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Saving Yesterday For Tomorrow

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No, we’re not predicting the coming election results ;)

This is an article from 1963, from the Straits Times, which reported that PPP (People’s Progressive Party) retained Ipoh.

  1. Ngai C O says:

    Hi felicia,

    Definitely good timing to post the clip!!!!

    Is this the way to go this time round?

    The opposition has to rely heavily on social media being denied mainstream. Unlike the old days when there was at least some decency left.

  2. Ipoh Remembered says:

    Dear felicia

    Sometimes it’s pretty funny how things work out.

    Last week I mentioned the Ipoh Provision Store that used to occupy 132 Belfield Street — “but that’s another story,” said I, unsuspectingly.

    And today, you’ve posted an old newspaper article that includes a photograph of Too Joon Hing.

    Well, Joon Hing’s father, Too Jee Lee, was the proprietor of the old Ipoh Provision Store on Belfield Street!

    (Incidentally, in the linked database item, the name “Tan Joon Hing” is provided, but that’s an error.)

  3. sk says:

    PPP had been Ipoh stronghold in the 60s. Have heard our dynamic speakers spoke including lawyer Khong Kok Yat. I remember he drove a car with the number plate A..777. So in Ipoh, if you see that car with numbers 777, most probably would be his.
    Little is known of him now. He was MP for Batu Gajah 1958 – 1964 info under Wiki
    and ACS Alumni President 1964 – 1971

    • Ngai C O says:

      Hi sk,

      Yes, Kok Yat was one of DR and SP proteges but never made it when the two brothers passed away.

      He was not that charismatic and struggled to deliver speeches in Cantonese.

      When PPP joined the national government, DAP swooped in to wipe it off Ipoh. At the time Lim Kit Siang had an opportunistic streak. But Fan Yew Teng was one of the leading lights and more talented. I am not sure why he fell out with DAP. I think it was DR or SP who won a case for Fan but then he swallowed one of them at the elections.

      Ipoh was and is an opposition bastion. MCA with all its wealth from the rich supporters has never been able to make a dent. Locals called them running —-.

      • Reuben Khong says:

        Hi all,

        I am one of the Kok Yat’s grandson, it’s true that the party fell after the death of the two brothers. In fact, my grandpa had to escaped to England together with his family after the arrest from BN (the usual Mahathir tactics to stay in power).

        I do support DAP as they are the ones delivering their promises unlike the current PPP which is another MCA subgroup; full of dramas.

    • Reuben Khong says:

      Dear SK,

      As long it has one 7 on the number plates, that’s Kok Yat’s family :)

      Two alphabets & 7

      He’s still alive FYI.

  4. Ipoh Remembered says:

    Dear sk

    PPP had been Ipoh stronghold in the 60s. Have heard our dynamic speakers spoke including lawyer Khong Kok Yat.

    Yes, Ipoh was extremely lucky to have been the home of the Seenivasagam family. Over the course of five decades the father and the two sons were giants in the civic life of the town — and they were respected more widely as well.

    The Khong family was equally important. Khong Kam Tak arrived from Penang as a boy in 1899 and enrolled at ACS, then being run by Simpson Wood. After leaving Malaya for Cambridge to obtain a medical degree, then starting his practice in Penang, Kam Tak returned to Ipoh in the 1910s, finding a house for himself near the bridge on Hugh Low Street and immediately throwing his energies into various good works. We recently discussed his creation of the Perak Chinese Recreation Club, for example.

    And yes, I remember Khong Kok Yat as well. He was admitted to the bar in the mid-’50s and went into politics. At one time he was simultaneously member of the Ipoh Municipal Council, member of the Perak State Assembly, and member of Parliament!

    In fact, in those days the Ipoh Municipal Council was famous for the extraordinary intellectual and political power of its members: apart from Kok Yat and the Seenivasagam brothers, others such as Chan Yoon Onn and Manavarayan (better known as R. C. M. Rayan) also held multiple elected positions simultaneously.

