Selected by The Business Times as one of the Best Books of 2014
Recommended by the National Library Board, Singapore and Ministry of Communications and Information
Koh Hong Teng
The Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) train that ran between Singapore and Malaysia for almost 80 years was rerouted to Woodlands Train Checkpoint following the closure of Tanjong Pagar Railway Station—now a gazetted national monument—in June 2011. Based on real tours led by architecture historian Lai Chee Kien, Last Train from Tanjong Pagar follows a group of heritage enthusiasts as they discover Singapore’s railway heritage, and gather with passengers from all walks of life for one final ride out of Tanjong Pagar station. Seamlessly blending fact and fiction, Koh Hong Teng has produced a timely and thought-provoking graphic homage to our trains and not only the physical journeys but also the human connections they have made possible.
“Koh has a gift for illustrating the passing of eras and how just a few years can transform societies physically and philosophically. ****”
—Akshita Nanda, The Sunday Times
“One of the breeziest reads of 2014...Last Train makes you nostalgic about the railway station and other local landmarks with its beautifully spare illustrations.”
—Helmi Yusof, The Business Times
“Last Train from Tanjong Pagar has all the elements of a good graphic novel—a compelling narrative around three-dimensional characters, interwoven with simple, but effective illustrations…All in all, it captures the rich cultural history of not just Singapore’s railway system, but Singapore itself, while keeping the reader engaged through humour and the arresting personal lives of its characters.”
—Avanti Nim, The Business Times
“If there is a subgenre of writing Singapore is becoming alarmingly good in, it is the literature of nostalgia. Hong-Teng Koh’s graphic novel Last Train from Tanjong Pagar continues this ascent, crafting a poignant and visually appealing tale that has the now-inoperative Tanjong Pagar Railway Station as both a setting and a silent protagonist. The parallel stories here resemble rail tracks that go on surprising, distinct journeys of discovery while, together, they become something else: a map of the personal endeavours and sacrifices shaping Singaporean life. This book moves me calmly but muscularly, in ways I have not expected.”
—Gwee Li Sui, creator of Myth of the Stone, in “My Book of the Year”, Singapore Poetry
About the Creator
Koh Hong Teng is a comics artist and painter based in Singapore. He published the two-volume Gone Case: A Graphic Novel, Book 1 and 2, with writer Dave Chua in 2010 and 2011 respectively. In 2011, he received the Arts Creation Fund from Singapore’s National Arts Council in support of Last Train in Tanjong Pagar. The graphic novel Ten Sticks and One Rice, illustrated by Hong Teng and written by Oh Yong Hwee, was published by Epigram Books in November 2012 and won a Bronze Award at the 7th International MANGA Awards. Hong Teng has also produced comics and artwork for the National Library Board’s irememberSG project and Project LAVA respectively, and is an external examiner for final-year illustration projects at Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts.
Size: 255 x 170mm
Published: July 2014