Melaka is the new Malacca

By December 11, 20102010, Asia

What is this blog about Malaysia doing here amongst the Thais?
Short answer, when this blog was due, I was suffering from a sunburn.
[And I’m tardy.]

Now, I mean an equatorial sunburn. Not a Canadian beach sunburn.
Those who were there – you know…
For those who weren’t, let me tell you this:
yes, you can get cankles from a sunburn,
and yes they can keep you from walking for three days.

But I would not trade that sunburn for anything.
Why? Well let me share something I learnt that awfully hot day in Melaka
-and if you get nothing else from this entry, then that is fine –
THE BEST WAY TO ABSORB A HISTORY IS TO BE IN THAT PLACE.

Melaka was the port of destination of ships from England to Korea, from the 15th century onward; it was hailed the Venice of the East.

Today it is simply an industrial port city, with dirty beaches,
and  its historical significance is lost on people.

This maddens me.

How is it my colleagues and friends in Ontario do not know a thing about Melaka?
Do you, the reader, know a thing about Melaka?
I can never know for sure.

All I know is I stood in the waters of a beach on the Straits of Malacca –  in the same waters that moved along the traders of Iberia, Britain, the Low Countries, Arabia, India, China, Korea and Japan. And in that moment, the reality of what I had read of this city came to life; this was once a great place.

I think we can all honour the city’s legacy by at least recognising it’s name when it arises in conversation. It has a worthy legacy, and our own ancestral history could be linked to the trade that once happened there.

Amazing to think that the world was small even 500 years ago.

Liam

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