14 January 2013: “Malacca, Voices from the Street”

“We began by listening to the voices of ordinary Malaccans. We listened to the city’s streets, as we searched out hidden corners and abandoned alleyways. Listened to houses and temples, ruins and cemeteries… And we heard them speak.”
Excerpt from the book

In the early 1400s, a small port on the west side of Malaysia was waking up to what would be a long, colourful, and at times violent history. Over the course of its over 600-year-old legacy, the port town changed hands over and over, morphing from Muslim Sultanate into Portuguese property; from Dutch trading post, into British Colony, and eventually into a small state of independent Malaysia. But while the rulers changed, the name stayed the same: this was Malacca. In 2000, two authors travelled to this famous city to begin an inventory of the entire city. They set out to trace the city’s history by documenting all of the places, people, and things that make Malacca so singular. Five years later, they published their end product. Malacca: voices from the street expertly depicts the city’s historical legacy, as illustrated by its present-day remnants.

Over 350 pages long and inclusive of 200+ colour photographs, Malacca leaves nothing of the city’s history untouched. With each of the twenty chapters covering a single street, from Jonker Street to Tranquerah Road, the authors give their readership an intimate glimpse into what life was like in the past, and what it has become today. Unfortunately, as with many celebrated cities, the story of Malacca (now spelt Melaka) is not all good. Although much has been preserved, much has been destroyed as well, in the name of consumerism and modernization. Many of the featured locales photographed in the book have already been demolished in the last decade alone. But, Malacca shows that the spirit of this famed port town lives on. The authors call their work a ‘gift to the city'; by sharing their thorough knowledge of Melaka, they hope that others, like themselves, will cherish and preserve the city and its streets.

Malacca is on sale for RM 198. Please click here for more information, or to purchase.