Today started as Kim and I took a walk around the neighbourhood. In Malaysia all the
surface water goes into open drains which are ever present wherever you go. Here these drains are taken as a matter of course, however in Canada they would be a source of great consternation, mainly from a safety standpoint. I do not deny that there is a definite safety aspect, especially since just a couple of months ago Cynthia fell into one and we were quite concerned about her possible head injuries (she is fine, with no problems other than a minor scar). After observing the way that they handle surface water here I am of the opinion that they have done an outstanding job. I am not an engineer but when I see how their system is designed, both in the cities and in the rural areas, I believe that a tremendous amount of water can be handled with little or no erosion. When I post my photos you will be able to see what I mean. As a note, when in Johor Bahru recently there were a few o-my-gosh rain storms, and the water just went away.
Off we went for breakfast with sister Hong, niece Stephanie and her daughter Eunice. Right on schedule we ran into another person that Kim knows at the coffee shop. Yesterday we ran into one of Kim’s friends at the supermarket. After a fine feed, we were leaving the area of the coffee shop and going past an Indian temple when we heard music and saw a crowd of people. Upon stopping to investigate we learned there was a wedding happening. We found a parking spot and joined the festivities for a while, taking a few photos and a bit of video. It is quite a long ceremony and we quietly moved along.
Later in the day Stephanie took us to see a special person. We visited Leong Ho Ming, the youngest sister of Kim’s mother. Auntie Ming lives on the banks of the river in Old Melaka where she has been more than forty years. It is a dilapidated area surrounded by new construction, including huge luxury hotels. The area is indicative of the nature of Old Melaka. A large number of buildings in disrepair, often vacant, and brand new construction, most seemingly directed to the tourism industry. And what do the tourists come to see? The ancient city of Melaka; the narrow streets are filled with tour buses. Seems a bit at cross purposes to me. Auntie Ming looked after Kim a great deal when she was young and there is a strong bond between them. This was very evident from the moment we walked into the house where she lives with her dependent 41 year old son, who has Down’s Syndrome.
When we arrived Auntie Ming had been sorting rice. After greetings were done, Kim sat down and sorted with her. For those who might ask, “Why are they sorting rice?”, when sold sticky rice is mixed with regular rice to make it last longer, then it is separated when it comes time to make sticky dumplings. It could be considered painstaking, however it becomes a social activity and a time of great conversations. And that is exactly what Kim and her Auntie were doing, having a great conversation while they happened to be sorting rice.
That evening, joined by Stephanie and her daughter, Cynthia and Henry, we were off to Jonker Walk, an area of Old Melaka famed for both its history and for its night market. We stopped at the Aik Cheong Coffee Company store. This very well known company was started by a cousin of Kim’s mother and is still family owned. It is one of the largest coffee companies in Malaysia and ship product around the world, including Canada There was of course introductions and greetings all round and a short but good visit.
Then off to explore Jonker Walk and the night market. It is hard to describe what a night market is like. There is all varieties of hawkers, with multiple selections of food, and there seems to be most anything for purchase from jewelry, to clothing, to cameras, to art work, to trinkets, to fruit & vegetables, to… well it just keeps on going. On Jonker Walk, some of the stores and galleries are open and have booths at their front entrance as well. There is also a karaoke stage with some darn good talent and always a crowd. On the whole it is a great time. There is a larger night market we will visit in a later post.
Yep, it was a busy day, I got tired just writing about it. Thanks for reading. More later.