A Busy 1950’s Street!
This photo came to us via a soldier (who took it) and a policeman (who saved it), both of whom served here during the Malayan Emergency. The picture really needs no explanation, simply two popular modes of transport in the 1950’s. Does any one have any tales to tell us about their ride in either of these two styles of wheeled vehicle?
By the way would anyone like to tell us about this street. The buildings on the left and in the far distance provide the clues.
“Fashions Change, but Fashion Remains”, Ipoh 1930s
Putting up great old photos is always a pleasure and this one is no exception! Taken in Ipoh and probably dating around the 1930s this is a lesson in fashions of the times.
Just look at the styles of clothing old and new, east and west that are included in this group. Front left is a dear old man, not just traditionally dressed but also sporting a very special beard, while on the far right there is a very ‘Western’ lounge suit and what looks like a blazer and flannels (trousers). In the centre of course there is the bride and groom, he in his dark ‘Western’ suit and she in her finest Chinese headress and white gown. They are flanked by the Maid of Honour and Bridesmaid in knee length dresses. What a galaxy of styles!
Taken by a local photographer, outside of what was probably his parents’ grand house, this was an occasion to remember, but does anyone remember for we would dearly love to know who this Ipoh couple were.
Perak’s Most Famous Waterfall
Perak, with its limestone hills has many beautiful waterfalls. Indeed it is suggested that there may well be several not yet discovered in the more remote parts of the state, but this one, Lata Kinjiang, is well known as it can be seen from the North South highway close to Tapah. We have posted it today simply for the joy of this old postcard from the beginning of the 20th century.
However, if you want to see the falls in person, it is possible once you can find the way, which is not obvious. If you are coming from Kuala Lumpur on the highway, exit at Tapah and follow the signs for Chenderiang. Once there, just through the village the road is signposted to the falls. Parking and often hawkers food is available (but not guaranteed to be available) once you reach the falls.
Singing Cockles, No Mussels, Alive, Alive O
You might wonder why these three men are pushing their boat up the Perak River towards Kuala Sepetang, originally known as Port Weld, the site of the first railway in Malaya that connected the port to Taiping Station (the then capital of Perak), rather than doing the obvious thing of riding in it. But the title of this post (with apologies to the composer) may have given you the answer, but if not then a glance at the next picture surely will.
Yes they are bringing in their daily harvest of cockles, for Kuala Sepetang is famous for supplying fresh, machine washed Perak cockles across the Malayan Peninsula and has been for many years. Now there’s a bit of heritage that many people are not aware of, even those who regularly enjoy the little crustaceans.
Kuala Sepetang, as Port Weld once used to export, not cockles, but tin and that was the rhyme and reason why the railway was built in 1884 using Ceylonese labour. But that lucrative business has of course disappeared, nonetheless, Kual Sepetang is still a busy little fishing port and besides the cockles which mostly leave by lorry, is a great place for traditional seafood dishes.
Why not drop in on the friendly folk there and have a restful day off. You know you deserve it! By the way, the prawns are excellent as well and that is personal experience talking.
A House to be Proud Of
This house in Hume Street, New Town, Ipoh is often admired by visitors and locals alike. It has appeared several times on other blogs and it would be a serious omission if we did not include it on ipohWorld’s World as it is a great example of how nice Ipoh could look if other owners cared as much as this one. Just compare this to the shophouse in Market Street on this blog and you will see what I mean.
Hume Street is an interesting place with of course the grand old Panglima Mosque at the end of the street next to the Kinta River. But add to that the other buildings, most of which are in almost original condition, even if not beautifully painted, and you have an ideal street to turn into a small heritage enclave. Wouldn’t that be nice!
The street also contains several Chinese clubs/associations. Perhaps thay could donate some paint for their buildings as the next step to preserving this short street for following generations.
Finally may I offer my congratulations and thanks to the owner of the house pictured. You are an asset to Ipoh.
The E W Birch Memorial – a Point of Confusion
At one time Ipoh sported two Birch Memorials, the clock tower in memory of J W W Birch and this beautiful marble fountain in Belfield Street to honour his son E W Birch. These memorials always seem to cause confusion as today only the clock tower remains and more than one tourism site has misled its readers in the past by talking about the “Birch Fountain”, over a picture of the clock tower.
So this post is intended to set the matter straight. The clock tower was erected in 1909 in memory of J W W Birch, the first British Resident of Perak under the Pangkor Treaty of 1874. He was assassinated by the Malays in 1875 and the moving force for the erection of the towere was his son E W Birch who was the 8th British Resident from 1904 to 1910. It is still with us today although as an earlier post shows the area in which it stands is not always treated well.
The photograph above shows the Birch Fountain. This all-marble fountain at the southern end of Belfield Street, was erected by the Ipoh Chinese business community, in honour of E W Birch (later, Sir Ernest Woodford Birch KCMG CMG) who (unlike his father) was a popular administrator that worked closely with the local people, particularly Yau Tet Shin, the original developer of Ipoh New Town.
Sadly, in the name of development, it was demolished by the local council and was replaced by a new fountain of a much lesser qualty and style. That is Ipoh’s loss.
Fair Park Shophouses Bite the Dust
This photograph taken by Wang Shaoming just a few months ago shows the row of 1930’s shophouses at what I like to think of as the far end of Fair Park. They look dilapidated, but with the curved end did display a certain character of their own and one wonders why the owners did not tidy them up ( a steam clean and coat of paint would have helped) rrather than leave them deteriorating. But as the next picture shows the reason is clear – They were planned for demolition!
Taken today this shows the back of the buildings and I am sure we shall be privileged to see more photos of this and other happenings around Ipoh over the coming weeks. Keep up the good work Shaoming.
