to W-11 Main Page
tram-overheard tram-otherwise tram-overboard  

from the Pakistani press

"a source of excitement and joy ...impossible to forget"
- Dawn (Pakistan's most widely circulated English language newspaper) Dawn internet edition 9 April 2006

"the hit of Festival Melbourne 2006"
- The International News (Jang Group of newspapers) 27 March 2006

"the W11 tram... puts the ‘festivities’ in the Festival Melbourne 2006"
- The Post (Pakistan national newspaper), The Post 27 March 2006

"moving (in more ways than one) testimony to the Pakistani spirit"
- The Post (Pakistan national newspaper), The Post 20 March 2006

= = = = =

Extract from 'Games Diary – 11'
The Post, 27 March 2006 by Dr Aneela Z Babar

“Is here where we line for the jolly tram?” pipes up a voice behind me. We are waiting for the W11 tram, which for me at least puts the ‘festivities’ in the Festival Melbourne 2006, the cultural festival of the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games. The project coordinators Mick Douglas and Durriya Kazi are aware of the irony behind the ‘colonial’ gift of a transport network (the tramways in this case) that Pakistan and Australia share due to a common colonial heritage. The W11 tram came about as a wish statement of imagining a tram running between Karachi and Melbourne. Reflecting strains of Leblanc’s ‘social transportations’ the coordinators encourage us to imagine what W11 can show us of Karachi and Melbourne from our vantage point. I feel that the W11 allows us to celebrate a Pakistani space, ‘previously non-locative’, if I had looked it up in the Melways (the Melbourne street directory), for there are so few public spaces in the city where the Melbourne Pakistani community can actually celebrate ‘being Pakistani’. Other than the choice of mosques that we attend, Pakistanis have few spaces to observe a sense of ‘community’. Members of the Melbourne Pakistani community have few opportunities to embody being ‘Pakistani’, or be proud of it in their everyday life in Australia. With the W11 the community, finally, has a space where they can celebrate their unique culture. So, at the moment, the young Pakistani Australians are indulging in listening to Nur Jehan and Nusrat Fateh on public transport. As they dance in the aisles and come up with their own rituals, they can ‘practice’ being Pakistani in the Karachi 2 Melbourne tram. So if it means that it gives some boys the opportunity to lean outside the windows and holler at members of the public, so be it! Douglas and Kazi describe the project as a ‘claim for the human spirit to not be overlooked in an increasingly homogenizing and homogenized world. A sprit of generosity and lust for life is transported by the W11 as it temporarily encircles the city of Melbourne, as if to radiate
an aura of honour and goodwill outward and onward. The Karachi decorators have built a vehicle reminding us of our simple human capacity to move, and be moved.’

As we board the tram, an animated Mick hands out publicity material explaining the genesis of W11. One small card holds a sample of ‘truck couplets’: Waqt ne mujhey eik baar phir dulhan bana diya, translated by Durriya as: ‘Time makes me bridal once again.’ The team of vehicle decorators from Karachi (Nusrat Iqbal, Muhammad Arshad, Muhammad Nadeem and Safdar Ali) have recreated the interior of a Karachi bus inside the tram: plastic flowers, gilt tissue boxes, flashing disco lights and all. There is a tribute to Melbourne in the intertwined Australian and Pakistani flags on the seat covers and the Australian flag in the mural on the tram ceiling. The smiles on the people along for the tram ride are infectious as Mick hams it up in his role as a tram conductor. My brochure tells me that the coordinators have set up a website where the passengers can read and contribute their experiences of taking a trip on the W11. Reading them later in the evening, I am made aware of further contributions of the project to the Anglo-Australian community, in one instance the lexicon when one coordinator’s web ‘blog’ writes about how “when talking of conducting, one of our Karachi chamak patti guests produced the work ‘connectry’. It’s a nice idea to think of an art of making connections between people, things, experiences, places, cultures…The word was quickly picked up by all of us working on the W11, along with its allied word-concept ‘helpry’.” There is another post by John, from Yarra Trams (the Melbourne tramways company which is collaborating and hosting the project): “After 20 years of working on trams and five years on trains, this is the first time that I have seen people leaving with such a good feeling…a woman in her seventies gleamed as she stepped off the tram alone: ‘the best ride I’ve ever had’.” Another woman riding the W11 tram is quoted as saying, “This is wonderful therapy for fear of Muslims.” For her sake, I hope she was trying to say that she interprets truck art as an example of what is good coming out from the Islamic Art school.

... read the full column at
The Post

= = = = =

Extract from 'The Morning After – I'
The Post, 20 March 2006 by Dr Aneela Z Babar

There have been mixed blessings, Pakistani blessings that the generous budget of the accompanying 12-day Melbourne festival has brought about. A cheery reincarnation of the W11 Karachi bus in a Melbourne tram — please do bear in mind that the city tram is quintessential Melbournian. The dreary morning early next day got an instant lift and commuters felt a trifle cheery by the sight of the flamboyantly decorated city circle tram. The ‘W11 Karachi to Melbourne’ is an attempt coordinated by Mick Douglas (artist and head of the Cultural Transports Unit, School of Architecture & Design at RMIT University), and Durriya Kazi (artist and head of the School of Visual Studies at Karachi University), under the project Tramtactic. A comprehensive analysis of this and other Pakistani contributions to the Melbourne festival will come in the next instalment of my Games diary. But I could not finish this column without mentioning this moving (in more ways than one) testimony to the Pakistani spirit. That it is what one can say defines the Pakistani subaltern rather than the Pakistan state, and that it is something other than cricket we are identified with as a community (as several fellow travelers commented) is what pleases me best. The general consensus of those who have experienced the tram ride has been that the W11 has brought a smile to their lips. Usually tram rides aren’t such a positive experience — one has to after all just grimace and bear with the monotonous routine of our daily grind. But the W11 has made what had been previously lacklustre, pretty special. Mick Douglas was our ‘conductor’ that particular day and he performed his role with gusto. As he recited a list of Karachi landmarks with a generous thump on the tram door, he would have made the smoothest of the silver tongued Karachi conductors proud!! For me it is ironic that to date it had remained improbable that I would ever see the interior of a Karachi W11, say on a busy Saddar street, and so my first experience of stepping in it, had to be on a street corner in Flinders Street. But it has so been worth the wait! The team of vehicle decorators from Karachi has actually kept to their mission of adorning ‘the greatest tram ever seen’.

... read the full column at
The Post

Post to discussion


i have read it here in da paper, and i was surprised and was so happy to hear abut the w-11 in melbourne. i hav been to melbourne, and i think they needed that. it would give them joy and happiness after their hectic day at work. its a great idea to have w-11 in such a popular city. it would also help people to understand the culture of pakistan.

Wednesday March 14