Han Chin Pet Soo is open! Book now at www.ipohworld.org/reservation
Han Chin Pet Soo is open! Book now at www.ipohworld.org/reservation

February 2010

FMS Bar and Restaurant – Today’s Update

By |2010-02-27T04:29:53+08:00February 27th, 2010|Categories: Ipoh Town, Memories|Tags: , , , |

Over the past few days there have been several comments about our last post that featured the FMS Bar and so while in Old Town searching for the MG logo (previous post) I took the opportunity to take the above photo to demonstrate what is being done to the pillars. As you can see they are being put back to original.

Coincidentally there is an article in todays New Straits Times that seems to confirm the rumour that the building will be returned fully to its original status, i.e. a hotel as well as restaurant and bar. See http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/NST/articles/22fma/Article/index_html

new iMaGes to view

By |2010-02-27T02:03:43+08:00February 27th, 2010|Categories: Ipoh Town|Tags: , , , |

Our earlier post about the old MG in Kampung Kuchai (put up specially for antiquelad) led to Raz alerting us to this MG logo set in the 5 foot way in Old Town. Early this morning I set off to locate it and thanks to Daniel’s advice in an earlier comment I found it at No. 8 Hugh Low Street.

It is in front of this shop which we understand is a gunsmiths shop that 2 generations ago used to sell MG motor spares. Of course as it was before 8am on Saturday, I could not enquire further but will follow up on a working day.

But there is another interesting logo as shown above. There are two of these set into the supporting pillars each side of the shop and of course they stand for Guan Hoe. With the electric cable sheathing passing in front of them these logos are most probably original and installed when the shop was first built. Clearly I need to get back to find out more.

” …. collapsed with exhaustion … “

By |2010-02-25T11:57:03+08:00February 25th, 2010|Categories: Natural Heritage|Tags: , , , , |

This picture was taken by Jon L Tan at the 2004 inaugural Ipoh Bougainvillea Parade. He kindly gave us permission to use it. He wrote the following about the picture:

“This little cub generated a lot of excitement. Kids and adults alike were immediately excited by the appearance of this special guest star… Poor tiger had to walk on the hot tar road and collapsed with exhaustion mid way through the parade…”

Now can you imagine that a government organised parade in civilised Ipoh would allow such a thing to happen. Well they did, appalling as it may be and for which, if they were still in government, they should be punished as should the owner, the handler and anyone else who had a hand in this cruel act. Cruelty to animals, particularly wild animals facing extinction, must never be practiced or condoned, no matter how much the public might enjoy seeing them.

So in this year, the year of the Tiger, please do everything you can to protect all animals, particularly the endangered ones like the Malayan Tiger and report any cruelty, poaching or selling of wild animal parts to the police. Tigers and the other animals that live in our ever diminishing rainforests are just as much heritage as buildings, mountains, food and culture. They should all be protected so that our children’s children will be able to enjoy them.

Incidentally this parade was said to be the first of an annual occasion. Did another one ever take place or was it just another broken promise.

Another Classic Piece of Ipoh’s History

By |2010-02-24T01:00:24+08:00February 24th, 2010|Categories: Ipoh Town, Memories|Tags: , , , , |

Yes, just a few metres from the Beetle lies this grand old vehicle. If you don’t recognise it then have a look at this:

It is of course an MG and it is in that graveyard for old vehicles, right in the centre of Ipoh, called Kg Kuchai. This is is one of the last undeveloped areas of Ipoh and was featured in the City’s Structural Plan but was left alone during the one of the General Elections in the late 80’s or early 90’s. Politics presumably ruled as Kg Kuchai is home to many motor repair shops, coach builders, carpenters, welders and home to one of the City’s last remaining traditional Lorry Transport Companies.

Start at the house by the river (previous blog) and follow the path towards the town. You can’t miss finding this and lots of other interesting wrecks. However we have no idea of the owners of these things and can take no responsibility if your visit is wasted or has problems of any sort. Watch out for the many dogs!

Renovation or Restoration That is the Question

By |2010-02-22T08:16:19+08:00February 22nd, 2010|Categories: Ipoh Town|Tags: , , , , , |

Many people do not understand the difference between renovation and restoration, but in simple terms restoration means to return something to its original state (as near as possible) while renovation allows one to change, modernise, adds bits and pieces and generally end up looking nothing like the original. A good example would be Elizabeth Taylor versus Michael Jackson. She had her face restored many times we are told, to retain her youthful beauty, whereas Michael definitely renovated his – also several times!

But what has that got to do with the house above which sits close to the Kinta River bank. Well, looking at the new roof of modern tiles, this is certainly a renovation not restoration. We do not know anything much about this house, other than what the below notices show.

