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Malacca – Over Six Centuries of Ethnicity (Part Two)

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The Peranakan of Melaka

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bannerCulture of Malacca began more than six centuries ago in which various ethnic customs and traditions blended perfectly.  This peaceful life of the Malaccan people of all races gave birth to the Malay, Chinese, Indian, Baba and Nyonya, Portuguese, Chitty and Eurasia.

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Murals alll along the sides of the Melaka River

Each ethnic group gives a different taste of the famous people of Melaka as a friendly people. Each of these races uphold their tradition and this is reflected in the food, religious customs, festivals, culture, design, application, jewelery and handicrafts. Today Melaka has many things to offer to tourists such as culture, customs istiadar, historic sites, religious festivals, traditional celebrations in the city as well and Jasin.

Malay social organizations in Melaka is divided into two, namely those customary Temenggong the family of the wife by the husband and customs Perpatih, where the husband by the wife’s family.

Malay women wear loose clothing and long sleeves called baju and sarong worn with little or tight clothes baju kebaya. Malay Male Malay dress worn with loose pants with a cloth known as well as tied at the waist. For weddings and feasts, songket cloth to be used as well.

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Traditional of Malay Women

Traditions and other characters of the Malays as illustrated in the song Love Dondang Malay martial arts such as Silat Melayu.

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A Baba Nonya Woman

The Chinese came to Malacca since the mass migration of Chinese from South province in central China. Communities such as Hokkien, Cantonese, Hakka, Teochew and Hainanese still follow customs, traditions, food, language and their cultural characteristics.

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Indians in Melaka are the Tamils ​​of South India where they inhabit the rubber. However, there are also among those who work in the business of jewelry, fabrics, retailers, merchants and money-lenders.

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Dressing of a Baba Nonya

Baba and Nyonya Peranakan Chinese in Malacca is where their ancestors came and married local women. Such intermarriage has produced a unique Chinese culture and Malay traditions.

Baba and Nyonya ethnic introduced unique furniture, porcelain and crockery, style and delicious food that can only be found in Malacca. Nyonya race wore kebaya with “brooches” various forms and jewelry made from silver or gold.

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As well as Baba and Nyonya, Melaka has a small community called Chitty of people of Indian origin procreation or children of Indian traders who married Malay women. Village known as Kampung Chitty and is located towards the west Maman Elephant Road, one mile northwest of Chinatown. The entrance to the village is adorned with carved elephants Mutamariman adjacent to the temple. Like Kampung Morten, it is a beautiful area to visit and see the village houses are characterized by Malay villages. The best time to visit is during Mariamman Festival or Festival Mayor Char-char in May. It is a Hindu festival where you may have the opportunity to witness the Indian wedding ceremony.

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The Portuguese Square. Malacca

Malacca is the only state that has a Portuguese settlement founded in 1930. The inhabitants of this place named Sua Chang Padre (Father Land) in conjunction with its founder. People living here are Eurasian of Portuguese descent living as fishermen. The Portuguese Catholic religious practice and speak Cristang or Cristao.

Ethnic Portuguese in Malacca provides traditional life, language, customs and music that appears unique. The most popular dance is Beranyo and Frapeirra. Christians also celebrate festivals with great including Christmas Day and Easter Festival San Pedra.

The Portuguese of Melaka Farapeira
The Portuguese Faraperia Dance

Religious places that can be visited include the Church of Christ, Church of St. Paul, Vinayagar Moorthi Temple Sri Poyyatha, Kampung Kling Mosque, Cheng Hoon Teng Temple, Mosque, Church St. Peter, Sam Poh Kong Temple and the Lamb.

As far as it comes to me, what am I since originally come from Kampung Klebang which I briefly went through in my previous (first part of this 3 part series on Malacca)? All I do know is that I am part Peranakan and Javanese as many of the Malay ancestors originated from Java, Aceh and many of the other Indonesian islands of which there are literally hundreds. All I do know is that I have a rich history and have with me the legacy that is Malacca.

