Ipohworld's World

Saving Yesterday For Tomorrow

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

  1. Jim Joyce says:

    A very interesting article and I wish Mr Lee more power,He must get younger Generations interested in History,though,which is,sometimes,very hard to do without Karaoke,Disco and Loud Music.Your site can help all Ipohites acheive this

  2. felicia says:

    Hi Jim. Thanks for the suggestion – wonder what Mr Lee would think about it! Yes, we DO intend to reach out to the Ipohites.

  3. S.Y. Lee says:

    Nothing can be put back to original. The chicken chop, Hainanese style was fantastic. The atmosphere inside was dim but not dark with the fans swinging at the ceiling.

  4. Old timer says:

    I wondered whether anyone of you have tried the ox’s tongue.It was my favourite. As far as I knew it was only available in FMS. Chicken pie(must be ordered in advance)and stew were also popular.
    But when it came to drinks, I preferred the next door neigbour ‘Latrix’ as it was air condition and have pretty young waitress.

  5. Adr1970 says:

    I think everyone has to realise that FMS is changing and it might not be the same FMS with Mr Nephew behind the bar anymore. There will never be another Nephew. He was unique and I can say, am fortunate to have met the man. S.Y. Lee is correct, the original ambiance will never return. It will remain fond memories to some of us.
    As for the new FMS, it seems the renovations are progressing, but at a snails pace. I guess the owners are being extra careful in rehabilitating and restoring this grand old lady.

  6. Charlie says:

    During the early eighties, you could still get the English Sunday Roast Pork, complete with spuds and apple sauce. The only odd thing is it also came with baked beans. Maybe this is the Hainanese way.

  7. KFTANG says:

    The FMS Bar & Restaurant is a well-known landmark building in Ipoh. I used to park my car at the side of the building and walked across the road to the vast Ipoh Padang to watch local football matches played in the Ipoh League during the eighties. I had seen football referees using the toilets of the iconic building changing into their attires before and after matches played at the sprawling Ipoh Town Padang. Those were the days!

  8. Stex says:

    My last visit to Ipoh was two weeks ago.. We drove past the FMS Bar several times and it looked very dilapidated. No sign of restoration works at all… I wonder why?

  9. sk says:

    With reference to Justine – November 15, 2012 ( Ipohworld), good news to you – looks like your age of 29 has come true. I heard from an Ipohite that FMS has reopened today – January 24, 2019 – after about 10 years of closure. I being an Ex -Ipohite, I have not stepped inside FMS even when I left Kinta Valley in 1974. Just a jive – if your friends or yourself are looking for a wedding reception – this could be it 🙂

  10. Ipoh Remembered says:

    That is good news, sk. Thanks!

    I wonder if they’ve kept the old name. Do young people know what the letters “F. M. S.” stood for?

      • Ipoh Remembered says:

        Yes, you’re right, Ipoh-mali!


        And from S.Y.:

        I always wonder why it is still called “Market Street” and not “Jalan Pasar”

        Isn’t it sometimes called “Jalan Market” as well?

        Similarly, why is Church Road now called “Jalan Church” and not “Jalan Gereja”?

        There’s also Jalan Charleton — but no Jalan Maxwell!

        And there are two Jalan Seenivasagams, one for the father and one for a son. (The other son still has a park in his name.)

        And Jalan Russel is still there, which is a minor miracle — but there’s no Jalan Osborne or Jalan Hugh Low or Jalan Hume!

  11. sk says:

    Just had a quick bite at FMS Bar & Restaurant before catching my train back to KL. It has quite a good nostalgic ambience & they framed boxes of Old Cigarette brands along the stair case.

  12. Homesickforipoh says:

    Vow FMS was before my time and coincidentally, in the computer field,
    there was a software called FMS in the late 80’s and 90’s.

    That short form FMS stands for “Forms Management System”.
    It was made by a company called “Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC)” based in
    Massachusetts. DEC at that time was the 2nd largest main frame (large) computer
    company second to IBM. Unfortunately DEC was bought by Compaq in 1999
    and Compaq was in turn bought by HP in 2002.

