Ipohworld's World

Saving Yesterday For Tomorrow
  1. Ipoh Remembered says:

    Dear Mike

    Kinta Heights, as viewed from the New Town side of the river.

    The tower was built where Ipoh’s second “Main Market” used to be.

  2. ika says:

    Ipoh emembered, Yes it is Kinta Heights adjacent to Patrick Street market.

    I remember that some time earlier you mentioned Patrick Street market as one of Ipoh’s three markets and I thought that you were going to tell us more about these. Now you mention Ipoh’s second Main Market and I am becoming confused.

    Can you help me out by explaining the relationship/chronology of your “Main Market”, Patrick Street Market, the Old Town market in Market Street and the new Town Market.

    Thank you in anticipation.

    • Ipoh Remembered says:

      Dear ika

      Here is a list of Ipoh’s three “main markets” (in order of construction):

      1. At the river end of Market Street.

      2. Where Kinta Heights now stands.

      Both of those were in Old Town. Both were too small even when they were built; and both were dangerously unhygienic when flooding occurred.

      Then the third “main market” was built:

      3. Between Laxamana Road and Togo Road south of Foo Choo Choon Street.

      I call these three “main markets” because they were each the biggest market in Ipoh when they were in operation. All three were built and maintained by the colonial governments of the day. In previous comments I think I’ve mentioned relevant dates, the struggle to obtain funding, the choice of architects and engineers, as well as other specifics recalled more or less at random.

      So much for what I call Ipoh’s “main markets.”

      There were always smaller markets of various kinds in Ipoh, including the original Yau Tet Shin Market (and then the second Yau Tet Shin Market built on the same site as the first); plus, somewhat later, markets built in out-lying areas, such as the one built in Canning Gardens at some point.

      • IKA says:

        Thank you for that. What bothers me is that I cannot find any history of the main market now under Kinta heights, nor of Patrick Street Market which may or may not be an extension of the first.
        We have a postcard of the Market Street market, photos and words on The Yau Tet shin Mew town Market and the YTS octagonal market but nothing about the others.

        Does anyone out there have anything to help me please.

        • Ngai C O says:

          Hi,

          The Old Town Market, which we fondly knew as the first Ipoh Market, was still around until Kinta Heights was built. Some stalls operated until the demolition.

          My mother and I had been to it a few times.

          Perhaps, talking to the older generations would shed more information about it, albeit anecdotal, at this point in time.

        • Ipoh Remembered says:

          Dear IKA

          Thank you for that. What bothers me is that I cannot find any history of the main market now under Kinta heights, nor of Patrick Street Market which may or may not be an extension of the first.

          The “Patrick Street market,” as you call it, and “the main market now under Kinta Heights” … are one and the same. I’ve written reams about it in these pages!

          • ika says:

            Yes Ipohn Remembered, you have written about the markets before. The trouble with the blog approach is that there are different parts of every story on different blog subjects, as inevitable people wader away from the main thrust.

            Thus the editors have to struggle to keep up and often fail.

            I would not wish to limit posts to any specific subject, but in cases like the Ipoh markets it would be helpful if you could put it all in one place for us. perhaps by email or as a pdf article for the database.

    • Ngai C O says:

      Hi,

      Kinta Heights, Waller Court and Sungai Pari Towers were were the initiatives of the Peoples Progressive Party, which controlled the Municipal Council, to move people out of slum conditions into more decent housing.

      Did it succeed? Yes and No.

      Kinta Heights is the only building in a decent state of affairs. I am not sure about its lifts, though.

      Waller Court is in a right bad shape and Sungai Pari Towers is more or less abandoned.

      The project did move people into much better living conditions without having to live under a dripping roof, with tap water, electricity and proper toilets.

      The flats were too small and the design layout far from conducive for comfortable living.

      Sungai Pari Towers became a suicide spot.

      I am not sure why the occupancy dwindled. What I can say is that they had outlived their original purpose as the population became more affluent to be able to move into bigger, better and affordable premises that sprung up all about town some years later.

      Some blocks of flats near the fountain adjacent to the Menteri Besar’s residence also met the same fate. They were built much later and were slightly better than the ones described.

      This is my line of reasoning. Others might have different views.

  3. Ipoh Remembered says:

    Dear Ngai C O

    I agree with you about the PPP’s objectives — and professionalism. I think, too, that Ipoh’s excellent town-planning programme preceded the PPP by several decades. Of course, I can’t say much about how things are run these days.

    As I have said before, I don’t know much about the Kinta Heights development. I do remember that NCK is an admirer (and I assume for good reason) of its fire-control systems and perhaps other safety mechanisms.

    About the Sungai Pari Towers and Waller Court: Do you know when conditions and occupancy began to decline?

    As for the flats built near the fountain that you mention, what street were they on? Were they on Hugh Low Street?

    Thanks for sharing the photograph!

  4. Ngai C O says:

    Hi Ipoh Remembered,

    If you would recall, when Ipoh first developed, it was a ramshackle of buildings. I believe a big fire occurred. The administration intervened with a model based on a grid system and lessons learned from the great fire of London.

    Buildings had to be separated at a certain distance from each other to prevent fire from spreading. Each building had a fire wall that extended above the roof that served the same purpose. Hence the roof capping one sees separating one roof from another. Building and road layout were designed on a grid system.

    Kinta Heights was the last to be built. I think lessons were learned from the from the first two projects in the sense it was more spacious and by which time fire prevention measures had improved or were brought up to current standards due to the high occupancy rate.

    As for the decline of Waller Court and Sungai Pari Towers, I think it began around 1980 onwards. The decline also coincided with the economic crash around the time – tin price collapse and tin exhaustion, rubber price depression and world economic malaise.

