- 2007/08/07 The days when 'Mr Sweep' roamed the streets

The Dutch were famous, or infamous, for their cleanliness.

A major in the Dutch administration was well known for roaming the streets of Malacca at night and fining those who broke the rules on garbage.

"He rode every night and should he catch sight of the least bit of rubbish near peopleís houses, he would fine them 10 or 12 rupees.

"If there were a dead fowl or rat in the street in front of a house, the owner would be fined 12 rupees. Furthermore, if any sailor in the native vessels should throw anything overboard, they would be sent to jail."

So says the English version of the book Hikayat Abdullah written by scholar Munshi Abdullah Abdul Kadir.

Not surprising that the major was also known as 'Mr Sweep'.

Abdullah, who lived between 1796 and 1854, related that locals would run into their homes as fast as possible to avoid being fined.

Abdullah is regarded as one of the founders of modern Malay literature.

Of Tamil and Arab descent, he was born in Kampung Pali (also known as Kampung Masjid) Malacca, on Aug 12, 1796.

His father, Sheikh Abdul Kadir, worked for the Dutch harbour master near Kampung Pali.

The English translation of Munshi Abdullahís accounts was produced in a 2001 project paper called "Dutch Malakka" which gave a comprehensive study of the history of the Dutch rule in Malacca.

The paper, presented during an exhibition of the same title, also discussed how the Dutch and Malay languages were used often during the 185 years of Dutch rule.

Some Malay words used by the Dutch include acar (pickled vegetables), ayam (chicken), bali (counter), kelapa (coconut) and sarong (a kind of wrap).

Some old Dutch words that occur in Malay include gaji (salary), gabenor (governor) and tas (bag).


Image: The Stadthuys building was the Dutch governorís residence. But it was also used as a secretary office, prayer room, dining room, a guesthouse, servantsí quarters, the chief merchantís house, a prison, trade office, warehouses and a bakery.
The Stadthuys building was the Dutch governorís residence. But it was also used as a secretary office, prayer room, dining room, a guesthouse, servantsí quarters, the chief merchantís house, a prison, trade office, warehouses and a bakery.


Share this article with others:

eKudos (NL) NuJIJ (NL) TagMos (NL) Google Yahoo My Web del.icio.us StumbleUpon Technorati Digg Facebook Reddit Furl
-

Most recent articles:

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
-