chitty at a function, performing the dondang sayang, them with their slang while us with ours (slang)", he said.

Dondang sayang performance used to grace wedding functions, sometimes right after the 'Maghrib' time until dawn. Abas himself had participated in a round-the-clock dondang sayang performance held at Pantai Puteri near here in 2007. There were eight dondang sayang troupes that took part.

SYNONYMOUS WITH BABA NYONYA

For 60-year-old Nyonya Tan Abdullah, dondang sayang has been synonymous with the Baba Nyonya.

Since taking the 'plunge' into the world of dondang sayang at the age of 19, Nyonya Tan has been the dondang sayang personality among the lovers of this performance particularly during the golden era of dondang sayang in the 1970s and 1980s.

This POS Malaysia retiree had won the national-level Dendang Rakyat competition and a familiar figure in the winners' list in state-level competitions.

She was also named the 'Tokoh Penggerak Budaya Negeri Melaka (2003), Anugerah Penyanyi Sepanjang Zaman from Persatuan Penyanyi-penyanyi Tanah Air (Papita/2006). Nyonya Tan was also bestowed state honours for her effort.

Nyonya Tan performed for two weeks from April 4, 2008 for Unesco delegates who met in Paris, when Melaka lobbied for the recognition as the World Heritage Site.

"I am the Baba Nyonya dondang sayang ethnic representative for Melaka...dondang sayang is a heritage of Melaka," she said.

DONDANG SAYANG SHOW IN PARIS

The recognition of Melaka and Penang's George town as the World Heritage Site by Unesco was made in July, 2008 after 21 Unesco countries met at the 32nd World Heritage Members Meeting held in Quebec City, Canada.

For Nyonya Tan, she began her love affair with dondang sayang after watching the veteran dondang sayang performers at that time who were good at dishing out extremponeous and humourous pantun.

"During my younger days, it was fun to watch the veteran performers sing, making spontaneous pantun that tickled the audience. It was very entertaining as their pantun can poke fun at people, can make people fall in love and that pantun enticed the crowd to come and watch the performance again," she said.

Over time, the tune and tempo of the dondang sayang changed with the incorporation of mambo, inang and joget but still retaining the 'melody'.

"This has drawn the younger generation to dondang sayang. We do not want that one day, the dondang sayang heritage of Melaka, is left as only a memory", she said.

Nyonya Tan's talents are inherited by her children, Hairul Asraf Abu Hussain, 27, and Hidayu Murni, 24. The two siblings had won several national and state-level dondang sayang competitions.

CHITTY ALSO GOOD IN DONDANG SAYANG

According to K.Arunasalam Pillay, 50, dondang sayang is nothing new for the Chitty community in Melaka and the names of performers from that ethnic group like Meenachi is familiar with dondang sayang fans.

Arunasalam, the seventh generation of the Melaka Chitty's, along with his wife K.Vimala Devi, 42, son Pavithran Pillay, 12, and daugher Savithrii Pillay, 7, are now active in dondang sayang performances.

Arunasalam said his family's roots were from Indian traders who came from Koromandel, south India.

"The Chitty's are of the Hindu faith but practices the daily life of the Malays such as the way they dress, their food and others," he said when met at Kampung Chetti, Jalan Gajah Berang here.

There are 30 Chitty families residing at the village that has existed since the 15th century. The chittys practice the Malay traditions and speaks the Malay language fluently. But they are followers of the Hindu faith.

Arunasalam, who is a trader, and his wife would continue to actively promote the dondang sayang to prevent this 'culture' from diminishing and disappearing.

-- BERNAMA

BERNAMA.COM
features:
Other News

February 22, 2010 12:03 PM

Wish To See Malaysia? Then Visit Melaka

Mohamad Bakri Darus

MELAKA, Feb 22 (Bernama) -- As visitors are about to cross into Melaka, they will be greeted by the slogan 'Visiting Historical Melaka Means Visiting Malaysia' inscribed on the welcoming arch at the Ayer Keroh Highway-Jalan Tun Razak junction.

Everything in Malaysia, they are available in Melaka and that is not an over statement. Right from the facilities, public spots, shopping centres, hotels, institutions of education, resort beaches and islands, and many more.

