Monday, May 20, 2013

Karachi's Historical Building

Frere Hall

It is a beautiful building built an honour of Henry Bartle Edward Frere during British Raj, in 1863 and was opened in 1865 by Samuel Mansfield, the Sindh Commissioner. Edward Frere was recognised by British Raj for his contribution in promoting economic development in Karachi. The hall is located along Abdullah Haroon Road and Fatima Jinnah Road, in front of Marriott Hotel. In 2011, after the US Embassy shifted to their new building somewhere near Boat Basin, it was open for public and tourist are allowed to stop and taking pictures. I've been chased away by the rangers many times from 2007 till 2011. It was a great reliefs when no one stopped me on 16th May 2013.

Empress Market

Also built by British Raj in Saddar Town municipality between 1884 and 1889, was named to commemorate Queen Victoria, the Empress of India. Empress Market is a most popular and busy places for shopping in Karachi, reflecting 1 of the few historical spots of the city. Commodities sold in the Empress Market range from condiments, fruits, vegetables, sea foods, meats, textiles and pet shops. Cheah Lee brought me here on my first week in Karachi in July 2007 to buy sea foods for cooking. The fish head used to be free, was charged only at Rs50 (RM3) at that time but later the price gone up as mostly Malaysian and Chinese made a market of it. Cheah Lee, the animal lovers also brought me here where I bought my first Smoked Grey Persian, Kitty. What a memory.      

Karachi Municipal Corporation (KMC) Building

This historic building is located at M.A. Jinnah road being an iconic status as one of the landmark structures of Karachi. It's foundation stone was laid down in 1927, construction was completed in 1930.  The police patrol car was trying to stop tourist to snap a photo of the building, therefore, it is advisable to come in early morning when there's no crowd should you wish to enjoy the building's beauty.   

Clock Tower at KPT Tower junction

From M.A. Jinnah road heading towards KPT Flyover, a proud standing British clock tower can be seen from far greater distance. It is connected to II Chundrigar Road, best known as financial street where mostly banks headquarters were located at. The clock is another British heritage in Karachi city.

Karachi Port Trust (KPT) Administrative Building

KPT is a Pakistani federal government agency that oversees the operations of the Port of Karachi, Sindh. Between 1880 and 1887, the port was administered by the Karachi Harbour Board. KPT was established by the Act IV of 1886, effectively on 1st April 1887. The port is located between Kiamari and Saddar town. The British (under British Raj) built the port who at that time, were very concerned about Russian expansion towards the Arabian Sea. They occupied Karachi in 1839 and latter the whole of Sindh where the port was properly built in 1880's. KPT's building was completed during the First World War which then converted to a 500 bed military hospital. 

EFU Life Insurance Pakistan

EFU is 1 of the largest insurance house in Pakistan. The company was originally registered in 1932 in Calcutta, India. They moved to Karachi with the formation of Pakistan in 1947 and rapidly established itself as the leading insurance company in the country. It's administrative building stand next to KPT's headquarters.

Below shop British Raj building, located not far from Frere Hall used to accommodate few travel agents and air lines company. We used to pass by the building daily to go to work as our rented office was located along the Shara-e-Faisal road.

Whilst, below photo is the Madina City Mall also famously known to Malaysian as Zainab Market where we came here shopping for leather goods and textiles. The price is comparatively very low compared to Malaysia. It is a common place to bring tourist to Zainab Market.

Saddar Town is a heaven for shopping. It is the central business district of Karachi. Saddar is the hub business activities in Karachi and is one of the oldest parts of the city. Many beautiful examples British Colonial architecture ca be found here. 

Some of the prominent British Colonial building was taken over by the banks as can be seen in below photo of Al-Falah Bank in M.A. Jinnah road.

Another bank occupied this historical building, also at M.A. Jinnah Road is HBL (Habib Bank Limited), 1 of the largest local bank in Pakistan.

To be continued.... 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Karachi - Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Park

Date of visit: 16th May 2013

I was in Karachi when the late Benazir Bhutto was shot dead in Islamabad during her campaign back in 2007. She died on 27th December 2007 whilst we were stuck in a very heavy traffic due to sudden riots in Karachi city following her assassination. It was a cruel death and the aftermath was even terrible. My family was with me at that time. Later, we demob our selves and only returned when the company directed us to go back once the situation has calmed down.

After her death, her party, Pakistan People's Party (PPP) had won big in 2008 general election leaving a presidential seat left wide open for her husband, Mr 25%, Asif Zardari. The night PPP's won, again, I was stuck in a car after coming back from an event at our Consulate Office. It was another chaos as PPP's celebrate it in a strange way. They were using all sorts of gun that I've never seen (with wide open eyes) and shooting in the air while dancing and singing. We were stuck around the huge supporters right in front of Benazir Bhutto's house in Clifton for almost one hour. It was horror night.

