Changes over the years
Favorite thing: Picture 2 - Long ago, I remember St. Anne Church was small with everyone just gathering on the steps of stairs leading up to the Church and staying there on overnight during St. Anne's festival.
Picture 1 - Today, it has grown with a new Church with a large plaza for the large number of people who come here on the annual festival of St. Anne's Day.
Though the new church is bigger, the small older one always seem more significant and meaningful.
One year there was a tragedy when overcrowding at the passenger ferry terminal caused the collapse of the wooden flooring leading to death and injury. That year, many people were trying to get to the Penang Mainland to the St. Anne's festival while others were trying to get to Penang Island for the Birthday of the Goddess of Mercy celebrationg. Both events were happening on the same day. Today, the new passenger terminal has concrete floors.
An Educational center
Favorite thing: Bukit Mertajam is famous for secondary schools in Penang Mainland for decades.
The Jit Sin Secondary School (formerly a Chinese medium schoo), Bukit Mertajam High School and BM Convent School (both formerly English medium schools).
It was in Bukit Mertajam where the first experimental governemnt project of a fully residential science secondary school in Penang was located and built.
Many students from smaller neighboring towns in Penang and Kedah would come here to attend schools as the bigger schools have classes in Form Four and above as well as Sixth Forms which were preparatory A-level classes for universities.
In the picture, the Jit Sin (Private) School is located right in the heart of town.
An old railway town
Favorite thing: Bukit Mertajam was a major railway hub for both passengers and cargo.
If you drive to Bukit Mertajam, you will encounter a surprising number of railway crossings everywhere. There is one coming from the short cut from Permatang Tinggi and two coming from Permatang Tengah.
Reason is that the railway track from Singapore, Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok passes through and it is the major stop in Penang. The railway terminus from Butterworth joined up the main line at Bukit Mertajam.
Nowadays, there are more road overhead bridges over railway tracks and train passenger have dwindled. The golden age of railway has passed.
St. Anne Church, built in 1888
Favorite thing: St. Anne's Church is famous in northern Malaysia. The annual celebration and gathering during every last July's weekend invite Catholics from all over the country to vow and to votive.
The church is located along Jalan Kulim in a big compound. It has it's hall opposite the road.
Fondest memory: I had my experience during teenager to join with friends to attend St. Anne's gathering, mixed and pushing into the crowd holding the candle to reach the St. Anne Statue on the small hill to vow. It was in the 1980's.
At that time, there was not many cars, the road was blocked.
Now, traffic is heavy and Jalan Kulim being a busy road. It is not a problem as St. Anne has an assembly hall just opposite the church across the road.
- Arts and Culture
St. Anne's Hall
Favorite thing: I attended a GST seminar on 19 Oct, 2014. The organizer picked this hall as it can sit 1500 audiences.
It is a big hall in Bukit Mertajam. There are 4 badminton courts in the hall, and the stage is big and wide too. The washrooms are behind the hall.
The St. Anne's Church is just opposite the hall in a bigger compound along Jalan Kulim. The church was built in 1888 but the hall is new.
- Arts and Culture