Bukit Cina

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In the Cemetery on Bukit Cina

Bukit Cina (Malay: "Chinese Hill") is a hillside of historical significance in the capital of Malaysian state of Malacca, Malacca Town. It is located several kilometers to the north from the historical center of Malacca (Dutch town and Chinatown), but these days, it's surrounded by the modern city on all sides.

History[edit]

In the garden of the San Poh Teng Temple. The memorial in the back honors the local Chinese residents who perished during WWII

According to the local tradition, in the mid-15th century, Hang Li Po was sent to be married to the sultan of Malacca, Sultan Mansor Shah, to seal relations between the two countries. The hill, Bukit Cina, a gift from the sultan, was established as their residence. Marine archeology of a shipwreck (Royal Nanhai wreck from about 1460 AD) suggested royal gifts from China, shipped during Sultan Mansor Shah's reign [1] [2].

The Well of Hang Li Po, which is next to the San Poh Teng Temple) (also known as Sam Po Kong Temple) at the foot of the hill (2°11′48″N 102°15′22″E / 2.1966°N 102.2562°E / 2.1966; 102.2562), was constructed by Hang Li Po's followers for her personal use but was also an important source of water for much of the town. It was also a prime target for opposition forces, which either poisoned it or tried to hold it for their own use. It was reputed never to have dried up even during droughts. Today, the well has acquired the reputation of a wishing well and it is believed that anyone who throws a coin into the well will return to Malacca.

Fragment of the decor of the Sam Poh Teng Temple, located at the foot of the hill

Bukit Cina and two adjoining hills today form a Chinese graveyard covering over 250,000 square metres. With over 12,000 graves, some of which date to the Ming Dynasty, it is said to be the largest Chinese graveyard outside China.

Admiral Cheng Ho's Seven Dragon Wells[edit]

A well-kept, but otherwise typical grave

Admiral Cheng Ho's Seven Wells lie in the foot of the Bukit China, beside the Sam Poh Teng Temple. These wells were dug by Admiral Cheng Ho's Expeditionary Naval Force during their stopover in Melaka during the Ming Dynasty. Bukit China was chosen by the Admiral to be used as the base for his expeditionary force. The Seven Wells are also known as the Dragon's wells according to Feng Shui principles. The local government bulldozed some of these wells during the 50-60s on the excuse of road building. To-date only three wells are left intact and they have never been dried even in the worst of draught.

The Admiral's naval visit is recorded in verified Chinese history as compared to the fabled lore of Hang Li Poh's wells. Admiral Zheng He (Cheng Ho) under the orders of Emperor Yongle, escorted Princess Hang Li Poh to be wed to Sultan Mansor Shah, in the 15th century. As a gift to Hang Li Poh and the Chinese settlers in Bukit Cina, Admiral Zheng He (Cheng Ho), dug seven wells, which is better known as the "Hang Li Poh's well".

Due to the political and racial tension in the country since 2008, several rumors and disagreement regarding the history of the seven wells and also the existence of Hang Li Poh herself arose.[1] This has contributed to many accusation being thrown to the local government by various NGOs and the opposition as the culprit of making the Malay history more colorful using it as a propaganda tool to gain support from the Chinese community.

However, the accusation by certain parties that the historical details of Admiral Zheng He's Expeditionary Naval Force puts the Malay kingdom's sovereignty in a bad light, appeared to be questionable as it is well recorded that Zheng He, who voyaged to Malacca several times, did establish a regional headquarters in Malacca in the 15th century to conduct regional diplomatic and entrepot activities in Southeast Asia due to the close relation between the emperor of China and the kingdom of Malacca as well as the importance of Malacca as an entrepot in Southeast Asia.[2]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Suddenly what was history is now fiction, http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/186895
  2. ^ Cheng Ho and Islam in Southeast Asia, Tan Ta Sen, Dasheng Chen, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Oct 19, 2009 - 291 pages

Notations[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 2°12′00″N 102°15′28″E / 2.2000°N 102.2577°E / 2.2000; 102.2577