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The Baba and Nyonya Heritage

The Baba and Nyonya Heritage

The Baba and Nyonya Heritage

Baba and Nyonya are Chinese of noble descendants that have adopted much of the Malay culture into theirs. They are also known as 'Straits-born Chinese' or 'Peranakans'. The public can now view the heirloom unique to this heritage at the Baba & Nyonya Heritage Museum (a private museum) run by the Babas and Nyonyas of Melaka at Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock.

The Baba and Nyonya Heritage
The Baba and Nyonya Heritage

Melaka's Sultanate Palace

Melaka's Sultanate Palace

Malacca Sultanate Palace is an exquisite piece of Malay architecture and is a replica of the original 15th century palace of Malacca's extinct Sultanate. The palace is built based on sketches found in the ancient Sejarah Melayu (Malay Annals). This wooden replica of the Sultan's palace houses the Malacca Cultural Museum. Melaka's Sultanate Palace

Facing the palace is the Historic City Memorial Garden. An intriguing monument to commemorate the declaration of Malacca as a Historic City is the showpiece of this garden. The monument is topped with a replica of a Malay royal headress, a symbol of Malaysians' allegiance to the throne.

A Famosa

After the Portuguese captured Melaka (Malay name for Malacca) in 1511, they built a fortress to defend themselves. The fortress, called A'Famosa was practically destoyed during the Dutch invasion in 1641. Only one gate of this fortress is preserved today.

Sumanje Love about melacca 

A Famosa, or "The Famous" in Portuguese, is among the oldest surviving European architectural remains in Asia. Once part of a mighty fortress, this tiny gate (called the Porta de Santiago) is all that is left of a once-mighty fortress. In 1511 a Portuguese fleet arrived under the command of Alfonso de Albequerque. His forces attacked and successfully defeated the armies of the native Sultanate. Moving quickly to consolidate his gains, Albequerque had the fortress built around a natural hill near the sea. Albequerque believed that Melaka would become an important port linking Portugal to the spice trade from China. At his time other Portuguese were establishing outposts in such places as Macau, China and Goa, India in order to create a string of friendly ports for ships heading to China and returning home to Portugal.

The fortress once consisted of long ramparts and four major towers. One was a four-story keep, while the others held an ammunition's storage room, the residence of the captain, and an officers' quarters. As the plan below shows, most of the village clustered in town houses inside the fortress walls. As Melaka's population expanded it outgrew the original fort and extensions were added around 1586. The fort changed hands in 1641 when the Dutch successfully drove the Portuguese out of Melaka. The Dutch renovated the gate in 1670, which explains the logo "ANNO 1670" inscribed on the gate's arch. Above the arch is a bas-relief logo of the Dutch East India Company.

A Famosa

The fortress changed hands again in the early 19th century when the Dutch handed it over to the British to prevent it from falling into the hands of Napoleon's expansionist France. The English were wary of maintaining the fortification and ordered its destruction in 1806. The fort was almost totally demolished but for the timely intervention of Sir Stanford Raffles, the founder of Singapore, who happened to visit Melaka in 1810. Because of his passion for history this small gate was spared destruction.

Robinson Waterfall

Walk Path 9 / 9A Tanah Rata
Start from the gardens on Persiaran Dayang Endah and continue to the end of the road. Cross a small bridge on your left to start the walk.

Robinson Waterfall

Robinson Waterfall 
About Malaysia

Cameron Hightlands

Cameron Highlands is Malaysia's lagest and best-known hill resort. Discovered by, and named after William Cameron, a goverment surveyor who, in 1885 explored the area by hacking a path up through dense jungle and came across, "A fine plateau shut in by mountains". At 1524m above sea level the area enjoys a cool climate, with temperatures no higher than 20°C and rarely falling below 10°C, a welcome change to the generally oppressive heat and humisity at sea level.Cameron Highlands

Without doubt the most interesting aspect of a visit to the resort is its tea plantations, the first of which were established in 1929 by John Archibald Russell and belong to the most famous Malaysian tea producer, Boh Tea. The estates are wonderfully manicured and visitors are welcome to view the factory production process and enjoy a cuppa' at the tea shop.

                             Other interesting places to visit include the numerous vegetable farms dotted all around the area. There are also strawberry farms, flower nurseries, butterfly farms, a challenging 18 hole golf course and for the more adventurious various jungle treks. The three main highlands towns are Ringlet, Tanah Rata and Brinchang with most visitors staying in and around the latter two. Accommodation varies from small inexpensive hotels and guest houses, to self-catering apartments and first class hotels. Any time of year is suitable for a visit, but try to avoid the main public and school holiday periods as the area can become very busy.

                           It is also best to be prepared for the 2 hour journey from the entry point at Tapah to Tanah Rata, the drive is not steep and is extremely interesting, but the road is quite narrow and very winding, so drive carefully and try to stop occasionally to enjoy the various sights along the way. These include the impressive Lata Iskandar waterfall, amazing tropical vegetation and various Orang Asli (indigenous people) dwellings. Without doubt Cameron Highlands is the place to visit on Peninsular Malaysia.

