An Ancestral House. On Jalan Tan Cheng Lock, formerly Heeren Street, most of the houses were once occupied by Peranakan Chinese. By the 1980s with Malacca fast becoming a tourist destination, many residents began to move out of their houses that were located within the heritage quarters.
For some families on Heeren Street, if they could afford the upkeep, their homes were kept solely as Ancestral Houses, with family members returning during specific occasions such as Chinese New Year or birth or death anniversaries of the deceased patriarch or matriarch to pay their respects.
The practice of keeping ancestral tablets in a homestead is not unique to the Peranakan Chinese community, and is a shared practice in many Asian communities. It is a repository that helps families remember their roots, heritage and ancestry.
About the Authors: Melissa Chan is a ﬁfth generation Peranakan Chinese. Having spent ten years in advertising, she was determined to spend the rest of her life on a more meaningful career path. The journey of discovering roots, family and culture has been a God-given opportunity. Melissa co-authors this collection of stories with her father Henry Chan Kim Cheng, who grew up in the house.
Henry is a retired architect. At 84 years of age, he now enjoys playing golf, going on holidays, and mentoring the next generation of family members to run the operations of the Baba 8r Nyonya Heritage Museum, which was opened by his eldest brother Chan Kim Lay, together with Harry Chan Kim Tee and Harold Chan Kim Sinn.
The book’s illustrator, Preethi Nair, is fourth generation Peranakan Chinese from her mother’s side and Indian on her father’s side, which makes her a true-blue Malaysian. She illustrates this book in honour of her ancestry and hometown Malacca.