Recently, my family was in Malacca. Although our visit was disrupted by rain and a horrendous traffic congestion in the town centre, we still had our fair share of fun when the clouds disappeared and the sun came out to play.
Here is one of the tourist sites I managed to visit while my family was preoccupied elsewhere around the old historical place in Malacca town: the Museum of History and Ethnography at the Stadthuys.
Stadthuys. Long have I pondered over the pronunciation of this word. "Stadt" is no problem with me. No matter how you say it, it comes out as "stud". But "huys" is actually pronounced as "haus" in the Dutch language, not "hoys" or "hoose" or "hoois", and Stadthuys is an old Dutch colonial word that means Town Hall.
Anyway, enough of pronunciation lessons for the day. So, I was inside the Stadthuys and I went wandering into this part of the building to get and know someone better. A salt of the sea type of fella Here's me with my new-found sailor friend, Mr Cheng:
"Don't call me Cheng Ho now," his look seemed to tell me. "It's Zheng He. I've got to change with the times and time dictates that I've to Pinyinise my name." Okay, okay.... Cheng, Zheng, it's the same with me. How's the outlook from up there, I enquired. Must be good because with a flip flap of his clothes, Zheng just stood back to gaze into the far distance. I turned around and ah-ha! No wonder he was so quiet. He's at peace with himself. This is what Zheng saw of the courtyard from his lofty point up there:
As for my perspective of the courtyard from ground level, I think it still looks peaceful. In this courtyard, you can be at peace with yourself, just as I was also at peace with myself, at least for the present.