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Published: Monday December 23, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Monday December 23, 2013 MYT 10:58:24 AM

Portuguese village loses its sparkle

Lights down: Even though the private homes are brightly lit, the main road and other public areas remain dim at the Portuguese Settlement as the village lacks funds this year.

Lights down: Even though the private homes are brightly lit, the main road and other public areas remain dim at the Portuguese Settlement as the village lacks funds this year.

MALACCA: Christmas will not be as bright in the 75-year-old Portuguese Settlement this year with many of its usual light decorations having gone dim due to the lack of allocation from state authorities.

Many residents in the village have had to rely on their own funds to string up the decorations this year although this has not stopped both local and foreign tourists from turning up to share the atmosphere.

Regedor (village headman) Peter Thomas Gomes said the Village Development and Security Commit-tee had written to both the state government and the Tourism Department over a month ago for allocation.

“However, there has been no news,” he said in an interview yesterday.

The state government, said Gomes, had always been supportive of efforts to liven up the Yuletide spirit in the village, which had hosted the national Christmas celebrations in 2004 and 2008.

“I have contacted the Tourism Department and was told that there was no allocation this year,” he said, adding that he could not get through to government officials.

As some residents could only afford to put up smaller decorations, Gomes said the village still needed allocations or sponsors to light up public areas like streets, the square and the stage.

He cited the example of the huge Christmas tree at the square’s entrance last year, which was sponsored at the cost of RM8,000.

Last year, the committee, he said, had received RM10,000 from former Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam and RM5,000 from the state Tourism Department for Christmas.

The 11.2ha settlement of 118 homes with 1,200 residents, who are mainly Christians, have received contributions from authorities in the past for both Christmas and Fiesta San Pedro – the Feast of St Peter – which are carried out on a grand scale. The Fiesta San Pedro is celebrated in June every year.

Gomes said there had been no allocation for the Fiesta San Pedro this year, either.

“Should this continue, I am afraid the renowned Christmas decoration here will eventually stop and can only be seen in photographs, especially when the new electricity tariff is implemented next year,” he said, adding that the committee would have no choice but to seek sponsorship from the private sector, including beer companies.

Tags / Keywords: Religion, Portuguese Settlement, Christmas

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