Rain Or Shine, The Show Must Go On

One of the things I decided from the get-go was to proceed come rain or shine. It would be impossible to find a continuous stretch of sunny days with the vagaries of our weather.

If it shines, the camera will absorb the colours. If it rains, I get to capture the wet landscape and activities. After all, this is documentary photography and I will go with the flow.

For this cinema in Rasa town, the show didn’t go on. Sad to see a building from 1957 left dilapidated and forsaken. Even sadder to see what looks like an equally old tree by its side; beheaded.

Rasa is the first town on the route that hit me as a dying town. Many of the buildings there are from 80 to 100 years ago but are are left abandoned. I have to find out why.

Olympus OM-D, ISO 200, f7.1, 1/200 sec.

The Seven Holes Of Serendah

The holes were located in a lonely but beautiful park in Serendah. Not sure if it was the threatening rain clouds or the mystery of the holes that made everything there very eerie.

Since the sink hole strainers are missing, do I dive into one of the ‘rabbit holes’ and will it take me to Wonderland? Apparently not; as further investigation revealed the water flowing into underground channels and released, like sewer, a little further down the cascaded river.

The place was very deserted at the time I was there and there was no one around to ask for info. Oddly, there were no information signboards, even though it is billed as a tourism attraction.

I found out two versions of its history and reason for existence from nearby villagers (subsequently). Originally, there were natural whirlpools in the river .

For some safety or silly reasons, a crazy British colonial administrator flattened the river and turned it into this bizarre man-made structure. It was called The Seven Wells of Serendah (Perigi Tujuh) .

Another local told me a more plausible but less romantic story. Serendah is named as such because it is very low-lying (rendah). It was also a tin mining area with many water canals.

Every time it rained in those days, the surrounding villages became flooded quickly as the river and canals overflow. The seven wells and water channels acted as part of a stormwater management system.

It is so hidden, isolated, relaxing and peaceful here, one will find many ‘ponteng” school students ‘lepaking’ here.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, f4, 1/1250 sec.

The Journey Begins

This is the start of a new photo essay on the first interstate main road of Malaysia; the Federal Route 1. It spans over 800 kilometers, beginning at the border with Singapore, and ending at the border with Thailand. Constructed in stages from around 1909, it was the backbone of Peninsular of Malaysia until it was supplanted by the newer North-South Expressway in the 1980s and 1990s.

I hope to visit some of the landmarks and towns along the old route and record the many long lasting effects on the landscape. While the impact may not be as severe as the decay of the famous and longer Route 66 of America, little is documented of the decline of the many once-bustling towns on our historic Federal Route 1.

The journey north from KL to Ipoh used to begin at Bulatan Kuching. Travelers were soon greeted by a hilly and winding road into Templer’s Park. The Kanching Falls, along with pristine forests and streams were once popular attractions for KL residents. From Route 1, motorists can still see this landmark limestone and granite monolith that is part of Bukit Takun. It is now surrounded by gated housing and a golf course, though.

Next stop is the first stopover town of Rawang. Follow me on this fascinating journey.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, f11, 1/640 sec.