I was in Kolkata in West Bengal, exploring the halls of Victoria Museum, when I suddenly realized that I had been gazing at the photos of an important Malaysian historical figure, from whom a city in Malaysia was named. I scrutinized his face to somehow connect the person with the “idea” of a royalty. In several photographs, he would be seen posing alongside important British officers and Indian nationals. This would be the flock that would populate high society of the mid-1900’s in colonial India.
And he was Almarhum Sultan Sir Hisamuddin Alam Shah ibni Almarhum Sultan Sir Alaeddin Sulaiman Shah – better known as Shah Alam!
In his photos, Shah Alam looked young. Nothing particularly imposing, except for his snazzy get-up. I tried remembering his face as I write this. Google can’t even provide a photo. So the archives at the Victoria provide a very interesting glimpse of a ruler who, like some historical figure, has a patchy succession history – he had 2 elder brothers who were supposed to takeover their father’s Shah-ship.
If you have been reading snippets of my travels, you would know how I constantly look for new places to discover for myself when I am out of the country. This thirst for new places usually takes me to places that aren’t exactly at the top of the list of places that most tourists visit. But I like it that way. One day, a few months ago in Kuala Lumpur – I set my sights on Shah Alam. I am aware of its famed Blue Mosque – nothing else. I wasn’t even sure how to get there.
I walked to the nearby Rapid KL train – Pasar Seni station – then headed to KL Sentral (for RM 1 or $0.29)– the main hub. Then I bought a KL Komuter train ticket to Shah Alam (RM 2.50 or $0.72). It was that easy! From Platform 5 – at the red line, where I waited for my ride. My train left at 10:45 AM.
I was looking around, marveling at how well maintained the train-cars were. As the train slid past communes, I noticed the residential complexes along Subang Jaya. 11:15 – Batu Tiga. And before I knew it, I was already in Shah Alam (11:20)!
Eye in the Sky continues next post with the Blue Mosque.