[Singapore Literature]

Chinese Buildings in Malacca (Melaka): Clan and Region Associations

(Click on the pictures to obtain larger images, which take longer to download.) Photographs George P. Landow and Ruth M. Landow. Images may be used without written permission for any educational purpose. Any commercial or other use requires prior written permission.

According to a marble tablet inside this handsome structure housing the Eng Chen Boon Association at 122 Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock, this benevolent association preserved Bukit China, the Chinese cemetery, by working out an exchange of land that prevented the British authorities from displacing it. More recently, the association has supported schools and libraries. Although a plaque at the right of the entrance indicates that the building was constructed in 1800, the much more detailed history at the left points out that no early records of the association exist and the structure dates from sometime in the early nineteenth century, was renovated in 1875, and restored again in 1949.

(Left) Turning left as we left the Hotel Puri, which occupies a restored Peranakan mansion, we walked a hundred feet or so and encountered the tightly shut Eng Chen Boon Association, which didn't look very preposessing in the grey drizzle. (Middle Left) A few days later on a brighter, drier day, the building appeared far more impressive, particularly when one could look within. (Middle Right) Stepping a few feet inside the doorway, one has a better view of the altar; the bright area on the floor is caused by a large opening in the roof, for like the Peranakan mansions along Millionaires Row, it opens parts of its long, narrow structure to the sky, thus obtaining ventilation and rainwater. (Right) The altar.

(Left) Looking back toward the street from within the hall shows the roof opening. (Middle) The exquisitely carved and painted dragons on the roof. (Right) A painted stucco dragon at the right of the entrance (as one enters).

(Left) A sign immediately inside the front entrance. This detail shows the colors of the ceiling -- an unexpected white and green. (Middle) Another such association a street or two away: the Hokkien Huan Kuan building at 25, Jonkers Street (Jalan Hang Jebat). (Right) Details of the doors and pillars.

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