Malacca Day 2: Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum, Maritime Museum, And Spotting Street Art
The two main reasons why I wanted to visit Malacca was to see the street art and learn more about their history. For our second day in the city, we did just that. First, my friend and I had breakfast at a small bubble tea shop in Jonker Street. I had egg tarts and a cup of matcha milk tea. It wasn't exactly a proper meal but it had to do.
After breakfast, we went to the Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum. The museum was a townhouse acquired by the Chan family. Inside the house, tons of old furniture, clothes, and other memorabilia of the family from the late 19th-century and early 20th-century were on display. Taking pictures was only allowed outside of the museum and in the lobby area. If you want to check it out, you can do a quick Google Image search about the place.
They give so much attention to detail! The designs on the sides of the frame and the chairs are flowers made out of mother of pearls!
It was so interesting to see how they lived before. Baba is what they call a Straits-born gentleman and Nyonya is what they call a Straits-born lady. The Nyonyas of the house has very traditional duties like cooking and cleaning — things that I believe shouldn't just be the duty of a woman anymore, but also of a man. Right? Lol we're diving into a different topic now haha!
What amazed me the most was the design of their furniture and of the house itself. They even have a courtyard in the middle of the house to let the cool breeze in. Their furniture has intricate beautiful designs and most of them are made out of mother of pearls. It boggles my mind how much time, energy, and creativity was spent on just one piece of furniture.
Two things that weirded me out: one, was their tradition of letting a young boy roll back and forth on a newly-wed couple's bed before they consummate their marriage. They do this in hopes that the couple's first born will be a boy. Two, the bride and groom will never meet before their wedding. The ceremony is the very first time that they'll see each other! It's a bit weird marrying a total stranger but that's how they lived before.
L -Egg tarts and matcha milk tea but I don't know why it's not green!?
R - Satti, rice balls, and grape-flavored Fanta!
We walked around Jonker Street after the museum to check out the shops that were open. There are a lot of boutiques (both selling new and vintage items), restaurants, souvenir shops and cafes in this area and its neighboring streets.
For lunch, we had satti or satay. It's basically sticks of grilled meat (chicken, beef, pork, etc) with a plate of spicy peanut-y (lol) sauce. It's a common food in Malaysia and in some parts of Zamboanga (in the Philippines) as well. You guys, it was so freakin' good. Recalling my experience right now makes me wish I could teleport back to Malaysia or at least in Zamboanga so I can have some of it again.
After taking a break in our AirBNB, we headed to the Maritime Museum. The museum is a replica of a Portuguese ship called Flora de Lamar. It houses artifacts, replicas, and paintings of the different eras. Most of the ones on display illustrated the Dutch era, Portuguese era, and the British era.
Malacca was a popular trading port back in the day because of its location. People from all over the world, including natives from the Philippines, used to sail to Malacca to do business. Like the Philippines, they were also colonized by different countries. That's why it's a bit weird for me at first to be in a Malaysian city with churches like the St. Paul's Church and the Church of St. Francis Xavier and buildings with European architecture like the Stadthuys (it was built by the Dutch).
If you want to read more about Malacca's rich history, you can start by reading this Wikipedia article.
We walked around Jonker Street again, trying to look for street art. These photos were taken in Jalan Kampung Hulu. It's a small alleyway with several interesting and pretty street art. I was cursing myself in my head for bringing my wide lens with me. Some of them are best photographed not with a 35mm prime lens haha.
There are actually a lot of street art all around Malacca. There are shophouses that have quirky and colorful art on their doors or wooden shutters. If only we had the luxury of time to visit them all, we would have done it already. Maybe next time! 😉
If you're planning to go to Malacca and do some street art spotting, this blog post is a great guide.
It's nice to know that there are tons of insanely talented and creative people in Malacca. Almost everyone here must be an artist. In the days I've spent here, I've noticed that people try to maintain the traditional look of their establishments (especially the shop houses, they have distinctive look!) but put little twists here and there. May it be doors with interesting art or brightly colored walls with contrasting colors of flowers — there's always something different that you can't see in other places.
Malacca's charm is definitely something I can't compare with anything. If given the chance to visit again, I won't think twice. I'd come back in a heartbeat!
This is the last post about the beautiful city of Malacca. Next up, Kuala Lumpur! It'll be up soon ✌