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June 2010

British Residency in Ipoh

By |2010-06-30T04:48:31+08:00June 30th, 2010|Categories: Identify Photographs, ipoh, Memories|Tags: , , |

This postcard is somewhat a continuation from our previous post about the Kinta River.

The picture here shows the entrance of the British Residency; the date was rougly in the 1920s. I doubt the building is still there (if it is, it’s probably in ruins)…but does anyone know where it was? It is said to by somewhere along the Kinta River, but WHERE along the river is what we’d like to know…

A Monday-Mystery…

By |2010-06-28T03:39:32+08:00June 28th, 2010|Categories: Identify Photographs, ipoh, Ipoh Town|Tags: , , |

We have here a postcard, from roughly the 1930s. At the top, right, it says “Belfield Street”.

The mystery here is this: on the far left of the picture, is a building that says ‘E.W. FMS Hotel’. Was this the location of the 1st FMS Bar and Restaurant?

Notice too that almost across the street from the said FMS building is Mikasa Photo Shop (which seems to be promoting a ‘cheap sale’). Along the same row of this FMS building is also Abdullah Cigarettes, Hock Hin & Co, and a shop lot owned by Labrooy (which probably was Caxton Press).

We hope our fans out there can shed some light on our mystery……..

The forgotten skillful scissors sharpener of Ipoh….

By |2010-07-03T08:23:19+08:00June 25th, 2010|Categories: Ipoh Town, Memories, People|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

Dad has only a primary education. Without a stable job, it is difficult to feed a large family. We have already pawned whatever that can be pawned. We were close to living in poverty.

Finally, Grandma let out the front portion of #188 to a couple who turned it into a mahjong parlor.  Many whores, massage ladies, bargirls, pimps, hawkers, taxi drivers and housewives came in for several rounds. It became a very noisy place, sometimes extending into the wee small hours. Many times fights broke out and the police were called in to break them up. What was once a home to us suddenly became a vice den filled with cigarette smoke and vulgar languages.  Sometimes we could not even hear our own voice with all the noises around us.

We kept to ourselves, spending our time mostly upstairs but it was already filled to the brim with tenants. There is hardly any space left for us to study in. This was the last straw for Dad. In a fit, he kicked all the mahjong players out and took back the shop for us to study in peace.

In his early days, Dad was trained in a mechanical work shop in Batu Gajah before the Japanese invasion interrupted his apprenticeship.


 He quickly got hold of some motor parts and assembled them into something you see in these pictures. I really do not know what to call it. There is no name for it. We simply called it “the motor”.  It was this device that gave our family hopes again. More importantly, it put food on our table and saw all of us through school.

You see, with this device, Dad started another business. He cycled to all the tailor shops, hair salons and garment  factories in Ipoh town, offering to sharpen their scissors.  In the beginning, business was quite scarce. Nobody would trust him with their cutting tools. After all, he was just a new kid on the block in this trade.

There were some established ones in town. There is one at Cockman Street, next to the shop that sells joss sticks and paper offerings. Others operated along back alleys in the old town area, doing their business long before my Dad appeared in the picture.

However, with patience and skill, he soon won them over. Before long, they discovered that the sharpness lasts longer compared to those done by others. Moreover, Dad charged the same like the rest, RM1 for a pair. Within 2 years, he managed to build a base of regular customers.

He even painted his own signboard and put it in front of the shop every morning before he started work. I remembered it was a big scissors with a light blue background. The blades were painted in silver while the handles were in black. It was just a picture, without words.

Dad used sharpening stones or whetstones to sharpen the scissors.  Some came in the shape of a small circular wheel which was fixed to the motor. Others were simply blocks of rough or smooth stones.


They were used separately or in combination, depending on the size, length and quality of the scissors. Normally the bigger, longer and superior blades were sharpened using the motor while the smaller, shorter and inferior ones were done by hand only, to prevent them from breaking.

Yes, the blades can break under intense pressure! I have seen this before and in the end, Dad has to compensate his customer with a new pair of scissors.

To sharpen a pair of scissors, Dad unscrewed the bolt and nut to separate the two blades. Dipping the scissors and sharpening stone into a pail of water to make them wet, he would slide the beveled edge on one side of each blade against the stone.  He has to slide the entire length of the blade many times before the scissors is sharp enough to be oiled and screwed back.

Sometimes it took 2 or 3 hours to sharpen one and sometimes, in less than half an hour, depending on the scissors. He also sharpened kitchen knives and all kinds of cutting tools.

It was hard work. It was a one man show. With so many scissors to be sharpen and everyone wanted it done quickly, Dad has to work from morning till night, standing on his feet. He could not get the work done sitting down because, to slide the blade, he needed to use force.

Therefore, his feet would get swollen by the end of the day. His hands numbed and his back pained by the many hours of bending over the work table. Sometimes he accidentally cut his fingers and bled. With a bandaged hand, he continued with the work because he has datelines to meet and many mouths to feed.

