Some of the early Malay Shoplot…
Before we had Jusco, Mahkota Parade, Tesco and Carrefour in Malacca, when I was small, Kampong Jawa is the famous spot for shopping at reasonable price. We can get almost everything here from clothing,shoes,specialty food,groceries,get a hair cut and furniture. Although the name is ‘Kampung Jawa’ or Java Village in English, there is no real kampung here only old shop houses and no Java ethnic really live here. The population is 90% Chinese and mainly traders.
Why Kampung Jawa or Campong Java or Java village? the history will turn us back hundred years ago in Dutch and British era. In fact, Emanuel Godinho de Eredia a Portuguese in 16 century in his map Planta da Cidade e Povoacoens de Malacca, locates Campon Jaio – a Portuguese Malacca’s Javanese Settlement. This early Kampung Jawa was at the river bank where now there is Kampung Jawa pedestrian bridge. This early Java settler also doing trading mainly fish and foodstuff . The Java ethnic has a long history with Dutch and Dutch known them very well and usually they were employed by the Dutch colonial such as ship crew.
All this Chinese shop are now 3rd to 4th generation owner…
The need for better town and urbanisation making them move away from the town center. From the late 18 century, Kampung Jawa was forced to changed in response to the needs of a larger population coming in. This old shop lots we seeing now begin in 1885, brick and mortar buildings replacing wooden and attap(a roof made from palm tree) houses. The move was being pioneered by Chinese trader and businessman name Tan Hoon Guan. Read Article from Lim Huck Chin and Fernando Jorge (2006) – Malacca : Voices from the Street for more in depth story of this Campong Java / Java Lane in Melaka.
Im my childhood, when come to school season after a long break, we must go to Kampung Jawa to buy school stuff. We can find a good bargain and there were a lot of choices too!. The price here are not fixed and you must keep bargaining till the price is reasonable. Then come the festive season like Eid-ul-fitr, mom will find fabrics for the new curtain and women clothing. New trend fabric will come from this lane. Chinese businessman here seems to know what the community especially the Malays want. They also made all preparation and accessories for Malay weeding here. Till now, Kampung Jawa is the favorite spot for couples to find their marriage items.
Still practice the old style – Gillette blade and ear dewaxing.
It’s a hawker’s street. Street food are around here, from local cakes, slices fruit, fried items and cendol. All have multi racial Identity – Malay Cendol, Chinese Yong Tau Fu and Indian Rojak. Please be seated in the big umbrella enjoying your food the Malaysian way.
We can say Kampung Jawa can start from Jalan Pasar Baru, Jalan Kee Ann and Jalan Bunga Raya. There is one hotel that really close to all this street – Mimosa hotel. A 2-3 star hotel and located at center of all this old lane. Suitable for those preferring to enjoy Melaka experience on foot. From Mimosa hotel you can walk to Kampung Jawa, Jonker Street, Along Melaka River till Banda Hilir.
Pedestrian bridge that link Kampung Jawa to other side of the town, try ask the locals – are they seeing ghost around here?
Now the youngsters did not really go shopping here as they are likely go to new Shopping complex that offer them more modern fashion. Also they don’t really know the art of negotiating the price when buying things at Kampung Jawa. Better they go to Shopping Mall with fixed price, just pick and buy. When they want to get married, then they realize that Kampung Jawa Exist. Kampung Jawa still hold the history of early modern architect of Malacca and it’s situated in buffer area of UNESCO world heritage city and will be preserved.
Map of Kampung Jawa.
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