Perak’s Own Leaning Tower
This photograph taken in 1920 shows little sign of the famous Teluk Anson (now Teluk Intan) tower actually leaning, but if you go there yourself I can assure you it leans!
Manufactured from bricks and wood and standing at 25.5 metres tall, its Pagoda-style construction gives the tower an appearance of having 8 different levels (like Pisa). However, the building is actually divided only into 3 storeys each 16½ feet high, connected by 110 stairs. Above the third storey stands the water tank (for it was actually a water tower for the surrounding population) 16 feet deep and with a surface area of 680 square feet. All 8 levels have a 6 feet wide balcony and a decorative 2 feet high marble wall surrounding the main structure. Roofing tiles complete the picture. One amusing fact, taken from the very limited history available is that the side balconies were designed “to ensure the safety of the tower’s caretaker from rainstorm”. There is still a regular caretaker of the tower today and one of his duties is to wind the old clock that was originally ordered from London and still keeps good time while chiming every 15 minutes. Again the records claim “the hourly ringing of the Tower’s clock could be heard up to 8 miles away, but now the chimes could be heard as far as one to half a mile in radius due to the modernization of buildings and all means of transportations”. Today I doubt that it can be heard much further than the town center.
Over the years the tower has been a Japanese observation post and a Boy Scout Headquarters amongst other roles, but in 1997 the council decided that the tower should remain a landmark for the town’s tourism and constructed the new town square around it. Not long ago it was subjected to careful internal restoration.
Next time you are going to Pangkor, Lumut or even Penang (if you are coming from the South), why not take that detour off the highway at Bidor and enjoy Malaysia’s own leaning tower and while in Bidor, just stop at Pun Chun, the first large Chinese restaurant on the right past the traffic lights and enjoy the best duck noodle soup in the country. They have been serving it for more than 3 generations and you will love it.