Monday, January 24, 2011

Travel without a Guide Book - Thomas

This is Thomas, my second guide to Melaka

Perhaps I ate the toast the wrong way. The man at the next table had his feet up and dunked buttered toast into milky tea. He looked very cosy, anyway, the toast was ok but not fulling enough, so I ordered some minced pork noodles from a guy called Thomas.

I liked himself straight away as he continued to chat in Chinese while I ordered breakfast. He also agreed to answer some questions after I'd finished breakfast.

Thomas, originally from Kuala Lumpur, has been retired for 15 years and now lives most of the time in Malaka but still also has a house in KL. He runs a small noodle stall at a coffee shop with his wife.

Thomas "It's more relaxing in Melaka, free time is concentrated into coffee shops as there's not much in the way of nightlife."

Me "What's do you enjoy about Melaka?'

Thomas "There's more good than not good. The people are friendier, you spend less and the races mix much more. Here, you always see Indians in Chinese places and Malay in Indian places and so on."

Me "Why does that happen more here?"

Thomas "I think it's because the communities are smaller here. In KL they all have big communities, so there's less need to go outside their community but here, because the communities are smaller, people mix more."

Thomas next to his noodle stall - food's very cheap here

Thomas really liked his life in Melaka. He recommanded that I should go to the Cheng Hoon Teng Temple as its the oldest Chinese Temple in Southeast Asia.

Woman burning incense sticks - in the week of Guanyin's Birthday

At the Cheng Hoon Teng Temple, things were really busy. I talked to the woman (and her family) in the picture. She was here because on the following Tuesday was Guanyin's Birthday (the God of Mercy). She strongly recommend that I come here early on Tuesday morning.

Photos and memorial plaques for the dead

I meet another man called Thomas, and his family in the room with the memorial plaques for the dead. He had come to pay respect to his dead relatives. This place in the temple is replacing traditional Chinese graves as they're cheaper and they don't take up so much land. Thomas brought his young children with him so that they can learn more about their culture.

Birds being released at the Temple

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