    So your FMS is a nostalgic Ipoh bar but for me, reminds me of my early career as
    a software engineer working with FMS on those large mainframe computers.

    Very sadly, mainframes, also called servers are only used by large banks, defense,
    hospital and manufacturing. But the front end offices will use the desktop PCs’ or
    Apple computers.

    Oh well, those were the days. Those were the days when we went from work to
    happy hour even though I only drink orange juice and no alcohol.

    Please share with us if FMS bar is similar to my vision of people going from
    work to happy hour at bar or is is more like a night hang out type bar.
    Sorry I am clueless because I left Malaysia at 18 and my whole adult life has
    been in the US,

  13. sk says:

    SY – A bit saltish for me but served good hainanese coffee. Parking was a problem. Surrounding this building were yellow lines drawn. Next door multiple parking only for Hotel Guests when I spoke to the hotel security guard. The nearest parking lot would be in front of SMI but limited.

    • Ipoh Remembered says:

      Dear sk

      I often parked right next to the building, on the Belfield Street side. That was convenient — but not as convenient as living upstairs in the hotel, which I also did a number of times.

      Thanks for the update!


      Dear Homesickforipoh

      Please share with us if FMS bar is similar to my vision of people going from work to happy hour at bar or is is more like a night hang out type bar.

      For most of its life the FMS Hotel was where you’d find a congregation of thirsty planters and miners, mostly Europeans, who began to gather as early as 10 in the morning. This was especially true in the old location off Post Office Road, which opened in 1906. In those early days the demand for Western cooking was small and there were not too many restaurants in Ipoh that served it. The second (and current) location opened up in 1923. After the war, in the boom years of the 1950s, Chinese and Indian patrons slowly began to replace Europeans, but the menu did not change appreciably.

      In both locations, the bar was a home for “regulars”: people who knew each other (too) well. The hotel, too, had its long-term guests: I knew one person who lived there full-time for nearly two decades!

    • S.Y. says:

      Parking has been a problem not only for the road facing FMS but for the whole surrounding area due to the craze about Concubine Lane. In 1969 and the 70s, I can find a shady spot in Jalan Tun Sambanthan (then known as Hale Street) facing the Ipoh Padang and it was free parking. You can still find car parking placess near the river bank, part of Market Street (I always wonder why it is still called “Market Street” and not “Jalan Pasar”), near Labroey House and certain other parts if you know where to look.

  14. sk says:

    Hi Ipoh Remembered – your comment ” the bar was a home for “regulars”: people who knew each other (too) well ” Doesnt it sounds familiar in Cheers with wacky characters of Sam Malone (bartender ), jilted waitress Diane Chamber, sarcastic waitress Carla,beer-loving accountant Norm, letter carrier Cliff, beautiful sexy manager Rebecca Howe, assistant slow witted bartender Woody Boyd, psychiatrist Dr. Frasier Crane, emotional uptight psychiatrist Lilith Sternin-Crane and coach Pantusso.:)

    • Ipoh Remembered says:

      Dear sk

      Yes, I do remember that TV show from the 1980s. According to the opening theme, the show was set in a bar “where everybody knows your name.” Visually, the show used the exterior of a real bar in Boston: the Bull & Finch, which still exists, albeit under its new name, “Cheers Beacon Hill.”

      It’s a good thing the owner of the FMS in Ipoh hasn’t decided to re-name it “Cheers Brewster Road” or some such thing.

  15. sk says:

    Hi Ipoh Remembered, Thank you for remembering Cheers . Full of laughter during our days. I was told Thomas Ham of the fabulous falcon fame stays around Cheers Pub in Boston. FMS didnt change the name but they added in the word “Durbar”. Sounds so Middle Eastern . As an Ipohite, I havent stepped inside FMS until a few days ago. I passed by almost everyday by the FMS blue building in the early 70s thinking FMS was a Football Malaya Society 🙂

  16. Mano says:

    Whilst on the subject of the sitcom, ‘Cheers’. Airports all over the world, including KLIA, had a Cheers pub in their passenger lounge.

