Monday, September 19, 2011

Hospital Bahagia murder

Having visited Hospital Bahagia mental hospital in Tanjung Rambutan just a week ago, I was shocked to read there had been a murder just one week later. The Star 19 Sept 11 reports that a 33 year old female patient was attacked and strangled to death by another female patient. This suspect is Cambodian and had only been at the hospital for a day.

Coal fire at Batu Arang

I've posted albums and a blog on Batu Arang in Selangor, see Batu Arang (Star) and Batu Arang chimneys and Batu Arang community hall.

It was interesting to read a piece in The Star on 19 Sept 2011 about an underground coal fire. A house owner had to leave his home because of fumes. They had noticed a burning smell and smoke 2 weeks earlier, and the underground fire worsened.

"The fire – known as mine fire – is the underground smouldering of a coal deposit, probably located under Batu Arang, which is a former coal mining town. The last time such a similar incident took place was in 1992, in Kg Melayu, when part of a school building had to be demolished during excavation works to put out the fire."

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Tanjung Rambutan, Hospital Bahagia Ulu Kinta

Hospital Bahagia Ulu Kinta (HBUK) at Tanjung Rambutan in Perak is a well known mental health hospital and the biggest in Malaysia.

It is located on 544 acre at Tanjung Rambutan, north of Ipoh, and is often known as the Tanjung Rambutan Hospital or Happy Hospital.

The hospital was founded in 1910 and was originally called Federal Lunatic Asylum. In those days it had 3 male wards and 1 for females.

In 1928 it was renamed as the Central Mental Hospital. In the early 1970s the name was again changed, to Hospital Bahagia Ulu Kinta. This was to give a more positive name by removing the image of a mental asylum, and to promote its role as the centre for psychiatric treatment.

The road system around the complex covers 2 km.
Being taken away!
Entrance to kitchen
The kitchen (above)
The old store -
Toilet with a house number
Main area

Store area
One of many ambulances

There are 54 male wards and 25 female, housing over 2000 inmates. These include the less secure farm wards, and 28 more secure wards inside the main complex. The current patient numbers are 1914 male, 500 female. There is a large canteen to feed them.

The Forensic ward is isolated and very secure, inmates are there by court order. Once they are charged they are moved to another forensic ward. Opposite this is an old green building, dating to the 1950s.
secure forensic area (above)
high security
and a guard
Considering the hospital is 100 years old, very few of the old buildings remain. The store and kitchen are amongst the oldest, as well as the green building and the red doctor's house.
Doctor's house
forensic ward

The patients who are relatively stable are allowed to move around, work on the farm and nurseries etc. Some run 'sugar cane corner' where fresh drinks are served, others operate a car wash. We met some of those in Wad Kebun. Others live in individual apartment blocks -

There is a cemetery. Also the Life Science College (Kolej Sains Kesihatan Bersekutu) occupies part of the grounds. This is a nursing college -
Back of the ashrama -

The hospital offers psychiatric training to staff and medical students. The main objective of the hospital is to provide psychiatric treatment rather than simply to house those with mental disorders.

Today Hospital Bahagia Ulu Kinta is the biggest of 4 pyschiatric institutions in Malaysia. It is located across the railway line from the town of Tanjung Rambutan.

I was surprised at the large number of ambulances and vehicles belonging to the hospital.

Hospital Bahagia is celebrating its 100 years in Nov 2011.

Just one week after our visit, a patient was murdered by another.

© Liz Price
No reproduction without permission

Chemor & Tg Rambutan KTM stations

For years now, KTMB, the Malaysian Railway has been doing a double-tracking and electrification project on the west coast line. The northern section, from Ipoh to Padang Besar is now underway. This project was proposed in 2002, then got postponed until 2008 and is expected to be completed in 2013 (according to Wikipedia). The project will also feature a 3.3 km tunnel in Perak, which will become the longest rail tunnel in South East Asia.

Between Ipoh (probably Tasek) and Chemor, the railway line will be re-routed to shorten the distance. Consequently Tanjung Rambuntan and Chemor stations are already closed.
Trains no longer stop at Tanjung Rambuntan, but they do stop at Chemor as they have to do the key drop. The next station to the north where trains stop is Sungai Siput.

Tg Rambutan station -
Tg Rambutan ticket window
The station is now occupied by food stalls.
The back of the station
The old line is overgrown

Driving to Chemor, there are two bridges across the road, for the old and new lines
This is the old line -

Chemor station approach -

Chemor station is now empty. However there is still a station master as trains do stop. Hassan kindly showed us around his office. We saw the machines for the keys - the train drops off a key, which is inserted into the machine which opens the circuit for the train to continue beyond the station.
Chemor key drop

Chemor station opened in 1896. At that time it also served as the post office for about 20 years. It is likely that the station will be demolished. The new elevated track is almost as high as the station building. The new station will be built about 1 km north.


Chemor station was demolished in July or August 2012.

See the demolished view Sept 2013.

© Liz Price
No reproduction without permission