- 2008/08/22 City of history comes alive

It was a grand celebration befitting a historic occasion when Malacca kicked off month-long festivities to mark the city's inscription as a world heritage site.

Thousand of locals and tourists made their way to the renowned 17th Century Dutch Stadhuys complex as early as 7.30pm on August 1 to get a good spot to witness the celebration.

The site at the former civic centre was aptly selected as it is in the heart of the state's heritage zone.


Image: Trishaw riders on beautifully-decorated trishaws transporting celebration participants
Trishaw riders on beautifully-decorated trishaws transporting celebration participants.


The four-hour event kicked off with Malacca Governor Tun Mohd Khalil Yaakob and Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam and dignitaries arriving by boat after a cruise on Malacca River from Herbal Park in Jalan Taming Sari.

The guests were treated to a colourful opening presentation of dances in unison with a catchy dondang sayang tune followed by an array of traditional performances.

In line with the Everlasting Living Heritage theme, the city showcased the unique communities in Malacca via the performances.


Image: A troupe showing off its lion-dance skills
A troupe showing off its lion-dance skills.


Those present were thrilled by cultural troupes representing the Malay, Chinese, Indian, Peranakan, Chitty, Portuguese and orang asli communities.

On show were traditional craft connected with the state's heritage including clothing, beaded shoes, metal utensils, rattan products and wooden clogs.

On parade were the renowned Malacca bullock carts and decorated trishaws.

Included in the festivity were a spectacular Chinese yo-yo performance, classical Indian dances, lion dances, 24-season Chinese drum performance, mak yong and pocoh pocoh dance performances by officers of the Malacca tourist police unit.

The night ended with a blast with guests being invited to take part in street dancing under the backdrop of a 15-minute fireworks display.


Image: A spectacular Chinese yo-yo performance by a group of primary school children in front of St Francis Xavier church
A spectacular Chinese yo-yo performance by a group of primary school children in front of St Francis Xavier church.


Irish tourists Linsey Hughes, 22, and Linda Irwin, 21, said they were lucky to witness the celebration.

"We found out about the celebration from friends and it is amazing to be among the thousands here tonight," said Hughes, adding that Malacca was their last stop in the country before they headed home for Ireland.

Joining the revellers was Kevin Lim, 27, who said he was proud to be a Malaccan as the city was now recognised worldwide.

Lim said he was also proud his clan was able to show off its martial arts during the parade.

"We usually perform during Chinese celebrations. However, we are here tonight to show everyone that we are part of Malaysia's cultural diversity," he said.

Earlier, Mohd Khalil read out the declaration proclaiming the city as a world heritage site and presented a scroll of its new status to Malacca mayor Yusof Jantan.

Present to witness the event was Malaysia Book of Records managing director Datuk Danny Ooi who presented the Chief Minister with a certificate to certify that Malacca was the first city in Malaysia to have made it into the World Heritage Site listing.

The month-long celebration will include activities such as a traditional food festival, the Amazing Fire on Water performance and other cultural activities.

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