Blanketed by ambition and poised at the juncture of restless searching souls, Melaka is unlikely territory for heritage/cultural observations and simplified city-dwelling towers.
But defiant Melakans insist on having them, and then, once they are in place, eagerly get in line to ride up and have a look, in disdain… often comparing what is available with other localities e.g KL, Penang and Singapore.
Kiasu Melakans !
Move over Iskandar Malaysia, Melaka is fast becoming the city of choice for sophisticated investors drawn by its rich heritage sites, vibrant tourism industry and affordable cost of specialist healthcare.
Apart from the Hatten properties and Hatten City Shopping Strip the latest addition to this fairy lighted city’s soaring slew of buildings, dizzying Ferris wheels (in development) and skyscraper-tops is The Shore, which at 42 stories high, which holds the title as Melaka’s tallest free-standing tower. This Kerjaya project, annexed just outside the World Heritage center within the old riverine quarter of Melaka brings with it the promise to become an instant hot ticket for comfort, luxury and excellent F&B lifestyle in Melaka.
It is high enough for a head-clearing perspective of sprawling Melaka, old quarters and all, all the way to Batang Tiga and faraway Alor Gajah whose multiple suburban centers, odd block-based address system and reliance on highways, by ways and one –way thoroughfares often elicit confusion at ground level for drivers.
Another highly anticipated development will be the www.melakagateway.com.my -a multi billion development situated around the man made Pulau Melaka that aims to cater to the high end clientele. With annual visitor turnover hovering around the 15 million mark, this well planned and much anticipated proposed development aims to raise Malacca into one of the best niche tourism must visits of south east Asia.
Having been up and cosseted within the Swiss Garden Hotel’s top floor suite (which at 40 floors, is one of the top most buildings in Malacca today); for me, one surprise in the vantage point there is a sudden realization of how far distorted maps of Melaka depart from the geographic reality of actual Melaka hidden by clouds and the occasional smog from Indonesia- from a drivers point of view. Looked at from on top, the meandering Melaka river snakes its coils in and around the city center as if protecting its nest of pampered eggs as mother nature gives Melaccans its nurturing protection from the travails of the seasons.
The Sweet Life in Melaka
This upstart of a city really is immersed in the beauty of romantic irrationality and mystery given that just outside the coast line of dear old Melaka is the Big Island (Pulau Besar) which to all and sundry looks just like a pregnant damsel lying horizontally awaiting her world weary betrothed to come comfort her.
Throbbing with commerce and life, her shops and malls full of vibrancy and life on any given weekday and weekend morning, you may also find an animated crowd waiting patiently amongst the many touristic areas such as in Capitol satay in Bukit Cina or in Melaka Taming Sari Building (a revolving Tower) to buy tickets & ride up gasping at a rapidly ascending view - through clear windows in the round revolving Tower’s safety lift mechanism cum observation deck, pointed out landmarks keyed on satellite maps and once upon a time, the privileged view of birds of prey soaring high up along the coastline.
In retrospect just 20 years ago; circa 1998 Melaka was still identified as a sleepy hollow but with the will power of a forward looking administration she has clearly leapt high in modernizing herself whilst sustaining her ancestral heritage and glory.
Melaka is now regaining her yesteryear glory as a multicultural place of interest. This city thrives and purrs underneath the closeted alacrity of glass buildings and thorough fares running through her like so much veins of commerce throbbing with the life of industry. That is when you know the city has been able to demarcate the line between tradition, heritage saving and modern city living.
The move from township to city feels just right — at the peripheral limits of the Old Town a new city is given birth to; but still within the confines and limitations of her grand geography. Traffic streams by on nearby expressways in a blur of red and white light, the future Ferris wheel at the reclaimed waterfront cum entertainment complex near Taman Melaka Raya will whirl with its own bright display, and Melaka stands proud, glimmering beneath the illuminated Highway Bridge.
Traversing through this city these days gives one the experience of a sensational shopping scene whilst witnessing the happy fusion of history with modern everyday commerce, with exciting events available for the public amidst a city that gives assurance and peace of mind that you have security & safety for you and your treasured loved ones!
Melaka's new born ambiance seems to appeal to young lovers. Couples who appeared to be out on a date dominates the thin crowd on warm evenings. Clusters of lighted skyscrapers mark the coast line of this new city within the boundaries of vision and desire. On clear nights, the magnificent view extends to the horizon, identifiable by a glimpse of the Melaka Raya shoreline, the condominiums in Klebang and the Dataran 1 Malaysia skyline.
Making this another restive but thriving, throbbing port of destination for the weary souls of this world. So, Welcome one and all to the new MELAKA!