Wednesday, April 1, 2009


I cannot for a moment think of any maiden whether in distress or not that is happy to be in an unexpected and welcome happening but certainly I know I am . Why not? Yesterday while at Baling town, with some moments to spare I gave a concerned look at the only clock tower in the town. Its uncared, mismanaged surrounding and not to speak its own less sparkling dressing marked by months of untouched paintwork would certainly shy many from giving a second glance.
Thankfully I did have a long look and for the first time too. I have been to the town many times. In fact I lived there for two years in 1968 and 1969. Yet I miss this out. You would wander all over the places pulled by all manner of attractions, appreciating and proposing others to do likewise less they miss out on something worthy. Yet right in front of our very eyes; we remained blank. Baling too is no ordinary district or town. It is steeped with it own historical landmark any Malaysian would know.

Clock towers abound. Still not too many in Kedah. There is one in Alor Star and another in Sungai Petani. This one in Baling is the third I believe. Moreover it is ticking and alive. The very moment I passed by it , it struck the hour of 4.00 pm producing a quiet striking sound audible within perhaps a twenty-five yards area. Perhaps its chime that made me look up at its four faced feature. No familiar name or symbol on the clock's face. Still one word stood out: "GENTS". I would agree that I have never come across such a brand name. That would not be left unanswered. Being in Baling specially or in any other parts of the country it would have been days later when you would find an answer to such predicament. No now. Globalization and the internet comes to your rescue. I got an instant answer. 'Gents' is a famous clock maker in England. Gents' clocks are antiques. 'Gents' came to Baling town in 1959 or even earlier.

You can see the clock tower as it stands now, by the side of the main road, in front of the former District Officer, now the Municipal building or Pejabat Majlis Tempatan and in front of the town mosque. Maybe too hemmed in by unwanted trees and side buildings.

Particularly intriguing is discovering the inscriptions at the base of the tower. Here the brief founding and opening of the clock tower could still declare its early story. The laying of its foundation was performed by "YTM Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Ketua Mentri Persekutuan Tanah Malayu pada 21. 8. 1957 : 25.1.1377" and on "Wednesday 25 .2.1959 DYMM Sultan Abdul Halim Muazzam Shah" declared it opened. Particulars of donations from well wishers tells the contributions from the community at that time.

This is an interesting discovery. Much more could be derived. In particular the story of 'Gents' itself and how many other clock towers with the same mechanization in the country could be a story by itself. I would particularly like to see the inside of the Baling clock tower. Surely it calls for a next visit to town.

The Baling Clock Tower with it four sided time-face in front of the town mosque and the Baling hill as its background.

Inscriptions at the base of the clock tower. Notice the spellings as then used

Who contributed and how much they contributed towards their town clock tower all is told here. Am wondering whether we do the same now or we leave this to the authorities only! maybe other towns now need clock towers as well so as to be punctual.

1 comment:

Desert Rose said...


Tq 4 posting this. Will let my hubby read it as he is proud of his hometown.
*shout at me coz I didnt notice the clock hu hu hu, but d one in sp was so significant & nostalgic to me, those days I wont go to my kindy without dad buying me nasi campuq from restoran jam besaq first during his rest days after a rukun tetangga'