Thursday, December 17, 2015

Me Like-a Malacca, Malaysia

Malacca, Malaysia is a lot of things. It is a state in the southern part of the country. It is a UNESCO world heritage site known as the 'Historic City' and celebrated for its well-preserved architecture. It is a former prime trading post that exchanged hands between the Portuguese, Dutch and British. It is the source of one of the more bizarre origin stories I've ever heard. It is sometimes spelled Melaka, don't ask me why. It is home to a large population of Baba Nyonya, or Peranakan Chinese, partly as a result of a 15th century Chinese Emperor's daughter who was married off to a Malay Sultan. She brought along with her 500 attendants, who themselves ended up marrying Malays and Indian traders, creating a hybrid culture also referred to as the Straits Chinese. It is an artsy town with a rich abundance of small galleries and antique shops. It is almost certainly the set of a Quentin Tarantino film. I can not find any publications to substantiate this, even Wikipedia is notably silent on the topic, but I know what I saw.

Take the principal means of tourist transportation. Located primarily around Dutch Square, you will find a battalion of brightly decorated tricycles.  They are more than simple conveyances, they are mini-mobile works of art with a couple of dominant themes that repeat themselves in all this garish accoutrements.  These motifs are (in no particular order):  Hello Kitty, Frozen and some blue cat-like thing that I have never heard of.  Most are equipped with speakers and have made some demonic pact that requires them, regardless of decor, to play "Let It Go" on an endless loop. I never personally witnessed any of them involved in a slow-motion drive by shooting, but you know how Quentin is. He likes to spring these things on the viewer when you least expect them.