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Lineup of Traditional Malay Costumes

Captivating Cultures

Malacca’s rich cultural heritage comes from its various ethnic groups who are proud of their historical links to the past.

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Malay Women outside a typical house in Malacca

The Malays constitute the largest group of Malacca’s population. Islam pervades their whole way of life, including their customs or adat. The social system of the Malays in Malacca is based on adat temenggong, which embraces a patriarchal tradition. This custom has subsequently spread to the other states in the peninsula.

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Typical Malay Costumes

Malacca is a multi-linguistic state. Malaysian is the official language of Malacca and is used in the government and public sectors. English is widely used in business and tourism sectors. A local Malay, known as Malaccan Malay is a unique variety of Malay spoken within the state of Malacca, it has its own distinct pronunciation and vocabulary compared to the rest of Malaysia.

Other minority languages such as Chinese and its varieties, Tamil, Kristang (Portuguese creole) and various Malay-based creoles such as Baba Malayand Malaccan Creole Malay are also spoken. The Orang Asli languages spoken within Malacca are mostly speakers of the Temuan language. Actually to be honest, I dont know of any Malay in Melaka that is of pure Malay blood not after the history the Malaccan Sultanate assimilating with so many other ethnic tribes around the world.

 

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Chinese New Year in Jonker Street, Malacca

The Chinese came to Malacca since the mass migration of Chinese from South province in central China. Communities such as Hokkien, Cantonese, Hakka, Teochew and Hainanese still follow customs, traditions, food, language and their cultural characteristics.

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The Sri Poyatha Moorthi Temple in Malacca
Indians in Melaka are the Tamils ​​of South India who worked in the rubber plantations. However, there are also among those who work in the business of jewelry, fabrics, retailers, merchants and money-lenders.
 
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Typical costumes of the Baba Nonya
 
Baba and Nyonya Peranakan Chinese in Malacca is where their ancestors came and married local women. Such intermarriage has produced a unique Chinese culture and Malay traditions.
 
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Baba and Nyonya ethnic introduced unique furniture, porcelain and crockery, style and delicious food that can only be found in Malacca. Nyonya race wore kebaya with “brooches” various forms and jewelry made from silver or gold.
 
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Portuguese Dance Routine
Malacca is the only state that has a Portuguese settlement founded in 1930. The inhabitants of this place named Sua Chang Padre (Father Land) in conjunction with its founder. People living here are Eurasian of Portuguese descent living as fishermen.
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The Portuguese with their guitars and lively festive music

The Portuguese Catholic religious practice and speak Cristang or Cristao. Ethnic Portuguese in Malacca provides traditional life, language, customs and music that appears unique. The most popular dance is Beranyo and Frapeirra. Christians also celebrate festivals with great including Christmas Day and Easter Festival San Pedra.

 
 

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Malaysia, like most places in the world, also has a bevy of indigenous people. Total of the indigenous groups in Peninsular Malaysia is small. In Malacca, aboriginal groups typically make findings in rural settlements, the edge of the woods and along the coast. These people are the Orang Asli which during time have either re-settled in the major cities and town throughout Malaysia or have been forgotten, which is a major issue with most countries around the world when it comes to their indigenous population.DAsep2

The Sikh community came to Malacca from India to bring together religious and cultural rights. Normally, the Sikh community consists of police and security guards.

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Sikhs enjoying performing their traditional music

However, the Sikh community now have the opportunity to go into business and assumed the position. They practice a religion based on concepts of god and as the evidence now available, or Sikh temple known as gurdwaras available around Malacca.

    Two festivals are celebrated by the Sikh community, namely:

  • Guru Nanak’s birthday, on Dec. 22.
  • Vasakhi, a new year of the Sikh community on April 13.

 

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The Chitty 

The Chitty are a distinctive group of Tamil people found mainly in Malacca and Singapore, who are also known as the Indian Peranakans. As of today their population stands at 2,000. Peranakan is attributed to natives from another country or kingdom as those days would put it and assimilating into the local Malay society taking up not only its language but customs also, even their dances.

