April 16, 2016

2462 MALAYSIA (Penang) - The Malayan Railway Building in George Town

Wisma Kastam, originally known as the Federated Malay States Railway Station, and later the Malayan Railway Building, is one of the most prominent heritage buildings along the Weld Quay waterfront of George Town. It was built at the turn of the 20th century following land reclamation that extended the shoreline outward. Before it was built, the shoreline was somewhere between Beach Street and what is today Victoria Street. There would be piers going out into the sea, and steps (called ghauts) extending down into the water. China Street makes a straight line from the Kuan Yin Teng Temple, allowing for an uninterrupted view of the sea from the temple.

Although the rationale given was that Penang was experiencing an economic boom due largely to the growth of tin ore exports necessitating an administrative building for the newly laid railway, the decision to place the Malayan Railway Building in such a spot as to block any seaview from the temple is taken by the superstitious Chinese community as a way by the British to halt their prosperity, via disrupting their feng shui. And as if to confirm the British intention, the building was topped with a clock tower, with the clock facing the Kuan Yin Temple. This, to the chagrin of the Chinese community, was a very inauspicious sign, like the white men telling them that "their time is up".

Wisma Kastam is only about 200m from the Weld Quay Ferry & Bus Terminal, and serves as the offices of the Customs Department. It is not a tourist destination. Nevertheless, it is significant for its role in the development of the tin mining industry in Malaya. Completed in 1907, it was often called the "only railway station in the world without a railway". Passengers buying train tickets are ushered onto the railway ferry to cross the channel, where they board the train in Butterworth.

About the stamp
The stamp is part of the series Heritage of Pahang Darul Makmur, issued on October 24, 2010. Pahang, the third largest state in Malaysia, is a constitutional monarchy. The Sultan of Pahang is the constitutional ruler of his state and he holds office for life. Since 1974, the Sultan or hereditary monarch has been Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah.
• Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah and Sultanah Hajjah
• Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah as Colonel in Chief - It's on the postcard 2462
• Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah

Wisma Kastam (Malayan Railway Building) - Penang Travel Tips

Sender: Pumipat
Sent from George Town (Penang / Malaysia), on 23.02.2016

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