It appears that the Portuguese Settlement committee is not giving much attention to tourist attractions in the village and this is worrying some residents and tourists. They fear that the village may lose its shine as a tourist spot in historical Malacca.
The 10-year-old village entrance arch was removed early last year and has not been replaced. For decades, arches have been welcoming visitors to the 79-year-old heritage village and effectively displayed the various village festivals taking place.
The beautiful arch was also an attraction to everyone and it marked the village boundary. Without it, the entrance looks “naked”.
The Village Bell, which was donated from Portugal in memory of two missionary priests who founded the Portuguese settlement, was also removed last year for repair. However, when it was discovered that it was beyond repair, the leaders did not reinstall it and the monument now looks bare with only the plaque.
The bell bears an inscription which reads: “Sacred to the memory of the founding of the Portuguese settlement in 1930 – Rev Fr.A. S. Coroada from Portugal and Rev. Fr. J.R. Francois from France. Presented by the Colouste Gulbenkian Foundation.”
The bell also served another useful purpose for the 1,200 villagers.
It has been used to convey good and bad news by ringing the bell at different rhythms for Sunday catechism class, arrival of VIPs, death of a resident, etc. ever since it was blessed and installed in November, 1985.
Now without the bell, they have gone back to what they did before 1985, using a rusty car rim and striking it with an iron rod to sound the messages.
It is important that the bell be reinstalled at the bell monument otherwise it may be regarded as an insult to the memory of the priests and to the donors. It must be remembered that the bell has a story to tell and is part of the village history.
The village should go further and show the world the founders by highlighting them in a signage which could be displayed at the square entrance and at the food court.
The leaders should also build a signage to indicate the founding date of the village. There is also a need for a suggestion box.
S.T. Rajagopal, Kuala Lumpur NST Home Opinion 15 Jan 2015