Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Steam rose at Tanjong Pagar Station

Image result for tanjong pagar station

Terminus: The platform of the venerable train station in Singapore is steeped in histroy, heartbreak and loss

There was certainly a mix of excitement and melancholy when I first saw the historic Tanjong Pagar Station.

Located in Keppel Road, Singapore, the decommisioned railway station was gazetted as a national monument on April 2, 2011, by Singapore's Preservation of Monuments Board.

Built in 1929 bya a French company, the station reminded me of the Helsinki train station in Finland.

When four friends and I decided to tour the place recently, we found, much to our surprise, that the place was deserted.

We had chosen to arrive early to avoid the crowds. These days, the 85-year-old monument is open to visitors only during public holidays.


The venerable old station has been the venue of several major events, most recently the Green Corridor Run, a marathon held along the 10.5km rail corridor from Tanjong Pagar station to Bukit Timah Station.

When there are no activities, the station appears, for all intents and purposes, abandoned.

Before starting my tour in the republic, I had the pleasure of speaking with an elderly man, who told me that Tanjong Pagar Station would always accupy a special place in his heart.

He said the station not only reminded him of his train rides to and from the republic, back when he was younger, but also the mouth-watering Indian cuisine served by two eateries there.

THE PARTING PLATFORM

"Each time we headed to Malaya, we would arrive at the station early to savour the food offerings there.

"The hissing noises from steam engines and the whistles from the steam chimney added to the dining ambience," he recalled.

The eateries he mentioned are long gone, I believe. Exploring the station later, I found a faded signboard on one of the station's walls advertising an eatery run by the Hasan brothers.
The station has also seen its fair share of heartbreak and loss. According to the man, he was there to witness the effects of the separation of Malaya and Singapore in 1965.

"I witnessed the separation of families, friends and even lovers on the station's platform," he said, prompting me to imagine how the scene would have been then.

"Lots of tears were shed there. Many people were seen hugging each other, and others were waving goodbye," he reminisced.

My recollection of the conversation with the man was distracted by the cackling of my friends on the otherwise silent platform. 

My friends soon started taking selfies in various poses, with some even lying on the tracks.

"We wanted to make an album cover," they said, while standing on the iron track that had withstood the rain and heat for all these many years.

INTERESTING BACKGROUND

There was a time when one could accompany passengers to the platform by buying a 20 sen platform ticket. However, since Dec 18, 1988, only passengers were allowed on the platform.
Before the curtains closed on the station, an old bookstore, Habib Railway Book Store, had operated there since its establishment in 1936.


A money changer beside the book shop was operated by the same owner.

There was also a 34-room hotel in the three-storey station, operated for more than six decades by businessman Lim Jit Chin and his family.

During its heyday, the hotel's guests included Malaysia royalty.
In 1992, Lim received recognition from then Guinness Book of Records as the second person in the world to operate a hotel for the longest duration.

I only wished that I could go into the buildings and see them for myself. Alas, they are all locked up now.

The Tanjong Pagar Station was closed after Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd agreed to vacate the station and shift operations to the Woodlands Train Checkpoints.

In return, Malaysia was promised six pieces of land in the republic that would be jointly developed with the Singaporean government.
At about 11pm on June 30, 2011, Sultan of Johor Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar drove the final train out of Tanjong Pagar Station, a historic event witnessed by the peoples of both nations.

By midnight, its ownership reverted to the Singaporean government, and the Tanjong Pagar Station entered the pages of history.

Source : New Straits Times 
Written by : Massita Ahmad


Stim berkepul di Stesen Tanjong Pagar

Image result for tanjong pagar station

Perhentian terakhir: Platform stesen keretapi yang terkenal di Singapura kaya dengan sejarah, kekecewaan dan kehilangan.

Perasaan saya bercampur baur ketika melihat Stesen Tanjong Pagar yang bersejarah buat pertama kali.

Stesen Tanjong Pagar terletak di Keppel Road, Singapura digazetkan sebagai lambang negara pada April 8, 2011 oleh Singapore Presevation of Monuments Board.

Dibina pada tahun 1929 oleh sebuah syarikat Perancis, stesen Tanjong Pagar mengingatkan saya stesen keretapi di Helsinki, Finland.

Apabila saya dan empat sahabat mengambil keputusan untuk melawat stesen ini, kami berasa terkejut apabila mendapati stesen telah ditinggalkan.

Kami memilih untuk tiba awal di stesen Tanjong Pagar bagi mengelak kesesakan orang ramai. Momumen bersejarah yang berusia 85 tahun ini hanya dibuka kepada orang ramai ketika hari cuti umum sahaja.



