Oh My…My…My Nostalgic Tanjung Pagar Railway Station!

Posted on June 30, 2011


A "Welcome to Malaysia" sign was hun...

Tanjung Pagar Railway Station in Singapore Image via Wikipedia


The Tanjong Pagar Nostalgia

The moment is now, tonight. Tomorrow, 1 July 2011,  Tanjung Pagar Railway Station in Singapore will cease to operate. What can we, ordinary people say. Our leaders, both in Singapore and Malaysia presume that they have made a deal which we, ordinary people just have to say quietly “ok-lah! Apa boleh buat?”

It is a done deal. And some people say the deal is a win-win situation for both governments, solving one thorny issue which has lingered for generation. Singapore wins something and Malaysia wins something. But some say otherwise. It is a win for Singapore but a loss for Malaysia. Well! There is always two sides of a coin. Either you get the tail or the head as we use to bet if we are in the position of begging to differ. For more information on this Tanjong Pagar deal please read more  in “ KTMB Land Issue The Last Train into Tanjung Pagar by Din Merican 29 June 2011” http://www.dinmerican.wordpress.com

The older generation, especially senior citizens in Johor will definetly miss the train ride to Singapore from 1 July 2011.The Tanjung pagar station, which was the home of the KTM staff since it started operation in 1932 would just be the thing of the past.

How some people will remember the surrounding kampungs in the vacinity of the station will remain to be seen. Kampung Baru and Raden Mas, the two  famous Malay residential villages  will just remain in their mind forever. Those villages, with the old familiar surroundings will always remind them of the Malay filmdom of the P.Ramlee or M.Amin era. Those were the days when we would talk about Malay film Productions and Cathay Keris. We would talk about Jalan Ampas;, we would talk about the Malay Bujang Lapok Series shot scenes in Pasir Ris. We would talk about Geylang Serai and Tanjung katong. They were all interrelated. After all Singapore is just an island of just some hundred square miles.

There were citizens of both countries frequenting the “Makam Habib Noh”  situated  nearby the Tanjung Pagar  vacinity. Then there was the Clifford Pier, just a short distance away.From there they used to take  a boat to Pulau Belakang Mati (now Pulau Sentosa?), Pulau Bukom or Pulau Sebarok. There were dwellers on those islands who work mostly as refinery workers.

I for one, used to frequent the residential area of Kampung Baru, visiting an uncle, Pak Long Ahmad Wahab (currently residing in Johor Bahru on retirement) who worked as a custom officer and staying in one of the multi-storey customs quarters, just a few minutes walk across the railway tracks. We visited Singapore during the school holidays travelling by train from as far as my hometown in Rembau, Negeri Sembilan. We used to rent a house in Raden Mas sponsored by my other  uncle, the late Pak Ngah Hassan Basri Ytim  who was working as an harbour board officer. At the time I was at the tender age of a primary school student. I was lucky though it was my grandaunt, Uwan Saadan Kassim, who sponsored me to join her family travelling  to Singapore together with her toving children of Rohana and Masitah Yatim.

When in Singapore we would be rushing to the esplade nearby the Singapore River, wandering around in the evening looking across the open sea  into the horizon, or shopping in High Street or Robinson. Or strolling down the Change Alley for junks going  cheap. At night my uncle would sometimes take us to the entertaining world of the famous “Great world, “Happy World” or “the New World.” More often than not,  we would at least be spending our time at the Padang , walking and doing nothing, waiting for dinner to be served with “makan satay”, which was our favourite dish.

The best part of all was at the time, there was no such things as immigration restriction. Everyone from either side of the divide was free to walk into one another’s territory. And remember how Johorians flocked to Sunday night Pasar Malam in Woodlands. They would walk all the way along the Tambak Johor to the Pasar Malam which was about two kilometers from the end of the Singapore side of the causeway. We were not only trying to avoid the notorious Causeway bottleneck  butspending the night  enjoying the beautiful night scene of the Selat tebrau, looking towards Lido Beach  eastwards to Jalan Skudai.

All those days are gone. So also the nostalgic Tanjung Pagar Railway Station. We will cherish the memory. From now on it will just be going “down the memory lane.” Remember too, the Asia Building near Clifford Pier. It was  considered as the tallest in Singapore. Anyone remember countimg the number of storeys ?





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