Melaka also showcases 1Malaysia, according to a member of an entourage that visited the state recently. The values of 1Malaysia are prominently featured in Melaka.

In terms of unity and acceptance, history has shown that Melaka has long received the arrival of people from various ethnic groups, right during the days of the merchants from India and China, Malay Sultanate, the colonialists as well as the pre and post-Merdeka era.

Apart from the Malays, Chinese and Indians, Melaka also has the communities of Baba Nyonya, Portuguese and Chittys, most of them residing in the heart of this historical city.

BEAUTY OF MELAKA

The historical city is like a city in the garden as the blocks of tall and modern buildings is akin to be in the midst of a beautiful landscaped 'park'.

Melaka, which is to assume the tag as a developed state in Malaysia in October this year, has been given recognition by Unesco as the World Heritage City.

As for the tourism statistics, Melaka received 8.9 million tourists last year exceeding the target of 7.4 million. In 2008, the state received 7.4 million guests.

The state government has maintained and conserved Melaka's heritage well apart from introducing new tourism products. Melaka is renowned for its heritage assets that dated right from the days of the Malay Sultanate and occupation by the Portuguese and Dutch.

The colonials left much of their mark in this city, particularly at Bandar Hilir. Also, there are more than 20 museums here including the Baba Nyonya and Chitty museums that provided a detailed description of the heritage.

MANY INTERESTING SPOTS

Among the tourist attractions here are the Portuguese settlement in Ujong Pasir, Chitty village at Jalan Gajah Berang and the Malay village of Kampung Morten located at the heart of this city.

There are also a number of parks. Apart from the Melaka Zoo, there are the Taman Mini Malaysia and Asean, Crocodile Farm, Butterfly Park, Melaka Botanical Garden, Malaysian Book Village of Melaka, Bees Museum, Garden of One Thousand flowers all of which are located at Ayer Keroh.

The other 'must do and visit' for tourists are the Melaka River Cruise, Menara Taming Sari, Eye On Malaysia, Duck Tour, Water Taxi and Planetarium Complex.

If several other states can be proud with their beautiful beaches, then so is Melaka as the state has Pantai Puteri and Pantai Tanjung Bidara apart from the famed Pulau Besar.

There are the hot springs at Gadek and Bemban as well as the waterfall at Asahan. As for the agro-tourism enthusiasts, they can visit Alor Gajah and Jasin districts to satisfy their interest.

SHOPPING HAVEN

For those who like to shop, Melaka can be considered a 'haven' as there are various handicraft items right up to the branded products available here.

Visitors can take a walk from a building to another before reaching the shopping centres such as the Fashion City located at Melaka International trade Centre (MITC) apart from the Batik House and Dataran Pahlawan Megamall.

Lovers of antics can take the short trip to Jonker Walk located in the city centre. This stretch of street is lined by many premises that sell handicraft and various other products.

For the 'gluttons' they can sample the delights of Melaka such as grilled fish and 'asam pedas'. If they choose to stay overnight, the tourists can visit the grilled fish square at Umbai, Kuala Duyung, Serkam and Alai.

Melaka can also take pride in having international-class sports facilities such as the Melaka International Bowling Centre, Melaka International Motorsport Circuit and its golf course.

In the field of education, the state administrators ensure that the public have access to various education facilities right from the primary, secondary and tertiary level. These facilities are also on offer for international students.

Among the tertiary-level education institutions in the state are Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka, Universiti Teknologi Mara, Universiti Multimedia, MCET UniKL Alor Gajah, Kolej Teknologi Islam Antarabangsa Melaka, Kolej Komuniti, Politeknik, Kolej Yayasan Melaka, Kolej Antarabangsa Sains dan Teknologi Melaka, Kolej Stamford, Kolej Antarabangsa DMDI and Kolej Risda.

HEALTH TOURISM

Melaka has also moved towards health tourism as there are a number of quality public and private medical institutions.

The land of the legendary Malay warrior 'Hang Tuah' is also progressing in the information communication and technology. The latest development is the availability of the broadband at the speed of one gigabyte per second.

There are also the Melaka Biotechnology Corporation and Melaka Biotechnology Institute. An industrial zone is also provided for investors and various investment incentives are on offer.

Melaka is a state with facilities and infrastructure for the staging of expositions, workshops, seminars and conventions. There are also international-class hotels and resorts apart from the homestay concept for the budget travellers.

