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Clock Towers

(6 June 2007)

 

Clock Tower

Click on covers above to enlarge.

Clock Towers Series II

Wherever in the world they may be, clock towers fascinate us and invariably become landmarks within their respective localities. From the Russian Kremlin's Spasskaya Tower to London's Big Ben, such towers have added aesthetical value to the landscape and skylines of cities, towns and villages across the globe. Malaysia has no shortage of these interesting and functional pieces of architecture, with many of them spread throughout the country and each with its own story to tell.

Pos Malaysia takes great pleasure in introducing more such 'stories' in this second series on Clock Towers.

Many of Malaysia's clock towers are of historical interest. They were built mainly during the heyday of the nation's colonial past. many became the most enduring aspects of the colonial municipal buildings of which they were part. Yet others were constructed as free-standing structures, often in commemoration of an important date or event, and usually located along a major thoroughfare within the town or village concerned. It was also not unusual for many of these clock towers to be built under the financial auspices of well-to-do private individuals of the Malayan society.

The towers served their earlier purpose well, to tell time to generations of people in an era when wristwatches and house clocks were not generally the order of the day. Today, they tell of those times when they were built, when the Malaya then was dramatically different from what Malaysia has now become.

The Birch Memorial Clock Tower, Ipoh, Perak Darul Ridzuan

This ornately constructed clock tower was built in 1909 in memory of J.W.W. Birch, the first Resident of the British colonial administration in Perak. He was assassinated in the early upsurge of Malaysian nationalism that eventually led to the nation's freedom from colonial governance. The original presentation of the History of Civilization around the faces of the tower, which also depicted the Prophet Muhammad, was regarded as controversial and subsequently altered in the 1970s. In spite of the change, this clock tower remained as a significant link to the nation's past.

The Atkinson Clock Tower, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

Completed in 1905, the Atkinson Clock Tower is one of the oldest buildings in Kota Kinabalu. As with many such towers constructed during the era of British Malaya, it was built in commemoration of an important member of the colonial administration. In this case, it was in memory of the first Resident of Sabah, a certain Francis George Atkinson, who unfortunately passed away at the age of 28 from malaria (called 'Borneo Fever' in those days). It originally also served as a lighthouse of sorts, giving positional information to vessels navigating the port of Jesselton, the old name of Kota Kinabalu.

The Big Clock Tower, Alor Setar, Kedah

This eye-catching clock tower was built in 1912 and bears distinctive Moorish influences which some say reflects a blend of Hindu and Islamic motifs. Located along Jalan Putera, near Masjid Zahir, the town's function and destiny appear closely linked with that of the mosque, with its various calls to prayer coordinated with the time as indicated on the clock face. This interesting clock tower rises aesthetically into the heights and gives the town of Alor Setar a major landmark which is both historic and visually pleasing.

Medan Pasar Clock Tower, Kuala Lumpur & Kelantan State Mosque Clock Tower, Kota Bharu

The Medan Pasar clock tower was erected in 1937 in commemoration of the coronation of King George IV. The original memorial plaques were removed some time after Merdeka but the tower remains steadfast until today, right in the middle of the road, in this still very commercial and bustling old quarter of Kuala Lumpur. The sunburst motif at the base of the tower puts it in the mood and style of European art deco, not very commonly found in other clock towers.

In contrast, the clock tower at the Kelantan State Mosque is Islamic at heart, with its Moorish domes and arches. The proportions are formal and strong, lending an official air to the distinctive structure at the heart of Kota Bharu.



Technical Details

Date of Issue 6 June 2007
Denomination 30 sen, 50 sen, RM1
Stamp Size 30mm x 50mm
Perforation 14
Sheet Content 20 stamps
Paper SPM Watermarked, Phosphor Coated
Printing Process Lithography

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