Seri Menanti Old Palace
If we are asked to choose a landmark for the state of Negeri Sembilan, first thing that comes to mind could be the Shao Bao ( 芙蓉烧包 ). On second thought, Shao Bao is the famous snack food, not a landmark.
Some locals may be able to name a few, and Seri Menanti Old Palace could be one outstanding landmark in the state of Negeri Sembilan.
This was our second visit to Seri Menanti. We were on our way to Melaka and decided to take a long route to Kuala Pilah > Tampin > Alor Gajah > Melaka City. One of our goals were looking for the dramatic curved roof Minangkabau architecture.
We could no longer see any common folks house along the trunk road with Minangkabau style. Even the cultural village had closed down.
As usual, once you put a title ‘Museum’ to any building in Malaysia, you will not see many visiting Malaysians.
Here are my 2 cents worth of observations:
1) Malaysian museum or public displays were often not ‘photo-friendly’. The first thing they prohibit is “No Photo Allowed” inside the building. With the popularity of the Internet, many world famous museums like Musée du Louvre, Gatsby Museum etc. have open-arm policy for tourist. They understood the power of social media as a free advertising medium.
2) Tourism Malaysia had spent almost 400 millions over 3 years to promote tourism in Malaysia, our museums are still not ‘world class’. It is hard to describe what is ‘world class museums’ to our Tourism Board although they spent millions traveling each year for site visit.
The only item I was allowed to take a picture is one ‘Tabuh’ at the basement. There was a sign explaining that Tabuh was a communication device (there was no iPhone back then) used by local communities especially in suraus. Tabuh would produce loud sound when it was beaten with a special piece of wood.
I have visited many museums throughout Malaysia, and yet I am not proud to introduce any museum to my foreign friends. My local friends will kill me if I waste their time bringing them to visit museums.
It was sad feeling when I visited Seri Menanti Old Palace. It was a remarkable national heritage (top 10 in Malaysia, same status as Stadhuys in Melaka). The building was constructed in the early 1900 without using any nails.
If you have spare time and spare petrol, do drop by to visit and give our Malaysian heritage some support, before it completely falling apart.