-- BERNAMA

We provide (subscription-based)
news coverage in our
Newswire service.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Malaysians hog Singapore’s private property market

Malaysians overtake Indonesians as top investors in Singapore's private property market. - Reuters pic

By Lee Wei Lian

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 22 — Over one quarter of private property sold to foreigners in Singapore last year were to Malaysians. This makes Malaysia the top source of foreign investors for private property in the island republic, overtaking Indonesia which held the top spot between 2004 and 2007.

According to a report by real estate services group DTZ in Singapore, Malaysia’s share of 27 per cent of total transactions compares with about 20 per cent for Indonesia. However, it is down sharply from about 40 per cent from 2000 to 20002 as the number of transactions from China and India have increased rapidly.

India and China collectively made up about 5 per cent of total private transactions in Singapore ten years ago but now make up over 20 per cent.

Sixteen per cent of homes worth above S$1.5 million (RM3.6 million) were sold to foreigners, making this the most popular segment.

The top three properties most favoured by foreigners are The Interlace, Cyan and Carribean at Keppel Bay which saw between 12 and 25 per cent of the transactions made by non-Singaporeans.

DTZ said that Singapore’s growing role as an Asian hub is likely to draw in more investors from overseas, therefore making greater price appreciation in the higher-end segment but added that price rises could be capped by government intervention.

“Runaway increase in prices like in 2007 is however not likely as concerns like weak consumer demand in both the US and Europe, along with credit tightening in China and possible government intervention to cool the market remain,” said DTZ.

Interest in foreign properties has surged among Malaysians thanks to favourable investment conditions at the destination countries, coupled with uncertainties on the domestic front.

Apart from Singapore, Malaysians have also been investing in many high-end condominium projects in London and Australia.

The Australian Trade Commission says Malaysians invested about A$4.9 billion (RM15.3 billion) in Australian property in 2008.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Some missing history -






Saturday February 20, 2010

The unsung heroes

By LOUISA LIM


Thousands of men and women put their lives on the line for this country during World War II, but none of their sacrifices have been given due recognition. To counter this, one organisation seeks to return the names, faces, and ultimately, the honour of these super troopers to our national consciousness.


Rosemary Fell is not the type to forget easily. Yet the 70-year-old retiree has no recollection of her father, Eric Reeve, the headmaster of Bandar Hilir English School in Malacca. He died as a Japanese prisoner-of-war when she was a toddler. Whatever memory she has of him — the sound of his voice, the colour of his eyes, the lullabies he sang — has been blown away like dust in the wind.

"Once my mother heard of the news of his death, she seemed to want to forget the horrors of what happened to him. It was as though he never existed,” the soft-spoken UK-born native says.

“His name was never mentioned, and I never liked to ask for fear of upsetting her.”


World War 2 volunteers (Philip Paxton- Harding, John Mackie and Jack Brown).

It wasn’t until 2005 that she learned she wasn’t alone. There were countless other children like her scattered around the world. Together, they formed the Malayan Volunteers Group (MVG) to pay homage to the Volunteer Forces who fought bravely in the wars of Malaya.

Fell — in partnership with Badan Warisan Malaysia — is in the midst of one of her missions. She is standing in front of dozens of guests, many in their 60s and 70s, reciting forgotten names, dates and events from a creased paper. A clunky projector beams MVG’s motto, “Andainya kita terlupa’’ (or “Lest we forget”), behind her.

“The volunteer movement originated during Britain’s major conflicts of the 19th and 20th centuries. It began with the Singapore Volunteer Rifle Corps in 1854, then Singapore Volunteer Artillery Corps and, soon after, the Malay States Volunteer Rifles. In the 1930s, as war clouds once more started gathering in Europe, there were people in Singapore and Malaya who realised that they should be partly responsible for their own defence,” Fell reads.






Rosemary Fell

“Men from all walks of life — Malays, Chinese, Indians, Eurasians and Europeans — joined the Volunteer Forces. Unlike the Alliance Forces, these men weren’t in their 20s. Many were part of the Malayan elite in their mid-30s who received basic military training at night and at weekends. My father, as my mother said, would go off to ‘play soldier’ over the weekend.”