Thereafter, the PPP started building a park in Boat Basin to remember her. The construction begun in late 2008 and officially opened by Senator Mrs Almas Perveen on 30th June 2010. It was not really open after that due to numerous repair works and for some reason, it was always closed whenever I visit in 2011 and 2012.

It was my lucky morning, when I asked Daim to stop and checked on 16th May 2013, during my mission of taking photography in Karachi City to replace the lost memories, it was confirmed open. 

With my camera hang on my neck, the guard tried explaining that photograph is not allowed. I merely nodded without even had a slight intention to follow what he said. It was wonderful inside despite a strong smell of the basin filled my nostril. 

The selections of flowers planted in the park are all to my liking. There's Gerber Daisy, Sunflowers, shrubs floral and Bougainvillea. 

Finally, I wish to record that the Boat Basin area was a very special place for me to hang out. I used to come here a lot after I discovered the place from Kamila Shamsie's novel "Kartography". Kamila is a Pakistani writer who wrote a numerous novel, she also attended nearby Karachi Grammar School just like Benazir Bhutto. I love her writing as much as I love Karachi. To end this entry, I would like to share 1 last photo of Boat Basin where, the local restaurant, Nihari Inn, the book store selling second hand books where I was a regula customer. Boat Basin is indeed a nice place to hang out provided you don't mind so much of the city's dirtiness and the smells.

Hope you have been enlightened with the photos and the story of the park. Thank you.

Photography in Karachi, 16th May 2013

I've been away for few days, attending business meetings in Karachi. It was my first trip to Karachi from Kuala Lumpur in 2013. I was happy with the trip though my sleeps was pretty much disturb due to time difference and jet lag. 

The homeless guy wandering around at Light House street

I managed to collect a year business visa, multiple entry, from High Commission of Pakistan located in Jalan Ampang on Monday afternoon, 13th May 2013 after successfully submitted a completed form that morning. Airline ticket was booked and confirmed thereafter. 

Chai (tea) @ Doodpathi time at early morning

Emirates flight, B777-300 was an hour delayed on 14th May 2013 as 1 of the runaway was closed for maintenance by KLIA management. We departed at 11.10am and had to ques for a while in Dubai Airport as the same thing also happened in Terminal 3. It was less than an hour for the next connecting Emirates flight to Karachi, thus, I walked like a mad person not wanting to miss a flight.

Labourer for hire at Tin Talwar

I finally reached Jinnah International Airport at around 6.30pm local Karachi time @ 9.30pm Malaysia time, thus concluded a 12 hours journey from KL to Karachi via Dubai. As we were late, we decided to went straight from Airport for our dinner appointment with Malaysian Consulate General and his lovely wife at Oakra Restaurant, in 10th Street of Zamzama. 

Milk man at KPT flyover

The food was excellent but the get together with a lovely couple was even great. I always love having their company whenever I was in town. 

Groups of Jahangir Kothari Park worker's who refused to open gate for me to take pictures

After we were done with the discussions and meetings, I was quite happy to proceed with my personal plan, taking photos in Karachi city to recapture all loses photo that I took since 2007-2011. I wish to share some of them in here as a teaser.

Stay tune for my next entry about Karachi. Finally I wish to extendmy sincere appreciation for thise who visiting my page. It gives me lots of motivation to continue with my writings.

Thank you,
1.20am on 18th May 2013

Sunday, May 12, 2013

National Mosque of Malaysia

Event date: 11th May 2013

National Mosque is our Malaysian heritage located in the heart of city centre, Kuala Lumpur. I feel ashamed to admit that yesterday was my first visit to the nation pride. But I hope, it will not be the last. A 73 metre high minaret with a backdrop of white clouds and blue sky catches my breath away at 8.05am, later I shared below photo in my instagram. How beautiful.

On the way to the washroom with my sister before the class commenced at 8.30am, I was told that the it will be more beautiful if the fountain is working surround the main prayer area. As soon as my sister finished her statement, a splash of water from a number of fountain made us both turn and gave a small laugh. Indeed, it was beautiful. Thus, I reminded my sister that heaven is actually a reflection on earth if we choose to appreciate God's natural beauty with what man's made creation.

The memory of Blue Mosque in Istanbul was in my thought when I was went inside

There was about 15 minutes before the class when I decided to explore and snapped some photos to share in my blog. I went in alone at the main prayer hall before I was stopped by the mosque assistant that I was not allowed to do so. However, I managed to snap 3 by the time he stopped me.

