I dislike going to Portuguese Settlement in Melaka for the obvious reason. The last few visit I had (even way back during my school days), I have always been mistaken as a Serani or Eurasian. Having a name like Lily doesn't help either. There was one time, I need to produce my ID to proof them my surname which is pure Malay descendant. Still, they insisted that maybe my grandparents or great grandparents were Eurasian. Hence, I will stay in the car when my friends visited the famous bridge or titi there or watch ikan tembakul/belacak (mudskipper fish).
And my mind was changed.
Today, I learn about Kristang. Something I never knew or took for granted, like most Malaysian.
During my recent to Melaka, I was brought to the Portuguese Settlement, a place where I have always acted nonchalantly of. I feel and think I knew it all, as every students in Malaysia learn about Portuguese occupy Tanah Melayu hence the birth of Serani or Eurasian. And our so called 'knowledge' stops there. Yes, embarrassing indeed. I admit.
An original Portuguese home of Nicholas Loboo at Jalan D’Aranjo.
So today, I get to learn about their culture, their history, their life and not about them occupying Tanah Melayu. About how they assimilate with the locals and became the locals. I learn about my friends, a Eurasian.
When the colonization of Melaka by the Portuguese in 1511, they; the explorer were encourage marry the locals in order to promote settlement thus the birth of Kristang. And with perseverance this Kristang community preserve their customs, culture, language and faith, this is seen when I found out that they still able to converse in their age old Kristang language and practices Roman Catholic.
Never did I know that there is a museum at Portuguese Settlement, browsing through their artifacts prove that there is a continuity of the Kristang here in Melaka to their descendant in Portugal which largely reflects in their Portuguese name that they kept thus enabling them to trace back to their ancestor.
Jingli Nona; a folk dance in Branyo form is famous in Malaysia, known by all races. Devil Curry; an extremely spicy dish that it is said to be the devil incarnate. Festival, something a Kristang community in Melaka is nothing short, few famous ones garnered tourist attention; local and international alike. Here we will be able to witnessed Festa Senjuang or "Feast of Saint John" and “Festa San Pedro” festival (in honour of St Peter, the patron of fishermen), both celebrated in the month of June.
The Kristang or Serani or Eurasian are just like you and me, my kereta was from their carreta (car); my sekolah was their escola or school; my yummy keju, it's their yummy queijo (cheese); and of course and everyone's mouth watering nenas, is from their ananás, a word known all over the world; and some called it pineapple *smile*.
Now, I understand them more, appreciate them more and love them more.
A #VMY2014 #Melaka Media Fam Trip in collaboration with #GayaTravel