Records have shown that the figure stood at over 18,000 men and the number of causes covered all aspects of defence from ambulance units to artillery units. Despite these staggering numbers, the battalions did not stand a chance when the Japanese attacked the northern states unexpectedly in December 1941, and this eventually led to the fall of Singapore.


What ensued was the darkest chapter in our history, but it is now stashed away like a chest of secrets. Fell, however, is persistent and, through her tireless research, has gathered much information about the volunteer movement in Singapore and Malaya from several sources, particularly by one Captain T. M. Winsley.


The book is, unfortunately, one of the few surviving records available today. The rest has been irrevocably damaged or lost. As Badan Warisan’s council member, Datuk Ismail Adam puts it: “Not a word has been mentioned in our history books.”

Remember, remember

Fell isn’t the only one with questions. Raising his hands, an elderly man in the crowd says: “My father-in-law happened to be one of the many Chinese who used their private planes to fly on MVG missions. I heard he flew to Sri Lanka and, after that, we didn’t hear from him again. I can’t seem to find any information on what happened to him and others.”

Although information about those who disappeared abroad is scarce, there seems to be a remarkable number of first-hand accounts of what happened to the volunteer movement in Malaya when the Japanese took over.






“The European volunteers who were captured in uniform were imprisoned as military personnel, while other volunteers who were part of the passive defence forces or in reserved occupation were imprisoned as civilians, along with women and children,” says Fell.


“Of the remaining volunteers, many of the Chinese who were captured in uniform were massacred. The Malay and Eurasian volunteers had been given the option to disband before Singapore fell and return to their families, and many chose to do so. Those who were loyal were captured and later imprisoned as military personnel. Some were murdered in the Bedok Hill Massacre.”


Chungkai Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery

Sadly, the roles other races have played in the war have been overlooked in our country today, according to businessman Andrew Hwang.


“People say that the Chinese can’t fight, that they supported the communists,” says Hwang. “That is rubbish. Thousands and thousands of Chinese perished for Malaya. They fought very, very hard. Unfortunately, no one bothered to acknowledge the sacrifices they have made. Even Mustapha Hussain’s Malay Nationalism Before Umno, which recounted Malaya’s war against the Japanese, was very skewed towards one race.”



Having lost two of his maternal granduncles, Captain Cho Seow Lim and Company Quartermaster Sergeant (CQMS) Tan Kim Tee, to the war, Hwang is also an active member of MVG and has devoted much of his time and money to seeking out the truth.


He first knew about the existence of the group two years ago when he was Googling for information about his granduncles. MVG had, apparently, turned out to be one of the very few reliable sources he could turn to for enlightenment.



Hwang’s interest has made him unparalleled in terms of research-based knowledge. He spends hours poring through old records in the National Archives and is in the midst of writing a book about the fourth battalion “before all the sources die out”.

His mission? To raise as much awareness as he can about what actually went on.

“Both my granduncles belonged to Company B, a unit made up of Chinese soldiers from Malacca,” he says. “They were taken to Singapore — which was considered the last stronghold of Malaya — when the Japanese invaded. In February 1942, they were called up to Cluney Hill to fight against the Japanese Imperial Guards Division.


“Although the British Surrender was announced on Feb 15, 1942, Captain Cho’s unit failed to get the order to surrender because the British captain, who was in charge, failed to pass the message along when he disappeared. They fought on until they ran out of ammunition and their positions were overrun by the Japanese on Feb 16, 1942.

Part of the Japanese ferocity towards captured Chinese soldiers was due to this incident as well as the guerrilla warfare tactics of Dalforce (also known as the Singapore Overseas Chinese Anti-Japanese Volunteer Army) who inflicted great losses on the Japanese through ambushes and sniping in Singapore and Malaya even after the British had surrendered.



Andrew Hwang





Captain Cho was killed by mortar fire. The surviving men were brought to a POW camp in Farrer Park. CQMS Tan tried to escape but he died doing so.”

Cho’s body was never found, states Hwang. He left behind a daughter and wife.

“Until today, his grandson — now a retiree — has no idea what a hero his grandfather was,” he says.

That’s where the war memorials come in. Hwang says there are dozens dotted around the country — obscure villages included — but many sit around unattended, crumbling, forgotten — like relics from a prehistoric age.

