"Selamat Datang!" Welcome! And so many more Malay words to learn in the Malay House. Take a breather in its hospitable surroundings to join in the many traditional games on demonstration here, such as gasing (top spinning) and congkak (a traditional Malay board-like game).
The house of an urban Malay family is a gracious structure, well adapted to the tropical climate. Like all local houses, it is built of wood. The Brooke era introduced lofty ideas on columns, stucco, and indoor plumbing. From as early on as the 1860's, a few leading Malay families commissioned professional builders, often Chinese, to construct their stately homes; a few which may still be seen today in Jln. Ajibah Abol in Kuching.
From the humblest to the highest, Malay houses share certain characteristics. They are built on stilts and a visitor approaching from the front comes up a staircase. He announces his presence before he reaches the verandah. This may be quite small, leading along from the front of house. It permits a stranger to wait until somebody welcomes him in.
The area designated for the men, official occasions and the entertainment of guests, is a front room taking up the width of the house. Windows cut down to floor level admits breeze for the seated people. Much artistic skill is lavished on the decoration of the stair and window railings, fascia boards under the eaves as well as the ventilation grills above or beside doorways.
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Photos by: SCV
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