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Like the Peranakans, the Chitty speak a Malay patois, which is mixed with many Tamil loan words. Many of the Chitty are unable to communicate in Tamil fluently. Historical records stated that the Tamil traders from Panai in Tamil Nadu settled down in Malacca during the sovereignty of the Sultanate of Malacca. Like the Peranakans, they later settled down and freely intermingled with the local Malays and Chinese settlers. However, with the fall of the Malacca Sultanate after 1511, the Chitty eventually lost touch with their native land.

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Baba Nonya who are these people?

Peranakan Chinese or Straits-born Chinese are the descendants of Chinese immigrants who came to the Malay archipelagoincluding British Malaya (now Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore, where they are also referred to as Baba-Nyonya) and Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia; where they’re also referred as Kiau-Seng) between the 15th and 17th centuries.

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Typical Peranakan crockery/Baba Nonya crockery

Members of this community in Malaysia address themselves as “Baba Nyonya“. Nyonya is the term for the women and Baba for the men. It applies especially to the Han populations of the British Straits Settlements of Malaya and the Dutch-controlled island of Javaand other locations, who have adopted Nusantara customs — partially or in full — to be somewhat assimilated into the local communities.

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Many were the elites of Singapore, more loyal to the British than to China. Most have lived for generations along the Straits of Malacca. They were usually traders, the middleman of the British and the Chinese, or the Chinese and Malays, or vice versa because they were mostly English educated. Because of this, they almost always had the ability to speak two or more languages.

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Yummm! One of the many Peranakan Restaurants! Great food!!

Take note – In both Malay and Indonesian, the word Peranakan is derived from anak, “child” and means “descendant”, with no connotation of the ethnicity of descent unless followed by a subsequent qualifying noun, such as for example Peranakan Tionghoa/Cina (Chinese descendants), Jawi Peranakan (Arab descendents), or Peranakan Belanda (Dutch descendants). Peranakan has the implied connotation of referring to the ancestry of great-grandparents or of more-distant ancestors.

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Tour Buses galore throughout downtown Malacca (Melaka)

Melaka Today

All these disparate traders and invaders intermarried, resulting in the ethnic and cultural diversity which now make Melaka, a UNESCO World Heritage site, such a fascinating place to visit and also, for the non-culturally-curious partners of the many culture vultures who flock to the city, also a delicious one in which to eat.
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Picture of the famous Red Building or “The Stadhuys”

You get a sense of a quainter age as you meander round the old streets, an age where gentlemen wore white suits and pith helmets and briskly swung rattan walking sticks as they walked to their clubs for a snifter of gin. The rattan canes often swung a little less steadily on the way home, their owners having enjoyed a measure or two more than sobriety allowed – these were, however, easily justified as being essential for the health, due to the gin’s supposedly prophylactic properties.

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Where else but the Malaccan Hard Rock Cafe!!

Malacca or rather Melaka can get really busy and hectic on the weekends swarming with tourists from abroad and off the cruiseships which dock daily.

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Local Malaccan Delicacies

Locals from the major cities like Kuala Lumpur usually take the time off to drive down to Melaka for a short break with family which means its usually full of kids running around town like down Jonker Street and usually ending up eating the great food usually associated with this great place or ending up (mainly the adults and tourists) at the Jonker Street Hard Rock Cafe.

You can be assured that there are plenty of local buses making their way across the whole city so you wouldnt have much trouble getting to where you want to go!

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Fantastic food! Plenty of stalls/eateries throughout my hometown of Melaka

Next you plan to pay a visit to my hometown of Melaka, who knows, you might actually bump into me and if you do, it would be absolute pleasure to show you around, especially the fantastic cuisine we have to offer – the best food in Malaysia!!.

Before I forget, dont forget if you havent yet read the first part of my Malaccan travel article to do so at: http://livingmsia.com/malacca-melaka-unesco-heritage-city-part-one/

And do look out for my last part (Part 3) for the tastiest and spiciest article of ALL….all about the food of Malacca!!!

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