Jun 23, 2011

Countdown to 30 June - KTM Souvenir for Sale, My Souvenir for Free

Buy One and Remember the Good Old Days

As you may have guessed, yours truly have gone on multiple trips to Tanjong Pagar Railway Station, thanks to his excellent workplace location at Si Pai Por. As the deadline for the station closure looms, I brave a few midday sun in my business clothes to explore the station; to shoot and re-shoot, to makan and to observe the crowd, at the same time wondering hard about its history from 1932. It was a frenzy of activity for me; and so every visit, without fail, I would be rewarded with a shirt - the one I'm wearing - soaked in sweat.

Wednesday was no different, except I saw KTM selling their merchandise to mark - the word commemorate would be so wrong - the end of railway travel in Singapore. Boarding the train at Woodlands come July 1 does not count, in any case KTM would fully withdraw its main line services to Johor Bahru after 2018.

Souvenir for Sale
Souvenir for sale to mark the end of rail travel in Singapore. Two fridge magnets and a t-shirt were what I saw.

The staff set up a table for the sale of souvenir that people will remember as the "good old days which have gone by". There was no snaking queue like the ticket counter, perhaps transaction was faster for this lelong lelong kind of sales. I stood by the table to examine the goods on display: two fridge magnets, showing Tanjong Pagar and Bukit Timah stations; and a black t-shirt with a striking photo of Tanjong Pagar station from an earlier era. I did not immediately ask for their price and almost wanted to, but a $20 sticker on one t-shirt stopped me. I'm quite sure the price is not in ringgit and when I examined the fridge magnet and t-shirt closer, the purist in me thought they were so wrong.

Commemorative T-Shirt
Tanjong Pagar souvenir t-shirt on display. Can you spot what I felt was so wrong on the t-shirt?

Stesen Keretapi Tanjong Pagar - these are the words printed below the photo. Actually there is really nothing wrong with the t-shirt, except this is not what KTM call the station. You see, the proper word in Bahasa Melayu/Indonesia is Tanjung. Tanjung Pinang (in Bintan) rings a bell? The Malaysians, as in KTM, call the station Tanjung Pagar. This is so obvious from what is visible outside the station.

Stesen Keretapi Tanjung Pagar
The lettering Stesen Keretapi Tanjung Pagar on the big blue signage outside the station.

In the end I did not buy any of their souvenir. I thought the attempt at appealing to Singaporeans, to the extent of ditching the Malay name for our English one and the last minute effort at commercialization felt a little weak and turned me off somehow. Assuming they meant to use the English name, why did they use "Stesen Keretapi" and not "Railway Station"? The hefty price tag was also pretty discouraging.

I have decided instead of paying for something that will lose its magnetism over the years or a garment that will become rag cloth in future, I will create my own Stesen Keretapi Tanjung Pagar souvenir for free. In fact I see many people doing that, creating their own souvenir using a digital camera. These bits and bytes should last a lifetime and many generations.

Stesen Keretapi Tanjung Pagar
Stesen Keretapi Tanjung Pagar 1932 - 2011. This is the same photo you see on the souvenir t-shirt. What do you think?


peter said...

Photo captioned as "The lettering Stesen Keretapi Tanjung Pagar on the big blue signage outside the station." showing a pedestrain walkway could well be the site of the SKR tracks.

Icemoon said...

This is new to me, always thought it follows Cantonment Link and cut the station from the middle. Tracks should be some distance from Keppel Road.

Will be waiting for your blog post on GMY.

peter said...

The original Keppel Road is not the present alignment. It was inside the harbour area but realgined after the 1932 railway station was built.

How about lifting one of those things from the railway yard or workshop?

Anonymous said...

i thought malay languange using Tanjong instead of i was wrong ?!?

peter said...

If I am not wrong with my Bahsa, Tanjung originates from Indonesia and the other is Peninsular Malaya. m

Icemoon said...

Tanjong is the English spelling. I will blog about another example.

Both Indonesia and Malaysia uses Tanjung. Best example from Malaysia - Pelabuhan Tanjung Pelepas Sdn Bhd.

veii said...

I think Tanjong Pagar is not incorrect. Reason being place names have not all been standardised to so-called modern Malay spellings. For instance, both Johor Bahru and Kota Bharu do not conform to the modern spelling Baru, and yet both remain as they have always been spelt. Since the common spelling for Tanjong Pagar has never, as far as I can tell, been modernised in either standard Singaporean Malay or Bahasa Malaysia, I think it should be regarded as valid.

Of course, there are plenty of other good reasons NOT to buy any of those souvenirs, besides this little bit of inauthenticity.

Icemoon said...

Malaysians have pride. You see (my photo), when they erect the blue signboard, they keep "Tanjung Pagar" in both the Malay and English name of the station.

Stesen Keretapi Tanjung Pagar
Railway Station Tanjung Pagar.

Whereas for Singapore .. they leave it as Singapore, not Singapura.

Icemoon said...

I also remember, the Malay name for Telok Blanga is Teluk Belanga or something like that. There is a place, Teluk Itan, in Malaysia.

peter said...

Let's ask JOJO JOGET and BARBARELLA for their opinions!!!!

Unknown said...

the t-shirt... it wasn't the KTM, it was the FMSR in those days... am i right?

Icemoon said...

Sehsuan, since it became KTM in the end, ok lah ...