On my last day in Malaysia, I decided to catch a bus from Melaka to a nearby village, simply known as the Portuguese Village. After seeing the Dutch, British, Chinese and Indian influences on Malaysia, I thought it would be interesting to see this small seaside town.
It was clear on my walk into the village that the community has a lot of pride in their Portuguese heritage and contributions to Malaysia. There were information signs on each corner telling a little of the history of the Portuguese in this region. The signs were even made to look like Portuguese ceramic tiles you find all over Portugal.
The village itself is only a few blocks long with many low houses on each street. Kids were riding bikes and families were sitting in their front patios enjoying the afternoon. Each home had a patio that was set up like a living room.
As I rounded a corner to head towards one of the fish stalls on the shore, I heard a man call out a friendly hello. “Are you Portuguese?” he asked. “No, but I speak Portuguese,” I replied.
That led to an invitation to sit outside his small store and chat for the next hour. It turns out this man ran the small museum in town and was an expert in the history of the village. We spoke in a combination of Brazilian Portuguese, Malaysian Portuguese, and English.
I learned about his family (four children, six grandchildren), life in the village, the multicultural society of Malaysia, and his thoughts on the Malaysian teens stopping by his store on their loud motorbikes. (“The young people make their bikes loud on purpose. Why?”) Best of all, I was serenaded with three songs, a Portuguese fado song, a Brazilian song and a Portuguese Malaysian song. It was a pleasure to hear the pride in his heritage come through in his voice as he sang and explained each song.
I eventually did make it to the fish stall overlooking the bay and had a real Portuguese meal in Malaysia. On the way out of town, the local Catholic priest was leading a procession of parishioners as they held candles and recited prayers. I could have been in Portugal.
November 29, 2016 at 05:55
November 29, 2016 at 08:00
When I read about your adventure…..I sit back and think, well I walked the dog, did some laundry, avoided the news and suddenly, I have a moment of adventure reading your blog 🙂 Thanks!
December 1, 2016 at 21:04
Glad to be of service!
November 29, 2016 at 08:42
All of your travels/adventures leading up to this amazing one have certainly paid off! I love how you send off a “vibe” that makes people want to sit with you, talk to you at length and allow you into their worlds. You’re a pretty awesome person Tim Flanagan!!
December 1, 2016 at 21:05
Aw . . . shucks.
November 29, 2016 at 14:18
Hi, what a lovely village and I agree with your other friend’s comments. You do have a way with you and have brighten my nasty, freezing day, and makes me thankful our warm house. I love reading your blogs. I am learning about many new things from them; how much I retain is another story.
December 1, 2016 at 21:06
I miss sitting by the wood stove, but not hauling the wood inside, cleaning the stove, paying for the wood, and the cold!
November 30, 2016 at 19:52
I still can’t believe you are on all these adventures! What a beautiful place. It is wonderful to see the pride they all have in their culture. You are on an amazing journey Tim!
December 1, 2016 at 21:08
Thanks, Deidre. Glad you’re following along.
Anthony & Jean
December 2, 2016 at 02:20
Tim, your writing brings your adventures to life. You are making Anthony and I eager for our next round of travels and definitely wanting to include Vietnam!
December 5, 2016 at 20:08
Glad to be of help. It’s always fun planning the next trip.
December 14, 2016 at 19:19
I love learning about the cultural differences.
December 16, 2016 at 06:38