Some 17 years after first opening up their home to visitors wishing to view a collection of artifacts painstakingly assembled over a matter of decades, the elderly couple behind a homespun Melaka-area museum are closing their doors to the public after several of the items on display were stolen.
Dubbing their private museum Rumahku Muziumku (“My Home, My Museum”), Nordin Ali, 80, and his wife Maznah Ali opened their doors in 2002 to showcase their antiques, some of them hundreds of years old. Items on display included old radios and gramophones, artillery from when the Dutch first arrived on the peninsula, and centuries-old bronze items.
However, in September of this year, the couple made their way to a local police station to file a report after realizing that visitors had taken antique copper bowls and a coal-heated clothes iron.
Speaking to Malay-language daily, Harian Metro, Nordin said enough was enough: He had grown weary of opening his doors to the public, only to be robbed blind.
Over the years, other items were pilfered from the couple’s museum, including old keris (daggers), antique brass items, incense containers, and valuable rare coins.
To the 80-year-old collector, the motivation to close the museum wasn’t so much the monetary losses, but rather the fact that it took him years to amass the rare antiquities, only for them to fall into the hands of ne’er-do-well thieves.
Both Nordin and his wife have suffered from health problems over the years, and can no longer monitor visitors to ensure the safety of the items on display, leaving them no other choice other than to shut down the whole operation.
So there you have it, kids: A nice old man who just loved history and wanted to share it with others had to bar the public from his home-turned-lovingly-assembled-museum just because awful people couldn’t be trusted not to steal his shit. And that’s why we can’t have nice things. Sekian.
This article, We can’t have nice things: Elderly couple close home museum after visitors steal artifacts, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!