JONKER WALK, MELAKA ( 文化街或鸡场街 )
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A street in Chinatown with many antiques stores. On weekend nights the whole street is closed for
traffic and turns into a lively night market.

A visit to Malaysia without visiting Melaka would be incomplete for sure and visiting Melaka without visiting
its Jonker Street would be totally insane! This article attempts to give idea to the future visitors about the
background and ambiance of this living cultural museum!

In the heart of Melaka is a long narrow five hundred meter street flanked by old houses dating back to 17th
century. It was merely a row of shacks when it started on the Western bank of Melaka River. The servants and
subordinates of Dutch masters used to live at nearby Heeren Street. However, as soon as Dutch left, it
became noblemen's street! Rich Babas and Bibiks started to live and trade here giving the street a
deep-rooted ethnic and cultural flavor. Now officially named as Jalan Hang Jebat, it is popularly known as the
Jonker Walk. Due to availability of collectible items dating back to medieval times at many shops, it is also
referred as the Antique Street. Due to Chinese influences, its also referred as the China Town of Melaka.
During Dutch Period, it was known as rich men's street as rich Baba Nyonya had by that time established their
businesses here!
Whatever the name, it really appears to be a living museum and is a must-see place for anyone visiting Melaka. Every Friday, Saturday and
Sunday evenings, the street is closed for motor vehicles from 6 pm to midnight and roadside stalls are installed by street vendors selling gift
items and souvenirs for the visitors of Melaka.

As soon as visitor enters the Jonker Street, crossing over the Sungai Melaka (Melaka River) bridge on any evening of Friday, Saturday or
Sunday one would come across a show of Malaysian Chinese Physician, Ho Eng Hui. A banner, 'Malaysia Boleh' is set out at the place of
this show. He breaks one coconut chosen out of four set out in front of him with his one finger! or if you ask him, he would break it with his
elbow! But usually the audience would ask him to His name is entered in the Malaysia's Book of Records for breaking certain number of
coconuts with his one finger in a given time. First he would show all coconuts to the audience and ask someone at random to choose the
toughest one for him to break. He goes to audience and shows his index finger, bent cruelly from from previous coconut penetrations! He
shows audience a bottle of liquid that he claims eases pain and stimulates muscles.
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Many shops in Jonker Street run multiple businesses. They use one kind of business to boost another one. One can find shops selling
souvenirs and antiques at the front and running dessert shop at the back! One can find many aromatherapy and massage products as well.
Hand-printed clothes with colorful designs and patterns can be bought from shops selling clothing items. These are done by hands using wax
on fabrics. Price comparison would reveal that hand printed Batik is costlier than block-printed batik for the obvious reasons. Malays Kebaya
dress (blouse worn with Sarong) and Chinese costumes like Hokkien male attire Cheongsam and Kua can also be bought from shops here.


Another famous category of items sold are the lovely painted wooden and intricately beaded shoes. Beaded shoes are not cheap and often
beyond traveler's budget. Many ornamental items are also available here and there including items like bangles, anklets, earrings, decorative
hairpins, necklaces and brooches, mounted with colorful gemstones, etc.Beside these, one may also find many hair dresser's saloons,
acupuncture clinic, Chinese herb apothecaries, smithies and longitivity shops.

While walking on the Jonker street on weekends one can notice some places having Karaoke sessions, dancing classes, Chinese classical
instrumental shows and other like activities. These are arranged by various Chinese clan and dialect based associations e.g., Hainanese,
Teochew, Lwichiu and Hakka, etc. They also have longevity shops which sell Chinese funeral paraphernalia. One may notice many old and
retired people participating in dancing, singing, Karaoke and the like activities passing their free time in a healthy way. They also hold
calligraphy, musical recitals competitions as well as operas. During colonial period, these clan associations also provided refuge to those
Chinese immigrants in Melaka, who came here with neither any money nor any skill
.
Melaka
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