Perak – Our Beautiful State – Look After It
As I have just returned from a bone-dry part of Africa which is suffering a serious drought, with grazing animals dying from ingesting dust and nothing but dry brown stalks to eat, I thought it would be nice to remember how nice Perak’s countryside was – and despite the damage caused by mining and development – still is.
This tinted photograph dates from around 1900 and shows the Perak River with our limestone hills in the background. An idyllic scene! Now of course, the river no longer reflects the blue sky and some of the hills have been damaged beyond nature’s capacity to repair. But nonetheless we still have one of the most beautiful states in our country and long may that continue. And that it can if you, the man in the street, wants it to. All you have to do is care about our envirinment (our natural heritage) and encourage others to do the same.
You know it makes sense so as Nike says “Just do it”.
Charles Alma Baker
This magnificent house, now demolished, was once owned by Charles Alma Baker. This house, originally with a thatched or atap roof, was probably built in 1890 or 1900. Charles Alma Baker was suryevor, miner and planter from New Zealand who came to Batu Gajah during in late 1890s. William Kellie Smith helped him, in his survey work for Kinta Land Office and in road making in South Perak. Moreover, he joined venture with William Kellie Smith to clean 360 hectars of forest in Perak. He was considered as one of the pioneers who contributed to the developments of Batu Gajah.
Alma Baker was born in Otago, New Zealand and came to Perak in 1890. Initially, he was contracted to do survey works for the Perak government before the contract was terminated in 1897 after the accuracy of his surveys forced an inquiry into his activities. His most lucrative mining concession at Gunung Lanno financed his involvement in rubber plantations.
The Straits Trading Company And Its Contributions.
Before 1890s, all mining operations in Kinta were financed by people in Penang, who advanced the tin-miners money with which to pay their coolies and smelt their ore. In return, the advancers were paid by the consignments of smelted tin-ore. But in 1890, a new development took place which entirely changed the system. In 1889, Mr. Muhlinghaus, a tin smelter from Singapore, set up the Straits Trading Company in Ipoh and several branches of it in Kinta, undertaking to buy the tin-ore direct and unsmelted from the tin miners in exchange for ready cash.
The initiative of Mr. Muhlinghaus brought immediate benefit to local producers, who were earlier depended on creditors to carry on their businesses. Moreover, the establishment of Straits Trading Company also solved the smelting problem of local towkays. In Kinta, the tin miners had been using ‘semut’ smelting furnace for years. This kind of furnace could only operate by using charcoal from valuable timbers. In 1888, the government had prohibited the use of ‘semut’ smelting furnace, as the government wanted to export the timbers. The problem of smelting without using the timbers gone as the Strait Trading Company ready to take the unsmelted tin-ore. The establishment of Strait Trading Company had contributed on growth of tin mining in Kinta and Ipoh itself.
This is a picture of Ipoh’s famous Eurasian lady, Sybil Kathigasu who was awarded the George Medal by King George VI. Her story under the Japanese Occupation is a harrowing one, yet one of bravery strength and determination. Her story and that of her family can be found at here.
A Shooting Team
The shooting team was in 1959 at Ipoh. Mr. Richard Clarke, from 11th Independent Field Squadron Royal Engineers is the second from the left front row. Mr. Richard Clarke has told us more about this photo and his time in Malaya during the Emergency. His story can be found here.
Rickshaws Galore in Old Ipoh Town
This Photograph of Station Road, Ipoh is a classic with so many rickshaws busy in the street. It is 1906 and this is the very centre of Perak’s commercial operations.
It was here that companies like Chung Thye Pin Built his status building which was first Dr Connolly’s Medical Hall, then Oldfield’s and subsequently Georgetown Dispensary,
The Straits Trading Company the very centre of the Tin trade were here as well, as were, The Chartered Bank (The Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China), The Mercantile Bank, Whiteaway and Laidlaw, the leading department store in Ipoh, Charles Grenier & Co Ltd, who originally imported British Made ‘Centaur’ pedal cycles. They also ran a small press as ‘Printers Stationers and Publishers’ with its head office here, with branches in Kuala Lumpur and Seremban, The Station Hotel, (as the railway station at that time was a single storey wood and atap building with no accommodation facilities.)
This indeed was THE place to have your head office.
Old Town Woes
What can be said about this picture other than how can an owner allow his property to deteriorate to such a level as seen here. In a world where it is said that investing in property is one of the safest things to do with your money, it would be normal to maintain that investment. However it appears that Ipoh, which has many buildings in this state, does not follow the normal pattern, preferring to spend nothing on the building in the hope that the land value will rise sufficiently to recoup those profits from investing in it.
Incidentally this picture was taken in Old Town. So much for maintaining our heritage.
Dead Men Tell No Tales – or Do They?
This is Taiping resident – Lee Eng Kew, better known locally as Ah Kew, freelance writer and field historian who explores temples and grave yards to archive epitaphs, trace lineage and record oral history. For over ten years, this man in the street has carried out extensive research on the illustrious history of Taiping, a town of many firsts in Perak, Malaysia – focusing on the Chinese immigration and contributions to the town and state.
Not content with that, in 2004 he made a video about his hobby in which he was the narrator Lee Eng Kew, assisted by Producer Khoo Eng Yow, Director of Photography, Lim Chun Piao and Lam Yek Wah, Sound, Lee Wei Ching & Sylvia Lim and Editor, Khoo Eng Yow.
Such was its success it was selected for Jonio International Film Festival, Italy, the IV International Audiovisual Festival, Azerbaijan and the 2nd Golden Apricot Film Festival.
Search Google – “Ah Kew the digger”, to find out more.