Thursday, 2 May 2013

A study in sepia

Well, this week, I would not be showing any stamps or covers for a change. The following images were taken during my recent return to my old home. One of the most interesting aspects of philately is its connection to local history. Each stamp can potentially tell a story. The more markings there are the better. Consequently, the more untidy and unattractive a stamp looks, conversely, the more interesting it could be. Obviously, the great advantage lies with covers, postal stationary and used postcards.
What follows is an attempt to evoke old memories by utilising a modern photographic technique. Colour photographs can be so glaringly obvious and leaves little to the imagination. It can also make them less interesting.

 St Mary's Primary School in Sandakan, mea alma mater, is the oldest school in Sabah dating from 1883.

 St Michel's Anglican Church, a short distance away, is the oldest stone building in the state. Construction started in 1893 and took 30 years to complete, a labour of love by the very Rev William Henry Elton.

 The English Tea House on Red Hill Top used to be a colonial residence.

 Agnes Keith House, free entrance for all Malaysians over 55!

 Inside the house, the pic is blurred 'cause the place is haunted. That 's my excuse.

 William Pryer's memorial in a historical setting in Sandakan. Just showing the top part as the bottom is somewhat overgrown with weeds.

 Another memorial nearby.

 The inscriptions are self explanatory. The original monument was commissioned in 1885 and this looks like a more recent replacement.

 The iconic building of Harrisons & Crosfields, the largest trading company in colonial North Borneo in its heyday.

 Sam Sing Kung, the temple of the three saints by the padang, is the oldest structure still standing in Sandakan. It was built in 1887.

 Next to the temple is the Sandakan Recreation Club or SRC, was the haunt of the elite in colonial times. It is looking forlorn and in need of some TLC. Alongside is the Singapore Rd which was the original Chinese residential area. I have many fond memories of this area. Towards the back of the SRC complex was a very old and huge Kayu Hantu or Ghost Tree which straddled the road and was home to a large number of noisy birds. It was removed when the road was widened. It used to fill me with awe and gave a rather mysterious atmosphere to the area.

 Looking South West from the temple on the hill, Puu Jih Shih.

 Looking South from same location where years ago would have been full of logs and sawmills.

 This time looking South East.

 Going to the War Memorial Park in Sandakan was a very moving experience especially when looking at the displays in the small museum. 

This was part of the steam engine used to generate electricity, sometimes covertly to power the secret radio transmitter of the interns.

 Part of an old bulldozer used in construction by the prisoners.

 The gardens are tranquil and well maintained.

Onto Tanjung Aru in Kota Kinabalu where we were successful in going to Tenom via Beaufort by train mostly and back the same day. It normally takes 2 days due to the quirky train time table. There is a way to do it in one day but that is another story.

 This is the luxury train for rich tourists but it only goes as far as Papar and then back.

This bone shaker including wooden seats and natural ventilation for the journey between Tenom and Halogilat probably has not changed since the last time I was on it 38 long years ago. All changed at Halogilat for another train to Beaufort otherwise one is headed back to Tenom again as had happened to some tourists.

 Riding alongside the gorge of the Padas river with many a torrential rapid. The water has the colour and the consistency of a good cup of Teh Si which is a delicious local tea sweetened with lots of evapourated milk.

 Some parts of it are calmer but never a drop of clear water.

 A popular photo taking opportunity on any train.

 More rapids.

 Hotel Gaya Sixty3 on Gaya Street which was base during our stay in KK. A place to see old photos of North Borneo which were used to adorn all available wall space.

 The old post office on Gaya Street, a very attractive building, is now a tourist office.

 Jesselton Hotel on Gaya Street looking good.

 The Atkinson Clock Tower as viewed from a side lane of Gaya Street.

 View from observatory platform towards the south with the clock tower among the trees.
Update Found this image of Jesselton from a similar aspect taken probably early 1900s. The change is very interesting in the amount of land that has been reclaimed since. Gaya Street was next to the sea!

 Looking north west. Pulau Sepangar in the distance.

Mt Kinabalu as seen from the departures level of the new airport.

Magnificient! Residents of KK are so fortunate with such beauty by their door step. However, being biased, for its rich history, the quietude, the seafood and the beauty that is not so apparent, I still prefer my "lao jia" of Sandakan.

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