There’s one in the middle of a field in Kota Baru, Kelantan, for instance, but hundreds of people brush past it every day without knowing why it’s there.

This complete disregard for history has driven Hwang to traverse the country in search of forgotten war memorials. He has discovered about 30 so far in places like Kuala Selangor, Negri Sembilan and Johor.

“If you happen to visit some Chinese village and stumble upon a strange thing on the road, feel free to ask the villagers what it is,” he says.

“I did that a couple of times and I got responses like: ‘Oh, this one, ah, is to remember the 1,500 Chinese that were killed in one day’.


“The Chinese community had erected these to pay tribute to their glorious dead but their descendants are uninterested. It’s just too bad, since the Japanese and Australian memorials in Malaya are very well tended to by their respective governments.


Finding loved ones


Every morning, a sliver of sunlight filters in from the stained-glass windows of St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, KL. On it are the words: “To the glory of God this window has been presented by the ladies of the congregation in memory of those who gave their lives in the world wars. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.”

This war memorial, together with the four bronze and brass plaques that hang alongside the pews, makes up one of the loveliest and most evocative remembrance sites in Malaysia. Save for the glass windows, however, the memorials were looted some time in 1942 for their metal.


Company Quartermaster Sergeant (CQMS) Tan Kim Tee is standing at the last row in a black jacket and bow tie, while the younger Captain Cho Seow Lim is standing on the extreme right in a light coloured jacket with his wife, Tan Siok Tee, in front of him.





“At least Singapore has the Kranji War Memorial. At least they have a museum detailing the fight of all races for Malaya,” Hwang says.

“What do we have here? Many memorials in our country have disappeared, thanks to metal thieves. And those that remain (like my granduncle’s memorial outside Stadthuys in Malacca) are being threatened by the public’s blatant ignorance. People hang disrespectfully around the memorial eating ice cream . . . I have to drive them away with a broomstick sometimes.”

He was understandably ticked off. The memorials did, after all, provide some form of consolation to grieving family members. In several cases, it is the only consolation.

This is true with Ivan Ho, a friend of Hwang’s who had lost his father Ho Pan Thong of the Second Battalion to the war. Not only was his father’s death shrouded in mystery, Ho’s mother had destroyed all his father’s belongings for fear of the Japanese. As such, the only remnant of his father’s existence could be found etched onto a brass tablet in the Sultan Abdul Samad court building. Unfortunately, that too has vanished without a trace.

Fell is luckier. Through regular correspondence between her mother and a comrade of her dad’s, Father Gerard Bourke, Fell learnt that Reeve had been transported to a POW camp in Kanchanaburi, Thailand, by train. He was later sent downriver to Chungkai, where he died in 1943 of a variety of causes including amputation, dysentery and other diseases.

“Many years later, my mother saw an ad in her local newspaper offering subsidised pilgrimages for war widows to travel to Thailand with the Royal British Legion to visit their husband’s graves on the River Kwai,” says Fell.

“Our visit to Chungkai Cemetery in 1985 made a profound impression on me, and I wondered whether there were any memorials to the volunteers anywhere. This was the catalyst for my quest to gain recognition for the volunteers, and create some kind of memorial to them.”

There were, of course, many other heroes aside from those who fought in the war. Thousands of women, for instance, were suddenly widowed after the war. These women, like Fell’s mother Kathleen, had to use whatever means they had to single-handedly protect and raise a family.

After her husband’s capture, Kathleen made a vow to keep her daughter safe from harm."We boarded Tanjong Pinang bound for England,” reminisced Fell. “Missiles fell all around us as the Japanese bombed the harbour.“Our ship was hit but an American Destroyer saved us several hours later. I think the incident affected me quite a bit. I used to be afraid of the dark and loud noises when I was young.”

Fortunately, Kathleen lived up to her vow. She and her daughter got safely back to England, where Rosemary was left in the care of her grandparents.“My mother returned to Malaya to pick up the pieces. She worked as a nurse at a clinic in Kuala Kangsar,” Fell says.

“That time, Malaya was recovering from the effects of the Japanese and the country was in shambles. One of her duties was to go to various villages to give out medication to the old and sick. One time, she came across a communist ambush on her way there but they left her alone. The incident had shaken her, but I don’t think she was ever discouraged.”

