Echoing the fleets of ships that have sailed through the Straits of Melaka for centuries, the white “sails” of the Melaka Straits Mosque curve gracefully as though to catch the wind, floating on the shores of Melaka island.
This grand mosque is an impressive example of contemporary Islamic architecture although sails were probably not the intention of the architect as the vernacular should reflect god and nature not man made objects like ships.
Regardless, the curved petals and golden dome are a striking sight. Completed in 2006, the design draws inspiration from both Malaysian and Middle Eastern styles. The cool white interior opens to the sea allowing the refreshing breeze to waft through lofty archways framed by jali decoration and stained glass. An oceanside platform offers a place for quiet contemplation as someone stares out to the horizon.
I'm a slow walker, but I never walk backwards: a silent scream of an old lady in an empty narrow street.
Apart from their most basic use as a shade, traditional paper umbrellas serve a multitude of purposes and are deeply ingrained in traditional Chinese culture. Originating in China, the paper umbrella has spread and developed across several Asian countries throughout the years, yet the colorfully decorated, almost gauze-like Chinese paper umbrella remains as quintessentially Chinese as chop sticks.
Although the collapsible Chinese paper umbrella is believed to have existed in China since before the beginning of the Christian era, the first historical reference to the Chinese paper umbrella stems from the 21 CE mention of a paper umbrella made for the 4-wheeled "chariot" of Emperor Wang Mang. At present, umbrellas in China are made of various materials: oilpaper, cotton, silk, plastic film and nylon. They are used either against the rain or as parasols to give shade from the sun. Some are built on straight frames while others are collapsible.
Umbrellas or parasols, apart from their practical uses, have also become part of the paraphernalia for the stage artists of acrobatics. A notable example is the wire-walker who uses a parasol as a balancer to keep herself on the wire.