GRAND TOUR – Continued
Sungai Petani was the first town in Kedah state that I reached on my Grand Tour.
Guide books do not devote much space to Sungai Petani since there are no tourist attractions of note in the town.
I wanted to see HSBC’s local branch as I had read that it is probably the most distinctive building of the bank’s Malaysian branches and one of the few that has escaped exterior remodelling or demolition.
It was built in 1929 in Mogul style similar to Kuala Lumpur’s old railway station with a cupola surmounting a turret over the main entrance.
The upper floor used to contain two flats, one for the manager and one for the assistant. When the branch was built there was no air-conditioning. There was an external staircase from the upstairs bathroom leading to the back garden where the gardener used to empty the night-soil bucket in the days before proper plumbing was installed.
Close to the bank is a clock tower built in 1936 as a gift from a Chinese businessman to mark the silver jubilee of King George V.
The SP Golf Club building dating from 1922 is also supposed to be worth seeing but unfortunately I missed it.