MO,12/2/2018, MELAKA: The forgotten “The Gateway of Hell” lane here is getting a new facelift this festive season. Melaka’s Gao Feng Lion and Dragon Dance Association is lighting up the tranquil lane along the banks of Melaka River. It wants to give it a vibrant look. Association chairman Datuk Gilbert K.P. Goh said the lane, currently renamed as Lorong Jawa, was situated a short distance from the iconic Jonker Walk.
Goh said during the colonial period, British administrators named it as Bridge Lane before the locals called it Guai Moon Gai in Cantonese. “This lane used to be the entrance to one of the most populated and morally corrupt lanes in Melaka during the 20th century,” he said after the launching of the lighting-up ceremony Saturday night.
The event was attended by Melaka’s special economic envoy to China Datuk Wira Gan Tian Loo. Goh said the intention was to make the lane significant during The Year of The Dog.“It was in the heart of the historical city and has gone unnoticed by tourists.” He said the lane has historic values. In 1887, a theatre was built to showcase Chinese opera performances.
“In the early 1900s, there was also a wet market there with crowds passing through daily until it was demolished,” he said. Goh said during the 1970s, the lane was a hive of activities where wholesalers sold traditional medicine, fish and vegetables. He also noted that during the Japanese Occupation, many businessmen were beheaded on the bridge.
“Later it also became notorious for suicides,” Goh pointed out. “Previously, locals labelled the bridge as Ghost Bridge and avoided crossing there at night but such eerie stories were no longer heard,” he said, adding that some family businesses still continued their operations at the lane now.