Leading to Melaka’s deeply historic Bukit China is Lorong Bukit China, one of the oldest roads in Melaka, which still has beautiful shophouses dating from the Dutch period, with intricate ornaments well preserved. At 80 Lorong Bukit China is one of Melaka’s many Chinese clan associations: the Malacca Hui Ann Association, set up in 1929. Its advisor Tan Gim Kang explained its early role: to help Hui Ann (a sub-group of Hokkien) migrants new to Melaka, to offer financial assistance, protection and networks, and to continue within the new land old cultural practices and rituals. Similarly, Wong Teu Hoon of the Malacca Shop-Keepers’ Association explained how the association looked after its (mostly Hainanese) members’ welfare, including in matters of business licences and the education of its next generation (Kopitiam President).
Lorong Bukit China continues into Jalan Bukit China, where Cheah Pak Chow has his noodle factory (Pembuat Mi). As a seven year-old, Cheah came to Malaya from China with his father, just before the Japanese Occupation, and helped his father make noodles by hand. Now at the age of 84, his workers use machines, but he remembers the early days with fondness. On the same road, third generation ragi-maker Low Boon Dang continues to work manually, He sells tapai at the Bukit China market, and lives in a house which is a hundred years old (Cerita Ragi Dulu).