- 2009/08/21 Eurasian association relive history on Merdeka

The year was 1509. A few large ships, which had never been seen in the port city of Malacca, dropped anchor and strange-looking men in , all strange looking and wearing unfamiliar clothing, came ashore.

According to the history books, this was the first landing by the Portuguese fleet, led by Diego Lopez de Sequiera, in Malacca on Sept 11, 1509 — making them the first Europeans to visit this part of the globe.

At the time, Malacca's port was frequented by a multitude of ships and merchants from all over Asia, including from Arab, Persia, China, India, Japan, Ceylon, Bengal and the Indonesian archipelago.

However, the expedition by de Sequiera, who came to Malacca on the orders of the Portuguese king who wanted to establish trade ties, turned into a disaster when some members of the fleet were taken prisoners. And as we know from the history books, on June 1511, Alfonso de Albuquerque led a Portuguese armada to conquer Malacca. He also demanded that the prisoners be released.

On Aug 24, 1511, de Albuquerque’s army captured Malacca and overthrew the Sultanate.

He also ordered the construction of a massive fortress south of the river, part of which still remained today and is popularly known as A’Famosa. The Portuguese ruled Malacca for 130 years until the arrival of the Dutch in 1641.

Five hundred years later, a gala event has been planned by the Portuguese community here to mark the historic occasion.

The Malacca Portuguese-Eurasian Association (MPEA) is organising a dinner, dance and cultural show on Aug 30 at Pay Fong High School Hall in Jalan Kubu.

MPEA president, Michael Singho, said the event would begin at 7pm. At the stroke of midnight and at the end of the Merdeka countdown, Negaraku, will be sung right after the Merdeka countdown.

"Dinner guests will be entertained with a host of performances, led by local Portuguese cultural icons, Senhor Noel Felix and Senhor 'Papa Joe' Lazaroo, traditional and folk dance troupes, child artistes and other cultural performances.

"There will also be a Michael Jackson impersonator as well as performances by the bands Os Pombos and Blister," he said.

MPEA, Singho said, is targeting to raise RM50,000 for the association's educational and cultural programmes.

"There will be an award ceremony, wherein the 'Flor' (a trophy in the shape of the 16th century Portuguese ship Flor De La Mar or Flower Of The Seas) will be given to individuals or groups who have contributed significantly to the community as well as those who have excelled in their respective fields.

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