If I understand this correctly the renovation was approved in 1999. Now I remember with horror the renovation to my home in Ipoh where the planned 3 months took 1 year and 5 months with the cost more than doubling, but at least it didn’t take 11 years to get as far as completing the roof. But of course it is not anyone’s fault (it never is) but I wonder what the contractor thinks?

But the point of all this is that wouldn’t it have been nice to keep this house as an original model of its particulat style? Restore rather than renovate. After all this is in a very desirable location close to the river, but away from traffic and should fetch a tidy sum when sold on the open market. It would be even more attractive with the outside features retained but modernised inside to suit our high standard of living necessary these days.

To conclude, I say to those who have an old property in need of repair, consider carefully before you touch the building, restoration will be more expensive in the short term but the long term benefits will certainly be worthwhile. Once renovated it has gone for ever.

Time to Visit the Gopeng Museum Clock Exhibition

By |2010-02-21T04:46:29+08:00February 21st, 2010|Categories: Memories, Museums|Tags: , , , |

As you can see from the above the Gopeng Museum is currently holding a one month Clock Exhibition until 16 March 2010. There are more than 185 old (antique!) clocks on display.

Almost all the pieces have been lent by local people. Some are shown here.

The normal exhibition remains on show which also includes many old clocks.

Do get along there, it is very interesting and worth the visit. But please remember to leave a donation in their box to pay some of the costs of bringing this show to you FOC.

SMI Arts – A Pop Group and Form 5?

By |2010-02-20T01:12:32+08:00February 19th, 2010|Categories: ipoh, Memories, People|Tags: , , , , , , |

Nobody could tell us about an earlier Ipoh band – The Red Crane, but this might be easier. Known as “Unit 6-2” they are from left to right, Richard, Aziz, Yahaya and Richard. The date is around 1966 and they are all from SMI. Richard on the left is probably Leong Kai Loong, but who are the others and where are they now?

From the same source came this second picture. We believe it is Form 5 Arts 1965 and that the same Leong Kai Loong is second from the left in the back row. But who else is there? One thing unusual is there is no La Sallian brother pictured. Why would that be?

Shades of the Past, Black and White Chicks on Stilts

By |2010-02-17T07:54:50+08:00February 17th, 2010|Categories: Memories|Tags: , , |

With no comments on the Beetle and still on holiday I could not resist showing you this great old photo of the Post and Telegraphs Office, Grik.

A wooden building on stilts with verandah and black and white chick blinds, this is real Malaya and just what I remember from my first visit to the country in 1960. What a shame we have replaced such romance and beauty with concrete and bricks and at the same time torn down such buildings in an attempt to erase the memories of what was.

This is real history and we should all be proud of it while still moving forward with tasteful development although I doubt that some people actually understand what tasteful means!

An Almost Extinct Breed of Beetle

By |2010-02-16T11:46:43+08:00February 16th, 2010|Categories: ipoh|Tags: , , |

Just a stone’s throw from the very centre of Ipoh City lies this classic old VW Beetle. It is amazing that such junk can lie about in our city, but the picture, taken today, proves it. What is more there is more of this junk around if you really start to look. Do watch this blog for more such interesting finds.

But back to the VW, what a shame that it has been left to rot instead of being treated to some Tender Loving Care by a Classic Car enthusiast. Maybe someone will follow up this blog and get the grand old vehicle back on the road if of course they can find out who owns it – and that might be difficult.

After all this is a historic vehicle, the concept of no lesser person than Adolf Hitler and produced after his death by the British using refugees and displaced persons as a way of giving them work. Little did they know what a “Classic” they were making.

Ipoh’s Welcoming Fountain

By |2010-02-14T07:00:29+08:00February 14th, 2010|Categories: Ipoh Town, Memories|Tags: , |

This photograph was taken by an Ipoh resident, Richard, Leong, in the early 1960’s not long after it had been erected by the Perak Turf Club as a gift to the town. At the key junction of Hugh Low Street, Gopeng Road, Tambun Road and Brewster Road it welcomed travellers to Ipoh from all directions.

I was looking at the fountain recently and I wonder why the water flow and spouts etc are so different from this picture. To me, although the structure is the same, the beauty of the water has completely disappeared when compared to the above. What could have happened? Are the pumps worn out or was there a deliberate change for one reason or another?

One more question comes from a small boy who, as they pass the fountain in their car, very often says “When will the Uncle switch on the water mummy?”. Now that is a good question as switching on and off seems quite a random affair. Does anyone know the answers to these? 

Incidentally, the Turf Club also diverted some of its funds to help beautify the city by constructing the Japanese Garden with a solar-powered clock, along Tambun Road.

What a Nice Chair!

