Sunday, January 1, 2012


By Mansor Puteh

I find it strange how the descendants of the Portuguese in Melaka living mostly in the Portuguese Settlement there, had 'celebrated' 24 August, 1511 as the day their ancestors first came to Melaka. It is also laughable for them to ignore the charity shown by the Malays in Melaka for allowing them to exist as an entity for so long, till today.

The fact that their early descendants had repented, after the Portuguese forces fell to the Dutch in 1641 and subsequently, Melaka and Malaysia became independent, by adopting Malays ways and styles had endeared them to the Malays then.

Unfortunately, when the country was under British rule, till 31 August, 1957, the Portuguese started to forget their close affinity with the Malays by adopting their language and culture; so much so that not many of the Portuguese today can speak in Malay as well as their grandparents could do before.

So it is not a surprise that there is no Portuguese in Melaka who is good in the 'pantun' recital anymore, the more they behave like Europeans and not as Eurasians that they were supposed to be.

The Portuguese elders in Melaka should be brave enough to admit that the Portuguese led by Alfonso d'Albuquerque had colonized Melaka and destroyed the Melaka Sultanate that day, forcing Sultan Mahmud Shah to flee to Kampar in Sumatera.

Although they had brought in their cultures and other practices which were incorporated into the Melayu culture, the truth must be told of how their descendants had caused untold damage to the Melaka Sultanate.

The first thing Alfonso did was to burn and destroy the palace of Sultan Mahmud which was on the Melaka Hill. He then burnt down the fist masjid built by Parameswara a.k.a. Megat Iskandar Shah in 1414 after he reverted to Islam.

The spot where the masjid was is now where the Christchurch which is in the Stadhuys complex in Melaka is.

Not done with that, Alfonso also destroyed the royal mausoleum of the rulers of Melaka including that of Megat Iskandar Shah, which is now where the graves of the Dutch notables are at, beside the replica of the palace of Sultan Mansur Shah is in Melaka.

It is also worth to note how with the fleeing of Sultan Mahmud Shah, the Sultanates of Perak and of Pahang could be created by the sons of Sultan Mahmud who were invited by the chieftains in the two states to be their rulers, who continue to do so till today.

And if Megat Iskandar Shah is said to be a direct descendant of Alexander the Great or Iskandar Zulkarnain, then one can assume that the royal families of Perak and Pahang are also descendants of Alexander the Great.

Alexander the Great had taken control much of Asia whose descendants had ruled India. They had sired offspring in India who were sent to each of the countries in Southeast Asia in order for these countries to be Hindu dominant.

And it was also how the Kingdom of Srivijaya centered in Palembang in Sumatera, Indonesia became Hindu and one of its princes called Parameswara or Prince Consort came to arrive in Melaka in 1411 to found a new state for himself which he named after a tree - the melaka tree.

Parameswara then reverted to Islam in 1414 in Pasai which is now in Aceh in Sumatera and married a local princess.

If not for the charity of the Melaka state government and of the Melayu in Melaka, the Portuguese community in the state would have been dispersed, if the Portuguese Settlement or Perkampungan Portugis had not been allowed to remain as it is today.

In fact, the Melaka state government has been charitable to them for giving them every opportunity to develop. And this is despite the fact that most of them had voted the opposition in many general elections.

Sadly, the contempt of the Portuguese on local authority which was first exhibited by their ancestors in the Sixteenth Century was still expressed by many of the descendants of the Portuguese.

Fortunately, this feeling was reversed in recent times as their community finally realized that their future hinges not on how Portuguese they could be, but how Melakan.

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