  17. Mano says:

    Hi sk, the TV series was sometime ago. I doubt they are there anymore. Air travellers these days would have no knowledge of it and would not be able to relate to it.

    • Ipoh Remembered says:

      Dear Mano

      Speaking of being unable to relate, airports today are among the most alienating places on earth — perhaps second only to shopping malls.

      Whereas the FMS Hotel was exactly the opposite. Once you pushed past the swing doors and walked in, you were home, or nearly so.

  18. sk says:

    Sorry – Ipoh Remembered – Unfortunately the cowboy push door swing where ” Cheers” Norm entered in the opening scene was no more in Durbar at FMS Bar & Restaurant (new name ) or good old FMS Bar & Restaurant

  19. Ipoh Remembered says:

    Dear sk

    I suppose if the bar is now fully air-conditioned (which it never was in the old days), then the doors have to keep up with requirements as well.

    In which case it’s a good thing the ipohWorld database has a photograph of those swing doors that used to be! (See item 7057.)

  20. sk says:

    Thanks, Ipoh Remembered for the link. Now I can see how FMS looked like in the olden days as I couldnt placed the description made by my friend. The set up has completely changed. FMS celebrated its 100th Anniversary 1906 -2006 with nephew. The swing door was facing the front entrance. Yes, you are correct. Its now air conditioned so the swing door wont be practical. There was an acronym signage
    I L T Y W Y B M A D. Any Ipohworld readers want to take a shot what ot stood ?:)

    • Ipoh Remembered says:

      Dear sk

      There was an acronym signage I L T Y W Y B M A D. Any Ipohworld readers want to take a shot what ot stood ?:)

      If the second letter is an “I,” not an “L,” then the whole thing stands for "If I Tell You Will You Buy Me A Drink?" It’s a phrase one hears (and sees) in bars around the (English-speaking) world.

      On the other hand, if the second letter is indeed an “L,” then I suppose the message could instead be "I Love the Yeomanly Way You Buy Me A Drink." I’ve neither heard nor seen this phrase anywhere — as far as I know,I just made it up — but I suppose it could be useful in some circumstances.

  21. Mano says:

    Dear Ipoh Remembered, KLIA was initially designed to be like no other. A jungle in the airport, high cathedral like ceilings, lightings with no set patterns but uniform lux, transparent lifts and so on. From first hand accounts, travelers from all over the world felt relaxed and fascinated using the facility. I felt proud! However, the last time I passed through, the jungle was blocked by stalls and structures. Posters and advertisements had been stuck all over the place. Even the rail car transparent roofs had been ‘adorned’ with them! I felt like I was in Puduraya!

    • Ipoh Remembered says:

      Dear Mano

      Thanks for pointing out that KLIA had its attractions. I can’t say I ever noticed. I have not spent much time there — Sungei Besi and, to some extent, Subang were the airports in KL that I knew best. I am glad to hear that the designers of KLIA took some trouble to make it less alienating, and that many travelers found it a relaxing place to be. Perhaps its attractions will be revived in the New Malaysia!

      In Ipoh in the 1930s when an airfield was to be built, the structures were simple and posed no particular problem but constructing a useable runway proved to be very difficult. Every time it rained the whole thing turned into a swamp. I think it was because the soil was waterlogged to a considerable depth: in earlier years the whole area had been a reservoir.

  22. sk says:

    Ha3, Ipoh Remembered . Good concoction. You are right. It was my typing error. 2nd letter looks like L as the picture was curved & connected by a dot.
    My concoction was ” I Love To Yack With You But Make A Drink ” this could be a conversation between lady patron with the bar tender:)

  23. Mano says:

    Dear Ipoh Remembered, your mention of individuals taking residence in hotels brings to mind when I, as a teenager, stayed a couple of days in a hotel somewhere in Alor Setar. There too, from a conversation I overheard, was mention of a long term guest. Later on, I came to understand that such long term hotel guests were, more often than not, of the legal profession.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>