Lam Looking building in Laxamana Road, Ipoh was destroyed by fire. Heritage buffs rejoiced when they heard that the bazaar had a new owner who was to restore it. Sure enough it was fenced and the rubbish cleared, but since then nothing has happened. Does anyone know when and what is happening next?
The Top pic is the side and front and the bottom the rear view including the spiral staircase.
For those who don’t know the history, It was built as ‘A stylish Art Deco building from 1931, with sweeping horizontal lines, featuring Early Modernist stair-wells.
The Celestial Cabaret and hotel upstairs was a favourite haunt of European expatriates. During the war, Japanese military officers patronised the cabaret which was also a Japanese casino (gambling farm) during the Occupation and a grenade target during the Emergency.
However, the cabaret eventually lost its clientele and was transformed into the Movieland Theatre. This was a cinema that specialised in Cantonese Opera movies that were very popular with the older members of Ipoh’s Chinese residents. But again, all good things come to an end and the theatre was replaced by the Perak Emporium.
As the Perak Emporium it was a major shopping centre from when it opened in the late 1960’s until it closed in the late 1980’s. It also had retail shops at street level, with smaller lots fronting an oval courtyard. Lot No. 8 was journalist Ahmad Noor Abdul Shukor’s “Blue Room”. Fook Seng, at Lot No. 6 retailed gramophones, keronchong songs and Arabic music.
However, the business went into decline around the time that the new store “Super Kinta” opened just along the road and that was the death knell of this grand old building which deteriorated thereafter.
Lam Look Ing, a Nam Wei Cantonese, was born in Penang in 1864. Trained as a naval officer in Foochou, he established himself as a tin-miner in Kampar and a large property owner in Ipoh.’