Probably everyone knows the Queen Victoria Memorial Clock Tower, but how about “the other one” atop the FMS Railway building — now known as Wisma Kastam ? (They used to call the building “the railway station without a railway”)
As a mainlander in my childhood and youth days, I knew of this one only. Like a beacon, it beckoned the arrival of passengers onboard the ferries. I recall, sometimes we could hear the chimes, as the ferries closed in to dock at the terminal, which was named Pengkalan Raja Tun Uda.
Those were the days when the skyline was reigned by beautiful colonial-architecture buildings and not dominated by ugly, uninspiring, nondescript rectangular blocks and towering concrete high-rises of the later years.
One day I shall try to climb up the inside of this heritage-class icon, to see what makes it tick, literally.
Come 01 July 2016 and it will be 5 years since the last train operation ceased at this iconic station of British colonial legacy.
It also marked the end of an acrimonious bickering between Singapore and Malaysia on the relocation of the Malaysian CIQ. And a happy resolution to the “one-upmanship” feud between LKY and Dr M.
In the preceding 5 years or so, a train traveler from Singapore to Malaysia had to “enter” Malaysia first before leaving Singapore 30 minutes’ journey later- a ironical (some say comical) drama of the immigration saga.
Personally, this place reminds me of the day that my wife and I officially emigrated to Singapore in June of 1984. With 2 suitcases and 2 carton boxes in tow, we disembarked from the Express Rakyat after a grueling 14-hour ride from Butterworth, tired but looking expectantly to greener pastures on The Little Red Dot.