Bangunan yang mengagumkan ini pernah menjadi lokasi untuk pelbagai acara penting seperti Green Corridor Run, larian maraton yang diadakan sepanjang 10.5km koridor landasan keretapi dari Stesen Tanjong Pagar ke Stesen Bukit Timah.

Stesen ini seolah-olah ditinggalkan sekiranya tiada sebarang aktiviti diadakan.

Sebelum kami memulakan lawatan kami, saya sempat berbual dengan seorang orang lama yang memberitahu saya bahawa Stesen Tanjong Pagar ini akan sentiasa berada di hatinya. 

Beliau berkata stesen ini bukan sahaja mengingatkan beliau kembali perjalanan ke dan dari republik ini ketika beliau muda, ia turut mengingatkan beliau masakan India yang dijual di dua buah kedai makan di situ.

PLATFOM PEMISAH

"Setiap kali kami ingin ke Malaya, kami akan tiba awal di stesen ini untuk menikmati makanan yang dijual di sana.

"Bunyi desing disertai dengan bunyi tiupan wisel dan serombong asap keretapi menghangatkan lagi suasana ketika menikmati makanan," beliau berkata sambil mengimbas kembali suasana dahulu.

Saya percaya, tempat makan yang beliau nyatakan telah lama hilang. Sambil berjalan-jalan di stesen itu, saya terlihat papan tanda yang lusuh di salah satu dinding stesen yang mengiklankan tempat makan yang diusahakan oleh adik-beradik Hasan.

Stesen ini pernah menjadi saksi kekecewaan dan kehilangan. Menurut lelaki yang kami temui tadi, beliau melihat kesan pemisahan Malaya dan Singapura pada tahun 1965.

"Saya menyaksikan keluarga, kawan malah pasangan kekasih berpisah di platfom stesen ini," katanya. Ini membuatkan saya membayangkan bagaimanakah situasi pada masa itu.

"Air mata mengalir, ramai orang berpelukan dan ada melambai selamat tinggal," beliau berkata membuatkan saya mengimbas kembali suasana ketika itu.

Imbasan perbualan saya dengan lelaki ditemui tadi diganggu oleh bunyi bising oleh rakan saya di platfom yang sunyi. 

Rakan saya mula mengambil swafoto dengan pelbagai gaya termasuk tidur di landasan keretapi.

"Kami mahu jadikan muka depan album," mereka kata sambil berdiri di atas landasan keretapi besi yang telah disinari dengan matahari dan dibasahi dengan hujan bertahun-tahun lamanya.

LATAR BELAKANG MENARIK

Dahulu penumpang boleh diringi oleh sanak saudara hingga ke platform dengan membeli tiket platform berharga 20 sen, namun sejak Dis 18, 1988, hanya penumpang dibenarkan memasuki platform.

Sebelum stesen ini ditutup, terdapat sebuah kedai buku lama bernama Habib Railway Book Store yang telah beroperasi sejak tahun 1936.



Besebelahan kedai buku Habib Railway Book Store terdapat sebuah kedai pengurup wang juga diusahakan oleh pemilik sama.

Terdapat juga sebuah hotel yang mempunyai 34 buah bilik di stesen tiga tingkat ini. Ia telah beroperasi selama enam dekad oleh ahli perniagaan bernama Lim Jit Chin dan keluarganya.

Semasa kegemilangannya, tetamu hotel ini termasuk golongan diraja Malaysia.

Pada tahun 1992, Lim menerima pengiktirafan dari Guinness Book of Records sebagai orang kedua paling lama mengusahakan hotel sepanjang hotel itu beroperasi.

Saya berharap dapat melihat bahagian dalam bangunan hotel, akan tetapi bangunan ini telah dikunci.

Stesen Tanjong Pagar ditutup setelah Keretapi Tanah Melayu bersetuju untuk mengosongkan stesen ini dan mengalihkan operasi ke Woodlands Train Checkpoint.

Sebagai ganti, Malaysia akan diberikan enam bidang tanah di republik tersebut yang akan dibangunkan bersama-sama dengan kerajaan Singapura.  

Pada pukul 11 malam pada Jun 30, 2011, Sultan Johor Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar memandu keretapi terakhir keluar dari Stesen Tanjong Pagar. Lipatan sejarah yang disaksikan oleh rakyat kedua-dua negara.

Menjelang tengah malam, hak milik stesen diserahkan kepada Kerajaan Singapura dan Stesen Tanjong Pagar memasuki halaman sejarah.


Diterjemah oleh : Teratai Melur

E-mel : terataigenius@gmail.com


* Jika memerlukan perkhidmatan terjemahan, sila e-mel butiran ke alamat e-mel tertera di atas. Terima kasih.

No comments:

Post a Comment