Songket Weaving - Malaysia

Srivijaya governed the Southeast Asian sea route from the 7 th century - lured merchants from the east and the west to trade under well-organised and protected conditions. Vague evidence seems to suggest that Srivijaya's rule began to crumble in the 13 th century, this gave other trading ports the opportunity to divert merchant ships with promises of trade opportunities. One such port was Melaka, which swiftly took charge of the trading route down the Straits of Melaka. Traders exchanged goods at the port, shipping basic necessities such as rice, sugar, pottery and luxury items such as silk yarns, gold and silver for ivory, tortoiseshell, resin, waxes, sandalwood, spices and other jungle products abound in the region's rainforest. Textiles were brought in to trade or as gifts for the Sultan and his entourage. It is noted that the royal court clothed in textiles were very much influenced by Indian weaving and design methods. The courts' controlled the textile trade and by the 15 th century, Melaka was trading in a variety of luxurious textiles including fine silks, gold threads and brocade. Weavers were no longer restricted to the use of local materials.

It is not certain as to the songket's place of origin but the Kelatanese believe that this weaving technique came from the North, somewhere in the Cambodia-Siam region and expanded south into Pattani and finally to Kelantan and Terengganu. However, Terengganu weavers believe that Indian traders brought songket weaving to Palembang and Jambi where it probably originated during the time of Srivijaya.
Much documentation is sketchy about the origins of the songket but it is most likely that songket weaving was brought to Peninsular Malaysia through intermarriages between royal families. This was a common occurrence in the 15 th century for sealing strategic alliances. 

                These royal women would bring along their personal weavers with their entourage. Although the term menyongket means 'to embroider with gold or silver threads', the Malay songket is not embroidered. The songket utilises an intricate supplementary weft technique where gold threads are woven in between the longitudinal silk threads of the background cloth. This rich and luxurious fabric demonstrated the social structure of the Malay elite. The symbolism of thread colours to signify the status and title of the Court has been in use since the period of the Melaka Sultanate during the reign of Sultan Muhammad Shah (1426 - 1446, Sejarah Melayu). White gold thread was the colour of the ruler, yellow for the crown prince, blue or violet for the prime minister and so on. Sultan Muhammad Shah himself preferred to be dressed in 'Malay Attire' as he refused to emulate foreign clothing. 

                       The royal court weavers would produce individualised motifs often created by the wearers themselves. This rich textile was transformed from a mere form of attire into a canvas for individuality, personal triumphant, and was regarded as a symbol of prestige not only within the court arena but on an international stage.
In the past two decades, kain songket has been introduced into a wider audience of culturally conscious wearers. Terengganu has the highest concentration of songket weavers in Malaysia. With the gradual reintroduction of songket into the Malay Culture, there seems to be a stronger reason for the locals to take up weaving as a profession. 

Pura Tanjung Sabtu

                Art, culture and tradition is sometimes most difficult to explain if taken away from the environment in which it was born. Pura Tanjung Sabtu, a complex of historic wooden palaces is home and atelier to Yang Mulia Tengku Ismail bin Tengku Su. Tengku Ismail is a man of vision - a gentleman who believes in the Malay Identity and acknowleges the importance of maintaining that foundation for the future.
                  Tengku Ismail is second cousin to Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin of Terengganu. He was brought up in traditional royal manner in the inner court of Dalam Kota Istana Maziah on the palace grounds of Kuala Terengganu. His love for the childhood memories would undoubtedly have planted a seed in his passion for restoring old Terengganu wooden houses. But the passion was ignited when he went on a trip to Kyoto in 1970 where he visited the 17th century wooden palaces of the shoguns. He was completely taken aback by how well the Japanese had preserved their historical milestones. 

               After his schooling tenure at Westminster College, London, he returned to his beloved Terengganu However, his excitement turned into dismay by what he saw. The years that he had been away, much of Terengganu's traditional architecture had fallen into disuse. Many homes have been renovated with modern designs that have all but obliterated the original designs.
His dreams to impede the loss of Terengganu's traditional architecture became a reality upon working on a race against time to restore the importance of Songket in Malay culture. 

                            Tengku Ismail used his large collection of antique songket to reinstate the traditions of songket wear amongst royal families. Soon, orders for songket pieces were streaming in and a small cottage industry was set up. With income from the sale of songkets, Tengku Ismail realised his dream and began the hunt for old houses as early as the 1980's . He eventually bought eleven 100 - 160 year old wooden houses from villagers in Terengganu. With the help of a team of skilled local craftsmen headed by a grand old gentlemen of 95years old, Tok Ayah Teh Sar, Tengku Ismail had the 11 houses dismantled and reinstalled 9 houses into a complex on his land, surrounded by 14 acres of landscaped gardens, lawns, orchards, fields with a dreamy stream running through this lush piece of paradise.
Tengku Ismail had to inject a little creativity in designing the complex. Since all the wooden houses were originally individual entities, the complex has included a main hall or a 'balai' instead of the traditional layout and then then stretched into an east wing and a west wing.

