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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

St. Paul’s Church, Malacca, Malaysia



Walking along the road beside Stadthuys, you will be surprised by two things – numerous museums located on your left and colourful trishaw blasting music, carrying passengers passing by.

As you make your way to St Paul Church located at the St Paul Hill, you may be taking a lot more time than you expected. Not because of the long journey, but the existence of interesting museums that can easily drag people’s attention.

As you walk, you will encounter some museums along the way. They are are the Architecture Museum, the Stamp Museum and the Islamic Museum. After walking further, another valuable historical monument – Porta de Santiago or also known as A’Famosa will appear in front of your eyes. Moving on and you will see a white stairways along the slope and that is the way leading you to St Paul Church.

Moving from Porta de Santiago, the church that is located at the summit of the hill is easily accessible by a 5 to 10 minutes walk through the stairway. Upon reaching the top of St. Paul Hill, the tiredness of climbing stairs will be forgotten when you grasp the breathtaking view of Melaka city and the coastline.

The church was built on a hill in 1521 by Duarte Coelho, a catholic Portuguese captain. It was later renamed St. Paul’s church by the Dutch. Francis Xavier was buried in the open grave here 1553 before his body was transferred to goa in india. The church has a commanding view of MALACCA.


Monday, December 27, 2010

HISTORICAL HERITAGE


WELCOME TO MALACCA (one of the states)

MALACCA history began in 1403 with the arrival of Parameswara, an exiled Hindu prince from Kingdom of Sri Vijay in Sumatra. He assumed the title of Raja Iskandar when he embraced Islam and became the first ruler of this new kingdom, which marked the early beginnings of the Sultanate of MALACCA.

In time, MALACCA gained prominence as a vibrant maritime trading centre and was convened by several foreign powers. The Portuguese led by Alfonso d ’Albuquerque conquered MALACCA in 1511 and colonized it for 130 years. The Dutch then came in 1641 and ruled for 154 years. They were followed by the British in 1824 who ruled until the country gained its independence. MALACCA also experienced Japanese occupation from 1942 to 1945. After World War Two, nationalistic sentiments began to spread culminating in the proclamation of independence on the 31st of August 1957.

Modern MALACCA set on a course of industrial development about two decades after
independence and forges ahead in its vision to be a fully industrialized state by the year 2010.
( So coveted was MALACCA by the European powers that it was ruled successively  by the Portuguese, Dutch and the British until the federation of Malaya was formed on the 31st of August 1957.)

Porta de Santiago (A‘Famosa)



This prominent landmark in MALACCA was a fortress built by the Portuguese admiral, Alfonso d ’Albuquerque in 1511. It was badly damaged during the Dutch invasion in 1641. Timely intervention by Sir Stamford Raffles, a British official, in 1808 saved what remains of the A‘Famosa today.

The name is often mispronounced /eɪ/ Famosa, even among Malaysians, as though the Portuguese definite article a were the English letter A. A more authentic pronunciation would be /ɑː/ Famosa.

The fortress once consisted of long ramparts and four major towers. One was a four-story keep, while the others held an ammunition storage room, the residence of the captain, and an officers' quarters. Most of the village clustered in town houses inside the fortress walls. As Malacca'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 Malacca. 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.
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 Stamford Raffles, the founder of Singapore, who happened to visit Malacca in 1810. Because of his passion for history, this small gate was spared from destruction.

Friday, December 24, 2010

WELCOME TO MALAYSIA






Malaysia is divided into 13 states (Negeri) and 3 federal territories (Wilayah Persekutuan). These are divided between two regions, with 11 states and 2 federal territories on Peninsular Malaysia and the other 2 states and 1 federal territory in East Malaysia. As Malaysia is a federation, the governance of the states is divided between the federal and the state governments, while the Federal government has direct administration of the federal territories.
The 13 states are based on historical Malay Kingdoms, and 9 of the 13 states, known as the Malay states, retain their royal families. The head of state (titled Yang di-Pertuan Agong) is elected by and from amongst the nine rulers to serve a five-year term. Each state has a unicameral legislature known as the State Legislative Assembly. The states of East Malaysia (Sabah and Sarawak) have separate immigration policies and controls and a unique residency status. Visas are required for travel between these two states or between either state and peninsular Malaysia. For some, the other areas of Malaysia are considered foreign countries under immigration laws.Each state is further divided into districts, which are then divided into mukim. In Sabah and Sarawak districts are grouped into "Divisions".
The federal parliament is permitted to legislate on issues of land, the Islamic religion and local government, in order to provide for a uniform law between different states, or on the request of the state assembly concerned. The law in question must also be passed by the state assembly as well, except in the case of certain land law-related subjects. Non-Islamic issues that fall under the purview of the state may also be legislated at the federal level for the purpose of conforming with Malaysian treaty obligations