Monday, August 30, 2010

bukit betong

Last weekend, I decided to visit the village of Bukit Betong. What I saw surprised me. The railway station was left neglected.
The village is situated in Pahang, about 20 minutes drive from Kuala Lipis and was an important center for the  Malay administration of Pahang prior to the British occupation on 1800. This is the home Dato Indra Maharaja Perba Jelai, one of the 4 heads in Pahang (Orang Besar Pahang). 
Bukit Betong Railway Station
Note the unattended bushes behind
Bukit Betong was the tax collection center of the population of the River Jelai and its tributaries.During the hey day of the railway, it became the transportation center, as boats from as far as Kuala Medang with full passenger load will land at Bukit Betong to fetch the train to Kuala Lipis and beyonds.

However travels were not as easy as today. The small boat with its Honda engine will take about 4 hours to reach kuala medang. You have to sit still for that four hours. The standard of safety had needed improvement as no life vest was available.  
The station building of Bukit Betong
The small station used to be crowded with passengers, and you may not get a seat on the train. So you had to be standing all the way to Kuala Lipis, which will take about 30 minutes.

Bukit Betong Station
Used to be ""the passengers waiting area" 
I still remember, in those days, people had not learn how to form a line, they refused t line up for the ticket, so everyone would rush for the first 5 minutes, fighting for the tickets, they felt proud if they can forced themselve to be among the first. Now the station is an empty reminder of the past glory.

Bukit Betong Godown
The Goods Store Built in 1950s still stand strong

The store was built in early 1950, surprisingly still in good condition. It is reminder of the quality of the material used during the British time. I remembered, the store was the first I place I hang up my public bill board, advertising the concert at the school in Padang Tengku.
The Official Residence of Station Master of Bukit Betong
Probably the only person who spoke English in Bukit Betong in 1960s. It had a big
metal water tank to store the rain water.
The railway station was manned by a station master and a porter. The porter will light up the oil lantern before dark and climbed onto the signal towers. When the signal arm is lowered, the train driver will see the green or go signal. Some of the train will turn around at this station.
The beautiful house of the station master is left to the plants and animals
The station's porter's house, abandoned

The station as viewed from the Iron Bridge of Bukit Betong

Jelai Bridge Built after WW2 at Bukit Betong

The Bridge designed by the British.The bridge had to rebuilt after the Japanese surrender in 1945. The earlier bridge was bombed by the retreating British army. I noticed extra planks and the side netting are installed for the safety for the pedestrians. It was NOT there before. However I had not heard anyone felt from the bridge.

View from the railroad of Bulit Betong
You can see the Jelai River and small island that was created by the brick pillar of the bridge.
The notice on the bridge has faded: Cross the bridge at your own risk, the railway is not responsible for
any accident or incident.
Jelai Bridge at Bukit Betong
The view of the bridge crossing Sungai Jelai 
The home of Indra Purba Jelai. It was the biggest house in Bukit Betong, however it no longer is.

Picture taken from the railroad, Sungai Tepuai that runs from Kampong Sungai Ular. Notice the calm water.

Bukit Betong
Abundanced stall that use to sell local fruits 

No comments:

Post a Comment