                        Guests are met by their host at the balai called Rumah Ibu Seberang Baroh. Incidentally, all the houses are named after the villagers where they originated from eg. Rumah Sungai Rengas, Rumah Kuala Ibai and Rumah Rhu Rendang. The back portion of Rumah Ibu Seberang Baroh is an extended patio where wayang kulit (traditional puppet theatre) performances and silat (Malay martial art) demos are held.
Tengku Ismail retains the west wing as his private residence but opens the rest to the public. Two of the wooden houses in the east wings are guesthouses, another is reserved as a songket gallery. There's a dining area where visitors can enjoy home cooked Malay cuisine in the comfort of traditional surroundings and tranquility of village life. 

Bibah Songket
Puan Hajjah Habibah believes that although motifs can be a combination of new and of traditional designs, she makes no compromise on the quality of the weaving and the material. Every single step of traditional songket weaving is followed through as did master weavers of the sultan's centuries ago . However, even in the earlier years, Kak Bibah knew that she could lift the beauty of songket to a new level by adding a variety of coloured threads where traditionally only silver or gold threads were used. With that, she introduced a new weaving technique to accommodate a variety of colour threads that could be added to the songket piece. Her years spent working with the Iban (Indigenous tribe in Sarawak) students on the ikat pua also gave her the idea of combining both the ikat pua and the songket to produce a unique songket range. 

She spent a great amount of time after that perfecting her discoveries.
Going back to the roots of traditional malay songket weaving, Bibah set up her factory in Terengganu at a small village called Kampung Rhu Rengeh. She trained her master weavers from scratch and after years of preserverence, her efforts are beginning to fruit. The young weavers whom she hires from the nearby villages have developed such skills and confidence that they often shun simple designs for more intricate ones. 

Kak Bibah's hands-on dedication has inspired many of her young weavers and for others who have married and moved away to other villages, she continues to provide them with supplementary income by setting up looms in their homes so that they can weave in their leisure time. This small but significant cottage industry of songket weaving is taking a big circle and returning the art and traditions of the Malays to the people. 

Kak Bibah believes in transforming art into all she touches. Batik and songket allows her to expand her artistic horizons but she also takes heed in producing songket that flows and is soft to the skin so that the textile can fall gently onto the contours of the wearer, complementing the physique. Her attention to detail and the quality to create her pieces warrants apiece made in at least 3months but the wearer and buyer can be assured of the making of an heirloom for years of appreciation and pride. 

Having established a ready market for traditional use of songket, Kak Bibah continues to expand the horizon of opportunities for songket. Exclusive Malaysian Resorts use songket to infuse modern and traditional to form a crystal-clear Malaysian identity. State Houses and Government buildings adorn their foyers and amphitheatres with songket panelling to reinforce Malaysia's heritage.
Today, the Songket is sublime. It has finally developed a story, a lovestory enriched with art, passion, tradition and identity. The true Malay Songket.

Tioman Islan v/s Hawaii U.S

We'll start on the island of Oahu, not necessarily because it is my favorite, but because it is the most popular. Here you see the famous Waikiki Beach. Honolulu is the state capital as well as Hawaii's largest city.

Some of the highlights you must see are the Polynesian Cultural Center, the famous surf on the North Shore, and Pearl Harbor.
The island of Oahu, known as "The Gathering Place", is the third largest of the Hawaiian Islands and most populous of the islands in the State of Hawaii. The island is home to about 900,000 people. Today, Oahu has become a tourism and shopping haven as over five million visitors flock there every year to enjoy the quintessential island holiday experience that the Hawaiian Islands and their multicultural people now personify.

Hawaiian Islands -- Six main islands including Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Molokai, Lanai and the Hawaii (the Big Island).

Hawaii is the only island state in the United States.

Pulau Tioman

Like a giant sleeping dragon, the dark green ridges of Tioman Island rise up above the waters of the South China Sea. On closer inspection, it becomes clear that the dragon’s dark green scales are in fact giant trees and impenetrable jungle; that the grey claws are giant granite boulders and that the dragon’s horns are twin peaks with smooth, straight cliffs, surrounded with swirls of mist.

The dragon-like appearance of Tioman Island is at the root of a legend surrounding its origin: A dragon princess from China was flying to her prince in Singapore and stopped to rest in these calm, warm waters. Enamoured by the beauty of the area, and the waves lapping at her sides, she discontinued her journey and took the form of an island. 

 The waters around the island are filled with corals of all shapes and colours and home to a vast diversity of sea creatures, including two species of marine turtle. There are a few excellent beaches on Tioman, and these curves of golden sand are usually tucked away at the edges of villages or fronting one of the many resorts.