Melaka trishaws riding on tourism boom

Melaka trishaws riding on tourism boom

Heavily-decorated trishaws fall into line the street while watching Christ Church Melaka building.

MELAKA: Beads of perspiration trickled down Arshad Abu Jabar’s wrinkled face as he peddled his trishaw across the streets of Bandar Hilir’s historical quarter, taking this writer on a tour of the certain area.

His sunburned skin is testimony of his 20-year service as a trishaw rider and mini ambassador of the historical city of Melaka. And, he’s got yet to cultivate sick and tired of dishing out info on the many attractions to the neighborhood or foreign tourists who reach ride in his trishaw.

Arshad, 56, who’s referred to as Pak Arshad fondly, sighed loudly when asked to talk about his thoughts concerning the present state of the trishaw scene in Melaka. Smiling wryly, the trishaw was said by him community’ s earnings have improved in comparison to 10 to twenty years but at the trouble of the state&rsquo ago;s heritage value.

“Thankfully, we are able to still survive so long as the stamina is had by us to peddle our trishaw. Indeed, the trishaw is rolling out as a tourism product in this state and we are able to earn a significant good income as a trishaw rider,” he said.

He lamented, however, that the neighborhood trishaws are in threat of losing their identity being an intrinsic section of Melaka’s heritage.

“The trishaws we now have are decorated with characters from movies and cartoons and blare out Western songs. Can we say these are reflective of Melaka truly?

“They could attract children and tourists but as time passes,
Melaka’s heritage value will be lost on the trishaws,” he told Bernama.

According to a report by Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka, it really is discovered that 54 % of the respondents are uncertain concerning the trishaws’ decorative elements, while 13 % disagree that the decorations reflect Melaka’s identity. — Bernama photos

Traditional motifs

Arshad’s concern is i’m all over this. This writer too cannot help recollecting the trishaws of days gone by which were adorned with designs depicting the native nature, along with motifs of nature, as the riders played ‘dondang sayang’ tunes or traditional ballads that started in Melaka; ‘ghazal’, which are poems set to music; along with other Malaysian melodies.

The present-day trishaws sport characters like Elsa and Anna from the movie ‘Frozen’; the Minions from ‘Despicable Me’; Lighting McQueen from ‘Cars’; popular Japanese characters like Doraemon, Shin Pikachu and Chan; and local characters from ‘Upin Ipin’.

Popular western songs like ‘ALLOW IT Go’ from ‘Frozen’ and the ‘Doraemon’ theme song have replaced Malaysian traditional tunes to draw the eye of tourists.

According to a report completed by Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka in 2015 on the impact of trishaws on Melaka’s tourism sector, it really is discovered that 54 % of the survey’s 30 respondents were uncertain concerning the trishaws’ decorative elements while 13 % disagreed that the decorations reflected Melaka’s identity.

Arshad said the present day decorations, though a pull factor where children are worried, neglect to introduce the wonder of Melaka’s heritage to tourists, and also the nation’s younger generation.

His own trishaw flaunts fauna and flora designs to market the state’s heritage and he prefers to play ‘dondang sayang’ songs when taking his passengers on a sightseeing tour of Melaka.

“They might find out by me what the ‘dondang sayang’ songs are about and discuss our heritage. Only once I explain it in their mind do they know very well what our heritage is focused on and become keen on it… not merely Malaysians but tourists I&rsquo even;ve met like Melaka’s heritage,” he said.

Synonymous with Melaka

Duyong assemblyman Damian Yeo, who’s of Peranakan heritage, expressed his
concern that the trishaws also, which are synonymous with Melaka, are losing the identity of hawaii fast.

Tourists from various countries visit Melaka to acquire a taste of its interesting history rather than to witness its progress and development, he said, adding that any tourism product of the constant state must reflect its original culture and traditions.

“I it&rsquo know;s difficult to find a normal trishaw in Bandar Hilir; for example, as much of the operators have commercialised their services and would rather decorate their trishaws with designs depicting the themes of animated movies like ‘Snow White’,” he said.

Determined that the original trishaw, that is a significant heritage of Melaka, wouldn’t normally fade into oblivion, Yeo said it will be on the list of elements to be contained in the next theme park in Perkampungan Hang Tuah, situated in his constituency, year together with Visit Melaka Year 2019 that is likely to be opened early next.

Besides the trishaw, the theme park would include a bullock cart track also, horse models and carts of old bicycles which were found in Melaka during the past.

Lucrative trade

According to Arshad, hawaii government became seriously interested in promoting its trishaws as a tourism product some twenty years ago.

Initially, its objective was to greatly help enhance the livelihood of the trishaw riders who didn’t earn much then but eventually when tourism operators discovered that it had converted into a lucrative trade, they began to offer their very own trishaw service by acquiring the prevailing trishaws.

“By year year, a lot more trishaws are increasingly being controlled by the tourism companies and today we’ve fewer trishaw riders who possess their very own trishaws. Now what many riders do is rent a trishaw from the ongoing company for between RM30 and RM50 each day,” he described.

The big players also finances for it with travel and hotels agents to take tourists sightseeing within their trishaws.

“In the final end, those folks with this own trishaws are marginalised,” grumbled Arshad.

Arshad among others who have their very own trishaws could make about RM70 each day on weekdays or more to RM200 on weekends and public holidays. However, those riders who rent their trishaws from tourism companies can earn higher incomes.

On the average weekday, you can find about 80 trishaw riders plying in the populous city, while weekends and public holidays will dsicover a lot more than 300 trishaws on the streets with most of them ridden by part-time trishaw riders. — Bernama

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