So at peace

Malaysia gained independence from the British on 31st August 1957, 56 years ago. Soon after, few major development programs in areas of economy, social and architecture were actively implemented in line with the new government. The programs were also to portray new progressive culture and achieved democracy. Therefore, a proposal laid out in the meeting of the Federal Executive Council to build a National Mosque as a symbol of the country’s independence was approved. 

In another meeting a year later, Chief Ministers of the 11 states of the Federation Malaya, a proposal was made to name the mosque as Masjid Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj, the first Prime Minister, in recognition of his efforts in guiding the country to gaining independence. However, Tunku refused this honour; on the contrary he named it Masjid Negara in thanksgiving for the country’s peaceful independence without bloodshed.

The Masjid has a capacity of 15,000 people, situated among 13 acres of beautiful gardens. The original structure was designed by a 3 person team from the Public Works Department, UK architect Howard Ashley and 2 Malaysians architects, Hisham Albakri and Baharuddin Kassim. The mosque was built in 1965 on the site of a church, the Venning Road Brethren Gospel Hall which had stood there since 1922. 

The mosque is a bold and modern approach in reinforced concrete, symbolic of the aspirations of a then newly-independent Malaysia. Its unique modern design embodies a contemporary expression of traditional Islamic art calligraphy and ornamentation. 

Its key features and attractions are a minaret that can be seen from distance and a 16 pointed star concrete main roof. The umbrella, synonymous with the tropics, is featured conspicuously. The main roof is reminiscent of an open umbrella, the minaret's cap a folded one. The folded plates of the concrete main roof is a creative solution to achieving the larger spans required in the main gathering hall. Reflecting pools and fountains spread throughout the compound.

The mosque underwent major renovations in 1987. The once pink concrete roof is now clad in green and blue tiles. Today, Masjid Negara continues to stand sleek and stylish against others Kuala Lumpur skyline and despite many others new mosques built later in Putrajaya.

I had a purpose of capturing the above photo, which clearly show rows of beautiful columns supported the umbrella roof, the decorative & unique ceiling and beautiful tiles that accommodates more people during obligatory Friday prayer to Muslim's man.

An underground passage leads to the National Mosque located near the railway station, along Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin and adjacent to it is once Petronas famous Dayabumi in 80's and POS Malaysia. Near the mosque is the Makam Pahlawan (Heroes' Mausoleum), a burial ground of several Malaysian politicians. Makam Pahlawan is a 7-pointed star concrete roofed structure. I promise that I will blog about it later.

The tourist started queuing in line to explore the mosque at 8.30am. It was a main entrance to Masjid for the tourist and a dedicated pathway was line up for easy guides. The cloth cover to hide female bodice is being provided by the Masjid (seen in above 2 photo).

A closer view of the Railway Station which becoming our other pride beside the National Mosque and the historic building, Sultan Abdul Samad in above photo. Whilst, below photo is a far distance view of our KL Tower seen from the Masjid.

The main purpose I was there yesterday was to join a class conducted by Ustaz Basit from my native home town, Kelantan. Ustaz Basit is my sister's favourite religious teacher and he happened to provide 2 hours lecture at the Mosque Education Hall on Figh, Solah subject.

I took my sister's photo in the lecture hall, she was a bit embarrassed but I like the background which suited her abaya. Don't you think so?

In return, she took my photo with a beautiful laid mosaic as background near the exit of the lecture hall.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Karachi - Dreamworld, Final Part

Checked in : 29th November 2009
Checked out : 30th November 2009

The final part of this entry is an exclusive record for our 2 family. We remain a family of 6 but they have grown from a family of 3 to a family of 5. How times fly and distance can create a difference. In 2010, we shifted back to Malaysia whilst they moved to Islamabad and recently to Jakarta. We hope, 1 day we would be able to reunite and arranged a trip like this again.

It took a while to pack, get ready for check out, had lunch and get everyone in a car to go back to Karachi. It's a little tougher for a family with little baby but ours, not so. We waited at the chalet cosy reception area.

But for someone, they don't yet have enough with playing. Nasrul at the age of 11.

We girls, went to check baby Zara then. She was ready and smiling widely to us but we smiled to the camera.

One last shot of the artificial beach from a far distance. A very pleasant view.

Best friend gave a final pose.

With our spouse too, 2 happy couples.

Baby for sale. This was taken while waiting for Nasrul's favourite dishes, Club Sandwich.

Happy family faces. We miss you.

And a happy couple. Happy mother's day to me, 12th May 2013 and Happy Birthday to my beloved, 11th May 2013. Love you always.