The Ghost Train

Near Behrang, I saw what looks like the shell of a KTM Class 82 Komuter train cannibalised at its final resting place.

In its short lifetime, similar trains saw repeated overhauling, refurbishment, conversion and lack of spare parts. The relatively young South Africa-manufactured train has a stormy past.

The arrival of KTM Class 92 in 2012 resulted in the retirement of the entire Class 82 fleet to the train’s graveyard.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, f10, 1/250 sec.

Sleepy Cat In A Sleepy Town

At the entrance of the town (or village) of Behrang Ulu is a striking green-painted shack. It turned out be a fascinating, old school Malay coffee shop.

A banana fritters hawker nearby told me the kedai kopi is opened only in the morning. I think that cat n the chair likes it that way.

Behrang Ulu is quite unique in that it is not only a multi-racial new village but it also has a town sign written in Malay, Chinese and Tamil. Must come again to have coffee and a chat with the locals.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, f4, 1/250 sec.

Sun Setting On A Rest House

The Tanjung Malim Rest House stands like a crumbling monument to an era long gone. There used to be a rest house in every town but only a few have survived or are still operating. Government rest houses are now mostly a British colonial day relic left abandoned and to fade away silently.

This one is unique as it is one of few with the original design from more than a 100 years ago. One of the last caretakers was a Hainanese. Not surprisingly, the rest house was well-known for the food he served.

During its glory days, this rest house not only served as a hotel (or motel) but also as a popular dining venue for royalty, other VIPs and room guests.

Now, the wooden structure is rotting away, the fittings stripped bare and creepers are encircling it in a slow strangle of death. Only thing that will probably remain is the eponymous Rest House Road it stands on.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, f11, 1/320 sec.

The Rusty Bridge

I was told there is a nice waterfall and hot springs in the jungles of Kerling. There is a sign by the main road but it turned out to be quite a long road in. The drive started parallel to a railway track, twisted through rustic villages and ended up alongside rolling hills.

With such picturesque scenery, is easy to miss a follow-through sign, if there was one in the first place. At certain crossroad, road split or T-junction you are on your own.

You can either make a wild guess or an educated guess. At one sign-less junction, I stopped by the roadside and waited a bit. Sure enough, two helmet-less village girls on a motorcycle came flying out. They were speed-drying their wet hair in the wind. By following the road they rocketed out from, it should take me to a swimming area.

The deeper I went, the narrower and lonelier the road became. I think most people driving alone would have turned back. Somewhere along the way, I saw a rusty bridge over a river. Was quite wobbly to walk on but its appearance against the sunny landscape today made the stopover worthwhile.

Panasonic GM-1, ISO 200, f10, 1/400 sec.

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.