Wednesday, 30 July 2014

The Train Stations at Palekbang and Pasir Mas

It was Raya morning and I was talking to my mother-in-law. I call her Chek Daddy. She is called Yah in her village. Her name is Mariah @ Shamsiah bt Ahmad, a local from Kampung Gajah Mati village in Kota Bharu.

Chek was born in 1937. I asked Chek about train travels before the Sultan Ismail bridge was built. This is her story. According to Chek, she had travelled on the train from Palekbang to Butterworth (now Seberang Perai) via Siam. Palekbang had a big train station. Pasir Mas also had a big train station. Tumpat was where the trains were stored and repaired. Trains from Tumpat came down to Palekbang to pick up passengers, and moved onward to Pasir Mas. From Pasir Mas, the train lines split into 2, one went towards Tanah Merah and onward to Seberang Prai. Another train line went up north to Siam and came back down to Seberang Perai.

I remember writing the biography for Dr Ali Othman Merican in Biography of the Early Malay Doctors 1900-1957 Malaya and Singapore. In his biography, I mentioned that he took a train from Butterworth to Palekbang via Siam. It was a 2-day journey.

According to Chek, Palekbang train station has ceased to exist today. I passed by the site and saw remnants of its columns standing among the overgrowth. Chek and Affandi said that the train line from Tanah Merah to Butterworth has ceased to exist. They also said that the train line from Pasir Mas to Siam and back down to Butterworth has ceased to exist.

I have no further information of train travels within Kelantan and Malaya before 1969.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Tuan Haji Mohd Yusof and Al-Ahmadiyah Press, Kota Bharu

Al-Ahmadiyah Press
Lorong Ceti
Kota Bharu, Kelantan

Al-Ahmadiyah Press is an old Malay-owned printing press in Kota Bharu, Kelantan. It is beside the ceti, or Lorong Ceti at Kampung Gajah Mati.

Al-Ahmadiyah Press in Kota Bharu.
I met the owner of Al-Ahmadiyah Press, Tuan Haji Mohd Yusof, on first Hari Raya Aidilfiltri, 28 July 2014, at his home. I gave him a copy of my book and asked if I could take some photos.

Tuan Haji Mohd Yusof of Al-Ahmadiyah Press in Kota Bharu. 28 July 2014
Tuan Haji Mohd Yusof with son Dr Aziz (USM). 28 July 2014

According to Tuan Haji Mohd Yusof, Al-Ahmadiyah Press is still operating in Kota Bharu today. It prints all sorts of books.

Tuan Haji Mohd Yusof (70; born 1944) remembers Dr Abdul Aziz bin Omar and his sons, Rashid, Rahim, etc. He confirmed that Dr Abdul Aziz's clinic was in front of the bus station. He knew the wives and their house in Telipot. He said that Dr Abdul Aziz was originally from Penang.

Tuan Haji Mohd Yusof also remembers Dr Ezanee Merican and his brothers, Dr Carleel Merican and Rahim Merican. He also remembers Tamin Merican. He knew Dr Ezanee lived in front of SIC and Sultan Ismail School. However, he did not know Dr Ezanee's father, Dr Ali Othman Merican who passed away in 1945.

Tuan Haji Mohd Yusof still remembers much of Kota Bharu. He remembers the Cold Storage at the opposite end but in the same row as Dr Ezanee Merican's clinic. The Cold Storage is no longer there today but moved long ago, to Lorong Long Yunus, near the old Mobil petrol pump (now demolished).

Tuan Haji Mohd Yusof remembers Dr Ezanee's clinic is in front of the old fresh market, Pasar MPKB (later pasar kain; demolished in 2008). A new condominium now stands in place of Pasar MPKB in 2014.

Tuan Haji Mohd Yusof lives with his son's family in a big double-storey bungalow at Kubor Maras, behind Masjid Langgar, enter near EON, and some distance from Billion shopping centre. He has a vast garden with lots of fruit trees. He built his house here in 1980. His son's own new house is in the adjacent plot.

Tuan Haji Mohd Yusof's wife (63; born 1949) was known as 'Cucu Mak Domek'. She had passed away at KLIA, on the return flight from Bandung to KLIA in December 2012. She is laid to rest at Kubor Maras nearby.

Tuan Haji Mohd Yusof and wife (cucu Mak Domek)
(edited pic from photo captured from wall frame)

Tuan Haji Mohd Yusof has 3 children. One of them is Dr Abdul Aziz b Mohd Yusof. Dr Abdul Aziz graduated in Biomedicine from UKM, and did his PhD in the UK. He is married to a lady from Alor Gajah, Melaka, who previously worked as a banker, but stopped working when the couple moved to the UK where Dr Abdul Aziz worked for his PhD research in genetics. They have 4 children. The eldest daughter will leave for KLE Belgaum in September 2014, to take up USM's twinning program in medicine. The second is a tall son. The third is a son. The youngest is a small girl. They are expecting child #5 in 2 weeks time.

Dr Abdul Aziz is a close friend of Affandi. They work together at HUSM. According to Affandi, Dr Abdul Aziz had worked at the private lab AKUDIA in Kota Bharu before he went to UK to do his PhD. I had designed the logo for AKUDIA for a microbiology lecturer.

Information about 'Cucu Mak Domek' from Hashimah Hussain, Penang. 28 July 2014

Tuan Haji Mohd Yusof passed away on 5 January 2015. He was buying food when he collapsed at the stall. People there knew him and called his son Dr Aziz. Affandi went to help Dr Aziz with burial rites.

He is laid to rest next to his wife at Kubor Maras, near where EON KB is.

EON KB at the entrance and junction to Kubor Maras.
Tuan Haji Mohd Yusof's wife was known as 'Cucu Mak Domek'. It is unknown what 'Domek' referred to or meant. According to Hashimah (Affandi's youngest sister), Domek or Do Mek is commonly used to refer to an aunt (mak saudara).

External links
Al-Ahmadiah, Singapore

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Book Review: Biography of the Early Malay Doctors ...

Review Copy

Xlibris has mailed out a review copy to each of 4 international reviewers for the book. The review copy has a different cover compared to the real book. Some review pages and information are also included in the review copy. The review copy is prepared, printed and mailed out by the publisher on behalf of the author. 1 July 2014.

Book Review: Biography of the Early Malay Doctors...

A book review was kindly written by Tan Sri Datuk Dr Ridzwan Bakar for the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA), which appeared in the February 2014 issue of the MMA bulletin, Berita MMA.

Tan Sri Datuk Dr Ridzwan Bakar PSM PJN
Consultant Cardiologist
Pantai Medical Centre
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia