Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Dutch Graveyard - Old but So Tiny! @ Malacca [Malaysia]

The original intention was to explore what was said to be the largest Chinese cemetery outside of China but as expected, the Gang of Four spent too much time on food!!! 

I had to make do with the Dutch graveyard located in the epicentre of Melaka's main area of attractions, where Jonker Street and the historical Stadthuys are located. 

Excitement kind of died down when i saw this; it might have a history spanning over three centuries yet the graveyard was only as big as four five-room flats in Singapore! 

Yes yes yes, there was generally no conformity in design and shape for the graves and tombs; usually an attractive reason for me to visit the cemeteries. However, having everything painted in white was a visual boredom. 

Just to show you a few tombs to prove my point. 

Now's the time to give you some dry history of this graveyard. It was first started in 1670 and the last burial was in 1838 when Singapore was merely founded by Sir Stamford Raffles for less than two decades. 

As many Southeast Asia history students are aware, Malacca was first colonised by the Portuguese in 1511 followed by the Dutch in 1624 and finally by the British in 1795 (cessation from the Dutch was officially confirmed at the signing of the Anglo Dutch treaty in 1824). The 38 occupants of the cemetery were therefore a mix of both Dutch and British nationalities.

Despite the emphasis of Dutch in the name of this graveyard, the majority of the deceased (33 in total) were British and they were buried between 1818 and 1838. 

The oldest grave obviously had to be Dutch and belonged to a Ms Anna Raynierse Van Schoon-Hoven who passed away in 28 November 1670 at the tender age of only 27 years old. 

There was a hole in between two graves and i was so tempted to check it out! The presence of the others meant i had to rein in my curiousity which was not a bad option in a foreign country. 

With apartments in such close proximity, i doubt there would be much paranormal activity. 

Nonetheless, this half dead tree might evoke some imagination at night - imagine hearing someone crying pitifully in the middle of the night and seeing a shadow half hidden by the tree trunk....

Anyway, you can read some of the information off this display panel erected by the British Association for Cemeteries in South Asia.

What's more enlightening was this map that clearly showed the number of graves and names of the corresponding 'residents', if available.

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Location
As above [near to the famous Stadthuys]

Additional Information
Worth the walk? Only if you are a history or cemetery freak. 

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