As Malaya regained strength in the 1950s, Kathleen went to work in the istana for the Raja Perempuan Perak, who was already an elderly lady by then. The two quickly became good friends.

(“I remember having lunch with the queen during my school holidays,” beams Fell.)

Kathleen finally returned to the UK shortly after her retirement.

Captain Cho’s wife, Tan Siok Tee, meanwhile, had to sell her car and jewellery since she did not receive any pension from the government. She suffered from ill health throughout her life, but had managed to bring up their daughter with the help of several kind souls like her younger brother as well as a friend of her husband’s, Captain Ali.

Unlike the volunteers, these people will never have a memorial they can call their own. They will never make it into the history books, and memories of their selflessness and will to live will dim with each passing generation.

As the late actor Christopher Reeve once said, “A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.”

These people are then — in every sense of the word — heroes, even in the eyes of Superman.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Original post at Patrick and Katrina do the Globe on Melaka from The Lonely Planet

Melaka, Malaysia

Blog: Patrick and Katrina do the Globe - 17 十一月 2009

By: Patrick and Katrina Foster

In Melaka we finally found the quaint, charming southeast Asian town we'd been looking for. The streets were full of colonial character, with narrow alleys and colorful shutters on the aging mansions and clan houses. We found a place in the heart of Chinatown, the Chong Hoe Hotel, that met all our feng shui requirements from an open courtyard to let the water in to potted plants marking the heart of the building. Plus our room had AC, hot water, and wifi--bonus!

The Chang Hoe is located on "Harmony Street", so called because of the three different houses of worship that live happily side by side. The mosque was intriguingly pagoda-like and Cheng Hoon Teng was another fantastically ornate Buddhist specimen. Just one block over is Jonker Street, famous for its antique stores and bustling nightmarket. In the evening we elbowed our way through the crowds and chose from heaping piles of dumplings, rice balls, fried chicken, pineapple tarts, and other hawker treats to fill our bellies. At night was also an opportunity to catch a glimpse of Malaysian home life as many families open up the doors wide, probably as an attempt to seek refuge from the overwhelming humidity.

Nothing is very far in Melaka and a few minutes walk over the river is the central town square and colonial district full of museums telling the story of the city's sordid history. Control of Melaka changed hands five times between the 16th century up until the 1950s starting with the Portuguese, followed by the Dutch and British, then the Japanese occupation during WWII and lastly the British again just before Malaysia gained independence in 1957. There is a full-size reconstruction of the wooden, nail-free Melaka Sultanate Palace filled with dozens of Malaysians' favorite--the diorama. The large Stadthuys, also complete with costumed mannequins, is in its original form from when the Dutch built it in the 17th Century. We hopped from the hillside ruins of St. Paul's Church and the Porta de Santiago (the only two remaining structures from the Portuguese rule of the town in the 1500s) down to Muzium Raykat and it's beauty exhibit full of haunting pictures of scarring, lip plates, and feet binding.

One thing we just missed in Melaka was the 45th Annual Bowling World Cup--the opening competition was set to begin a few days after our departure. We hope the international bowlers enjoyed some great pineapple tarts and antique shopping.

MELAKA Report by Asia ONE (SG) -Relax page:


From Air Keroh to Bukit Bintang

David Bowden discovers some new and exciting places for visitors in historic Malacca:

From Air Keroh to Bukit Bintang

THE historic, UNESCO-protected inner heart of Malacca is an obvious attraction for anyone driving to Malaysia. The good news is there are now several new sites to explore for all who are young at heart.

From the Air Keroh highway exit, head pass the zoo and turn right into the MITC Complex for the new Melaka International Bowling Centre (T: +606 232- 1507) and the Melaka Planetarium and Adventure Science Centre (T: +606 232- 2122). They’re opposite each other with the bowling centre that has 52 lanes and games costing just RM6.50 ($2.60).

Melaka Planetarium is a fantastic facility full of exhibitions about outer space and all things celestial. Have fun with the hands-on educational displays including a model Russian spacecraft offering simulated journeys through space.

The highlight is the space theatre with its 15m diameter domed ceiling in which images of space are projected. This is an amazing 3D experience in which you feel like you are really on a journey through space.