By |2010-02-12T09:56:25+08:00February 12th, 2010|Categories: Memories, People|Tags: , |

This very attractive picture was taken in a studio in Ipoh in 1966. She was just two years old and definitely enjoying posing for the camera.

We dedicate this to all the children who today are anxiously waiting for the onset of Chinese New Year and their Angpows. May they get many and spend their money wisely.

Gong Xi Fa Cai

…ready….get set…..GO!

By |2010-02-09T05:56:12+08:00February 9th, 2010|Categories: Identify Photographs, Memories, People|Tags: , , |

Sports Day at St Bernadette’s Convent, Batu Gajah, was quite eventful in 1954 – the Teachers had their own little race. This picture was taken at the school’s new grounds (Jalan Pusing); the school was previously sharing its premises with the St Joseph’s Catholic Church.

Far in the background are some curious spectators, probably wondering how these teachers would be able to race in those lovely dresses!!

Special Branch Arrest Ave Maria Convent Girl – Where is She Now?

By |2010-02-07T10:53:44+08:00February 7th, 2010|Categories: Memories, People, Uncategorized|Tags: , , |

In 1956/57 there was a great deal of student unrest relating to the communist insurgents and the forthcoming Merdeka. Surprisingly, this even spread to laid back old Ipoh. The situation was described by one of the Special Branch officers at the time as “a compelling problem of student subversion developing in the middle schools in Perak, particularly Ipoh”.

The picture shows District Special Branch Officer ASP Peter G. E. Coster taking action against one of the defiant, pro-communist students of Ave Maria Convent Chinese Middle School during a students demonstration at the school. Several girls were taken into custody that day by the uniformed police and Special Branch. This particular young lady does not seem in the least concerned that she is being carted away by such a strong police team. Indeed she walks proudly with head held high.

We wonder where she is now?

A Grand Home for a Tin Mining Elephant

By |2010-02-04T15:54:18+08:00February 4th, 2010|Categories: Museums, People|Tags: , , , , |

The photograph shows the view from the gate of the Matang Historical Complex which was originally Ngah Ibrahim’s fort built in 1865. It was initially simply a home for Ngah Ibrahim, who after his elephant went tin mining became a powerful and wealthy tin miner, but he fortified it to save himself from the Chinese triads of the Ghee Hin and Hai San who eventually went to war over tin mining rights and inadvertently brought the British to Perak.


Richer than the Sultan of Perak, he was appointed by the Sultan as Minister of Larut, but became involved in the plot against J W W Birch the British Resident, was charged with murder, found guilty and banished to the Seychelles. He was never permitted to return to Perak and died in Singapore in 1877. You may remember that his remains were found in a grave in Singapore in 2006, brought back to Perak and buried at his fort. Rightly or wrongly he had returned home.


The building has had many roles over the years: tax office and collection centre for the Larut tin trade; as a court to try Dato Maharaja Lela and Si Puntum for the murder of J W W Birch; the Matang primary school; and the first Malayan Teachers’ Training College, among others. Today the site is the Matang Historical Complex under the management of the Museum and Antiquities Department, proudly displaying that elephant.


Do visit the complex at some stage it really is very interesting and just next door is Captain Speedy’s house. Captain Speedy was of course the Perak Chief of Police in 1873 and appointed Assistant British Resident of Perak when the Pangkor Treaty was signed on the 20th January 1874.

A Relic of the Japanese?

By |2010-02-02T11:52:09+08:00February 2nd, 2010|Categories: What is it?|Tags: , , |

This picture was taken today at one end of the northenmost bridge that spans Temenggor Lake in North Perak. There is an identical one at the other end. Could this be what we used to call a “Pill Box” built by the Japanese as a machine gun post or was it built by the British to unsuccessfully slow down the little men on their bicycles? If not for either of these then what was the purpose?

This time we really do not know the answer and wait eagerly for some assistance from the experts.

However, if it is truly from the war and occupation by the invaders then surely it qualifies as heritage and perhaps should have some notices/information boards available and be maintained for future generations to learn from.

Life on a Rubber Estate

By |2010-02-01T06:59:35+08:00February 1st, 2010|Categories: Identify Photographs, Memories, People|Tags: , , |

“In 1948 an appalling upheaval took place in Malaya……I was told by the Manager of Kamunting Estate when I made my routine visit that the Manager of Elphill Estate had been shot.” Thus, according to Dr Tweedie, was the start of the Malayan Emergency.

Here we have a picture from that era (somewhere between 1948 – 1960), showing a pair of twins engrossed in their toys. Notice their sand-bagged nursery and a Special Constable stationed outside. Such memories (of life during the Emergency) may not be pleasant ones for some of us, but if anyone out there has some stories for us we’d like to hear from you!

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