Malacca’s Millionaires’ Row
Many people would possibily know about Jonker street in Malacca, as it is a popular tourist destination. But many may not know about Heeren Street, which is parallel to Jonker Street. Heeren street has more to offer in term of interest than the popular Jonker street.
Heeren Street, or Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock was once the place to live for those who made it to the top. It was then known as the “Millionaire Row” because of its well-heeled residents. The residents then complete with each other to build the most flamboyant of house, which many still stand today.
Some of these houses have been restored to it former glory and turned into highly popular boutique hotels, museums, galleries, restaurants and cafes.
Jonker street was class below compared to Heeren Street, as the former was a place those who has yet made to the upper level of nobility, while the latter was for the gentleman in the upper class of society.
The characteristic features of most buildings are high roofs, floors and corridors lined with intricate tiles and teak front doors carved with family names or mottos in golden calligraphy. The houses on the street when view from outside seem small and narrow, but it is surprisingly spacious inside. This is due to that time, houseowners are taxed based on their house width and not the total areas.
One of the house that worth paying a visit is the Chee Manison, which is the grandest of all in Heeren street. The Chee Manison is directly opposite to the Hotel Puri. This Chee Manison is Dutch era architectural gem, completed with a watchtower. This belonged to tycoon Chee Swee Cheng, whom is the first chairman of the Overseas Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC).
Another well-known Malayan leader, Tun Tan Cheng Lock, who was the co-founder of MCA (Malaysia Chinese Association), was born at house number 111. And in this house was where the founding Father of Malaysia and first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahamn and Tan held many discussion before Malaysia independence.
In general, Heeren street may not be as hectic as Jonker Street, but Heeren Street offers more history and stories.