Just near the historic city centre a new revolving gyro tower called Menara Tamingsari (www.menaratamingsari.com) launches visitors 80m above the landscape and then turns for a 360 degree view of Malacca.

A church in Melaka
www.eyeonmalaysia.com.my

For something different, attend a cooking class with celebrity Chef Kenny Chan at the historic Majestic Malacca Hotel (T: +606 289-8000, www.majesticmalacca.com).

Chef Chan is a familiar face to anyone who watches the show Baba & Nonya. Now he stars in his own cooking classes, which can be specially arranged by the Majestic.

His grandfather’s favourite Peranakan dishes include sambal bendeh (okra salad), ayam pong teh (Peranakan chicken) and telur cincalok (omelette).

The afternoon class costs RM250++ per person and includes an apron and certificate as well as the chance to eat the fruits of your labour and chat with the affable chef.

Staying in the hotel provides an opportunity to travel back in time. While the accommodation wing is new, all rooms are luxuriously decorated with period design and furniture.

The rooms at the Majestic Hotel are decorated with period design and furniture.

If you’re travelling with your family, you may want to check in to Shah’s Beach Resort (T: +606 315-3121, www.shahsresorts.com) at Tanjung Kling some ten-minute’s drive north of the city centre.

It has waterfront views, comfortable family accommodation and a pool.

Dine nearby at either Bert’s Garden Seafood :

(T: +606 315-2213) or Cliff’s Sunset Retreat Restaurant (T: +606 315-5596, www.sunset.my) for rustic seaside ambience and affordable comfort fooding there: It takes 2.5 hours to drive from Singapore to Malacca and four hours to the Malaysian capital. Alternatively, coaches provide access to both places. Various airlines service the Singapore-KL route with some cheap deals now being offered by most airlines, in particular AirAsia (www.airasia.com), Jetstar (www.jetstar.com) and Firefly (www.fireflyz.com.my ).

● Tips: All Malacca hotels have a comprehensive selection of tourism brochures in the lobby. Check out what’s and, for Malacca, www.melaka.gov.my/tourism, Tel: +606 288-2955

Make Malacca airport soar

MALACCA: The Malacca Government has been asked to formulate strategies to promote the new Malacca International Airport as the main gateway for visitors from neighbouring countries and to optimise its usage.

Speaking when opening the airport in Batu Berendam here, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the airport had modern facilities to attract tourists, including medical tourists, and investors.“This is the advantage of having an airport. There will be an increase in the number of visitors and investors while medical tourism will also see an upturn,” he said.



It’s official: Najib stamping his mark after opening the Malacca International Airport in Batu Berendam yesterday. Among those witnessing the opening is Mohd Ali (at the Prime Minister’s right) and Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha (right).


Najib, who is on a one-day visit to the state, earlier arrived on a special aircraft at the airport which the Government plans to turn into a hub for medical tourism.He said among the aspects which the state government should focus on was connectivity by attracting more airlines such as Malaysia Airlines, Firefly and AirAsia to operate from there.

New destinations, such as Medan in Indonesia, should also be identified, he added. Among the earliest airlines to operate at the airport was Indonesia’s Riau Airlines, serving the Pekan Baru-Melaka sector, he said.Najib said the “Malacca” brand was renowned internationally due to its historical heritage.He said developing modern elements such as the airport would further put Malacca prominently on the global map, adding that the aviation sector had a huge multiplying effect to the tune of 12.5 times.

At a news conference later at Seri Bendahara, after meeting Malacca Barisan Nasional leaders, Najib was asked on the Malacca government’s proposal that the RM60mil loan from the Federal Government to upgrade the airport be converted into assistance."We’ll see,” Najib said, adding that it would be discussed with Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam.Meanwhile, Mohd Ali said the airport would be among the busiest airports in Malaysia as there were also non-commercial flights, run by the Malaysian Flying Academy, operating there.

Last year, the Malacca airport handled 23,751 passengers

-Excerpt & Picture taken from ' THE STAR ' newspaper.

Blog Archive

MALAYSIAN FLAG

MALAYSIAN FLAG

"Rojak " Video By The Suleiman Brothers

object width="425" height="344">

The Malacca Story (Chinese version)

with courtesy to asmaliana-BPP

The Malacca Story (part 2)

The Malacca Story (part 3)

With courtesy to Asmaliana-BPP