Monday, January 21, 2013

Malacca : The Commercialised Red Square

I guess all school children in Malaysia have a chance to visit this part of Bandar Hilir during their visit to Malacca. I remember my first time visiting this 'Dutch Square' or sometimes known as 'Red Square' in 1986 when I was in standard 4 in the school's 'rombongan cik kiah' to Malacca. I still remember the Christ Church and The Stadthuys next to it, all in red color. I still remember us lined up and marched by the road side from one part to another.

But what I could not remember is how crowded the place is. During our recent visit early this month, what I can see is the fact that this part of town is so crowded, full of tourists and full of stalls selling things. 

 Never mind the full of tourists part, it is a World Heritage site, what do you expect? It is supposed to attract tourists. But I think the local authority should consider to rearrange the city in such a way that the stalls are not located at the entrance to Stadthuys. It can be located nearby but not that near. Historical sites like this shouldn't be surrounded by stalls that way. It doesn't look like a historical site anymore with all those stalls around, it looks like a pasar malam - just another centre to buy souvenirs! And the lack of dustbins around is something to be considered by the local authority. People gathered in the middle of the square and throw bottles and tissues and such as they like. I practically became tukang kutip sampah during the recent visit, taking the rubbish I saw on the street to the nearest bin.

 I still love the square though. The Stadthuys, the Christ Church, the clock tower. Hopefully it will be preserved for years to come, for our future generation, to mark the Dutch's invasion at Tanah Melayu in 1641. It is said that The Stadthuys was built right after Dutch captured Tanah Melayu from the Portugese. They built this building after the destruction of the city during the fight between Dutch and Portugese, and became the residence of the Governor and served as the administration centre of the city. If I am not mistaken, Stadthyus itself means 'town hall' in dutch. It is said that it mirrors the 15th to 18th century town hall of the Frisian town in the Netherland.

It was the red to remember.. though it was the British who painted this building red from the original white color. And may the red preserved for our future generation many many many years to come.

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