This page is intentionally
left grey in memory
THE PENANG BRIDGE is a 13.5 km long bridge stretching from Seberang Prai on the mainland to Gelugor on the island, this is one of many architectural wonder in Malaysia and was officially opened in September 1988, offering a beautiful view of the open sea, ships and a sprawling coastline.
Penang has a very rich culture, crowned as the "Pearl of the Orient, - a tourists' favourite. Being one of the most heavily invested States in Malaysia by foreign investors, you can find big IT names with state-of-the-art manufacturing plants locate here. (Dell, Compaq, Motorola, HP, Gateway 2000, Seagates and even your "Intel inside" CPUs most likely originate here, just to name a few).
It was officially opened by our visionary Prime Minister, Dato' Dr. Mahathir in 1985. It ranks as the longest bridge in Asia and 5th largest in the world. The Penang Bridge costs RM 800 million and took 5 years to build. Before the bridge was built, people depended upon ferry services to cross the Penang Straits.
Even with the Penang Bridge, the ferry service operated by the highly efficient Penang Port Commision remains very popular with those who prefers a conventional way of transport that is economical (especially for the lower income group). After all, the service is synomynous with the way of life of the locals for the past one century.
Where there are rich cultures, there will be rich traditions as well. On 31st of July 1988, locals celebrated not one, but, two religious celebrations separated by a day. The Christians, celebrates at St Ann Church at Bukit Mertajam,- a small town and not far away from Butterworth, the location of the ferry terminal. The one other event (even bigger in scale) was at the "Goddess of Mercy Temple" on the Penang island where in the year 1988, devotees celebrated the one-in-every 60-year celebration.
People gathered from all parts of the world and country to commemorate these special events which was highly publicised in most media and tourist's promotion agencies.
To retain the rich heritage and culture of Penang, much of the city's original outlook was retained by the local town planners. This dual festival gave rise a large flow of traffic in terms of people and cars. Most of out of town visitors preferred to leave their cars and vehicles at the ferry terminal at Butterwoth and use the ferry services to cross over to the beautiful island during the few days.
It was messy. The enormous number of people using the ferry service was difficult to handle, numbering up to about tens of thousand at any given time. Thus, creating congestions at the ferry terminal. OLD structures at the jetty terminal could not handle this kind of load, and it collapsed. 32 people lost their lives and a thousand others injured. A Royal Enquiry was set up to investigate the cause of this tragedy. Thereafter, new guidelines and measures were imposed to ensure the safety of current users. This incident remains as one of the most horrendous tragedy in the peaceful country of Malaysia.
* Mr Foo Kok Kin, ex-newspaper photographer and an active member of the PSM (Photographic Society of Malaysia) together with his son, Foo Say Boon were on their way to the celebrations to capture some snapshots and useful images of the occasion. As they were part of the crowd on the jetty, they too were victims of the jetty's collapse. The photographer witnessed and managed to capture a substantial amount of pictures before & after the incident. These pictures were used in the inquiries. Being an ex-reporter, Mr Foo recorded those tragic moments, despite being injured personally. Some of the images presented here are merely a "recording" of a tragedy - not intended just for display or art purposes but most importantly, to remind all of us that a tragedies of such nature never be allowed to happen again. Mr Foo and all involved in the creation of this page does so with all respects to the victims, and offer their sincere apologies if any hurt is caused to victims and their immediate family members.
Tel: 605 2548861
FAX 605 2531995
Hand Phone: GSM roaming 012-5888861
| Back to Kok Kin's HomePage | Back to PSM Showcase |