    An amusing episode from those days: At one point the Municipal Council’s PPP contingent was so disgusted by the behaviour of the Straits Times that they actually threatened to ban it from the premises of the public library because it had become nothing more than the “mouthpiece of the ruling party.” Such a step would be unthinkable today, of course (albeit because most of its original proponents are now dead).

    Little is known of [Khong Kok Yat] now.

    I was surprised to see no mention of him in the database.

    He was MP for Batu Gajah 1958 – 1964 info under Wiki

    That “1958″ looks like an error. As far as I can recall, there was no relevant election in that year. Kok Yat was elected in ’59.

    He did run again in ’64 but lost.

    ACS Alumni President 1964 – 1971

    Yes, beginning with Dr. Khong, the family was for decades identified with the Methodist church and with ACS. What’s less widely known is that Kok Yat himself started out at St. Michael’s; he switched to ACS after the war.

    ——

    Ngai C O:

    Unlike the old days when there was at least some decency left.

    As you know, there was never a Golden Age — opposition leaders, trade unionists, and other activists were abused from the very beginning, starting even before merdeka, after the war and during the so-called “Emergency,” all the way through 1969 and beyond — but I’m sure you’d agree that recent years have not been like that.

    What we have now is quite different, and would be the envy of such stalwart democrats as Suharto, Marcos, Duvalier, Idi Amin, Reza Pahlavi, and 奕詝, the last true Emperor of China.

    ——

    One other thing: As I said yesterday, the newspaper article posted above includes a photograph of Too Joon Hing. I suppose we should recall that he, too, was an ACS alumnus and at one point a member of the Ipoh Town Council. He was not, however, a member of the opposition; indeed he was one of the MCA’s co-founders.

  5. Reuben Khong says:

    Hi Ngai,

    Khong Kok Yat is still alive but his health is deteriorating since the day he had stroke. Wouldn’t be surprised that he’s not in the database as it has been a long time ago.

    • Ngai C O says:

      Hi Reuben,

      Glad to hear Kok Yat is still around but sad that he had a stroke.

      His name still rings in my ears whenever PPP is mentioned.

      There was talk that he was groomed to take over the PPP at one time. He used to speak after the two brothers at rallies. I was a kid then.

      All these years, I sometimes wondered what became of Kok Yat because he went to ground after PPP’s demise.

      He seemed to be one of the missing links in the PPP fabric.

      The original PPP stuck to its principles; so does DAP. You must be very proud that DAP has found its way to government after all the struggles.

      As for MCA, it has always been a front for self interests in the guise of representing the Chinese community.

      The original PPP including your grandad used to call them running —-.

  6. sk says:

    Thanks Rueben Khong for clarifying that 2 Alphabets A & 7 is belonging to the Khong family & that Mr. Khong Kok Yat is very much alive. We wish him the very best of health.

  7. Ipoh Remembered says:

    Dear Reuben Khong

    It is good to hear about your grandfather and I wish him the very best.

    As I’m sure you know, his contributions to Ipoh were many and momentous. He was a big part of Ipoh’s remarkable success as a municipality.

    Has he written anything about the old days? Has he recounted his memories? Anything in this vein that he has shared with his children and grandchildren would be wonderful to save, and I’m sure the good folk at ipohWorld would be more than interested.

  8. sk says:

    Yes, Rueben Khong – echoed same with Ipoh Remembered. Maybe you can contribute to Ipohworld database on your grandfather contribution to Ipoh.

  9. Robinson says:

    I hope that Ipoh World could do a special report on how the ELECTED Ipoh Municipal Council worked in those days. Now that the new government has signaled it’s intention to hold local elections in three years, it would good for people with memories of an elected local government share their experiences with the current generation who have no exposure to such a thing! Sharing articles from the archives of the newspapers on how campaigning was done, how the councils actually discussed matters, on how the elections was conducted will be good in building a “virtual museum” which could serve as a reference. I humbly suggest that you do so in the earliest opportunity.

    • Ipoh Remembered says:

      Dear Robinson

      That’s a great idea and I hope it comes to fruition.

      Speaking of which, do you have photographs or newspaper clippings or personal (or family) memories that you can share?

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