    Ipoh was badly affected as it depended solely on tin and rubber as its economic driver. The majority of the people living in these flats relied on these factors for their lively hood.

    Remember, there was a mass exodus to places like KL, Singapore and aboard to seek a living. Overnight, Ipoh became a dead town.

    This was one reason for their decline. Another reason was that people living there by now could afford to move into better conditions as house prices were still very cheap at the time. Compared to a house, who in the right mind would live in a cramped flat slightly better than Hong Kong.

    As for the flats that I referred to, yes, they were to the left of Hugh Low Street going into town. It was a short sighted development riding on the backs of the three developments.

    Further down opposite Sam Tet was another block of flats that is facing the same fate now – run down and dilapidated. I think it had something to do with Foo Yat Kai’s son, Foo Wan Kien, as City Motors was based there.

    • Ngai C O says:

      Hi Ipoh Remembered,

      I would like to add another few points.

      Many of the occupants in the flats were hawkers, small time traders and employees of shops in town.

      They lived from hand to mouth on a small income to keep the family above the water. Compare this to the civil servants who did not have to worry when their next day’s income would come from.

      Also, their children by now were better educated having university qualifications and better job prospects. There must be other uplifting factors as well.

      By which time as I might have said before, the demand for such accommodation declined and people opted for better living conditions as their aspirations were fulfilled.

  5. Ipoh Remembered says:

    Dear Ngai C O

    Thanks much for your detailed notes.

    Yes, there were a few big fires that re-shaped early Ipoh. And three fire-stations were built within 25 years: the third of these was built on Brewster Road in 1913 (and was later expanded).

    As for the decline of Waller Court and Sungai Pari Towers, I think it began around 1980 onwards [for reasons having to do with "tin price collapse and tin exhaustion, rubber price depression and world economic malaise"]

    Thanks. Going by your estimate, it appears those housing developments had a useful life of not more than twenty years, which is unfortunate, because a fair amount of thought was put into their planning.

    Many of the occupants in the flats were hawkers, small time traders and employees of shops in town. They lived from hand to mouth on a small income to keep the family above the water. […] Their children were better educated having university qualifications and better job prospects. There must be other uplifting factors as well.

    Good points. I wonder if anyone has done research to document these economic and demographic changes.

    Remember, there was a mass exodus to places like KL, Singapore and aboard to seek a living. Overnight, Ipoh became a dead town.

    I suppose I’m glad I was not in Ipoh to watch this decline.

    As for the flats that I referred to, yes, they were to the left of Hugh Low Street going into town. It was a short sighted development riding on the backs of the three developments. Further down opposite Sam Tet was another block of flats that is facing the same fate now – run down and dilapidated. I think it had something to do with Foo Yat Kai’s son, Foo Wan Kien, as City Motors was based there.

    I have no clear memory of flats opposite Sam Tet School, but I do remember a small development at that end of Hugh Low Street. The latter was built by the Foo family; I don’t know about the former.

    Thanks again.

    • Ngai C O says:

      Hi Ipoh Remembered,

      Ipoh was a very depressing sight when the tin price collapse descended. One minute it was thriving and the next minute, everything caved in. Many people at the time were sort of in denial and asked how could it happen.

      It was in the early 70s, with inside knowledge, that I already knew the day would come, sort of. I started planning my future after a potential project that I was sounded to have the opportunity to be involved with was scuppered by the company. Because of an uncertain future.

      Geologists’s reports kept coming in that no new viable reserves were found after years of extensive prospecting. Boring gangs were laid off. I had access to boring results. Other companies also reported the same trend.

      The tin price was not high enough to economically mine lower grade reserves. At the time, for a profitable mine, it had to be about 0.1 kati per cubic yard or thereabout of spoil.

      It sank my heart. Finally, I built up enough guts to move overseas with my family after 7 years of planning.

      My fears became a reality.

  6. Ipoh Remembered says:

    Dear Ngai C O

    It sank my heart. Finally, I built up enough guts to move overseas with my family after 7 years of planning.

    Was it a difficult sacrifice? I admire your acuity, your courage, your planning, and your enterprise.

    Thank goodness we still have ipohWorld!

    • Ngai C O says:

      Hi Ipoh Remembered,

      There was always a risk when one had to uproot the whole family lock stock and barrel to unknown territory to start afresh with limited resources except hard work.

      The only sacrifice was missing the town that I grew up and homesickness for many years because we were so distant from our extended family.

      I really do not miss Ipoh any more except the fond memories. If I have a choice now at this age, I do not mind living in a rural area like Alor Setar because the pace of life is so serene and contented.

      All in all, the move turned out to be the right decision. I had many opportunities to choose from. Aside from the tragic loss of my wife that left me having to bring up my two children and to keep a job, this was my only sacrifice.

      I had a sympathetic employer at the time or rather line manager that allowed me with flexi time. I was able to ride the the troughs and depressions of every day life.

      Our sacrifices have paid off. I can sit back all day to think and do whatever I fancy. I am even causing a bit of mischief like when I was a kid. It is still there. I would write about this antic at some future time.

      Ipoh World is a window for me to keep in touch, reminisce, share and contribute my thoughts about, really anything, that comes to mind.

      I like the exchanges with people that share common interests and a bit of banter here and there.

  7. felicia says:

    Ipoh Remembered, Ngai…

    Thank you for all those bits of information you’ve been sharing thus far. All those little bits, when put together, add up to a rather interesting story.

  8. Ipoh Remembered says:

    Dear ika

    The trouble with the blog approach is that there are different parts of every story on different blog subjects

    And I think you’re right not to insist otherwise.

    Let me see what I can do about the “markets” story, plus I remember that I also owe you a write-up on the Bank of Malaya as well, plus I will send you an updated “river view” article later this week.

    All your hard work is much appreciated.

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