Many customers told Dad he was the best scissors sharpener in town. They wanted him to sharpen their scissors in the quickest possible time. Of course Dad could not meet their demands because he has so many scissors waiting for him to sharpen. It is piling up by the day.

“If you wanted it to be sharpen quickly, then please go to other scissors sharpener. Here, you have to wait longer as you can see the pile of scissors and I am doing the work alone!” he could AFFORD TO SCOLD his customers. Many were fearful of him but they loved his skill.

In the end, they meekly gave in and left their cutting tools with Dad. Many bought extra scissors to use while waiting for Dad to sharpen theirs. They preferred to wait for several days rather than go elsewhere. They knew they left their tools in good hands. Throughout all the years, no customers complained about Dad’s work, except that he was rather fierce when pressured!

When I was in Std 6, some foreign tourists past by Dad’s work place which was at the back portion of the shop. They were fascinated to see such a trade done in a traditional manner and decided to video and photograph him as he goes about doing his work.

Many people in the neighborhood called Dad “Scissors Sharpener Uncle” and Mom “Scissors Sharpener Aunty”. When I took taxis in front of Rex Cinema, many taxi drivers who knew Mom and Dad even called me “Scissors Sharpener Daughter”!! LOL.

Dad toiled on until all his children finished school and were able to stand on their own. By then he was old and haggard, having slogged most of his life. As a result of working too hard, it put a toll on his health. His heart became weak, his hands stiff with arthritis and his legs from rheumatism.

Dad retired in 1996 after 25 years in this business.  He spent the remaining years nursing his health and staying home resting after working hard most of his life.

This article is a tribute to Dad, a very determined man who believed in nothing and no one, except his own pair of hands and who overcame all odds that life threw into his path, without any help from anyone. I am very proud of him.

I am still keeping this motor with me as a remembrance of Dad who was once a very skillful scissors sharpener in Ipoh. It is a waste that his hand painted signboard became rusty after 25 years and he threw it away when he finally called it a day. But he gave me a pair of scissors and a few whetstones to keep as well.


From ‘PK’ to ‘A’

By |2010-06-24T23:56:06+08:00June 24th, 2010|Categories: ipoh, Memories, People|Tags: , , , |

Recently the subject of Perak’s vehicle registrations cropped up and as we have a great photo that demonstrates the situation perfectly I thought it was worth putting up to dispell the entirely untrue tale that Perak has the ‘A’ because we had the first cars in Malaya. Absolute rubbish!.

Here we have two vehicles side by side in Ipoh in 1945. On the left is PK9567, a small bus or possibly a taxi that survived the Japanese occupation. On the right is definitely a bus newly registered as A306. But why the difference when both vehicles were registered in Perak?

Well as I explained the other day The British Military Administration restarted the system in 1945 with ‘A’ for Perak, ‘B’ for Selangor etc to prevent confusion between Singapore and Selangor, Perak and Penang etc. Previously Perak was PK and Penang PG.

The first registration, ‘A 1′, went to C H LaBrooy, the Ipoh architect. I wonder how much that cost him? Does anyone know who had ‘PK 1’?

A Great Looking Lam Looking

By |2010-06-22T23:49:51+08:00June 22nd, 2010|Categories: Ipoh Town, Memories, Restoration|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Yes ladies and gentlemen the exterior restoration of the Lam Looking building is complete, and it really is looking good. But before you feast your eyes on the wonderful building please allow me to show you what it looked like about 60 plus years ago when still in operation.

Well there you are, with the Celestial Hotel, Cabaret and Restaurant upstairs and the bazaar on the ground floor, this was a really happening place through the 30’s and 40’s. Even the Japanese partook of the delights of the upper floors and turned part of it into a high stakes gambling casino.

Later as the clientele diminished the hotel was turned into a cinema, The Movieland Theatre, specialising in Korean and Cantonese Opera movies. But soon that also went to the wall and after the fire we all thought the old girl was finished. How wrong we were and may I present a GREAT LOOKING LAM LOOKING, photo courtesy of Peter Wang Shaoming.

Ruth Iversen, daughter of the original architect, Berthel Michael Iversen must be delighted, and so are we for at last a major building in Ipoh has actually completed its restoration. Now we await completion of the Old Post Office. Let us hope the trend catches on.

But one final thought. “I wonder what they are going to use the building for?”

The Kinta River

By |2010-06-21T03:42:24+08:00June 21st, 2010|Categories: Identify Photographs, ipoh, Memories|Tags: , , , |

This is a special request for those who asked for pictures of the Kinta River. The picture above is taken from a 1905 postcard – showing the British residency along the river. The British Resident at that time was E W Birch (the eldest son of J W W Birch), who served from 1904 – 1910.

Here we have some Michaelians having fun. This picture was taken in 1955, and this part of the Kinta River was in Tambun – which was quite a famous haunt for those who wanted to cool off on a hot day!

Notice that back then, trees and shrubs were a common sight; giving any passerby a serene feeling. Even the water was clean, minus the odour and the coffee-colour it has now!

Do you have such memories of the once beautiful river?

Ipoh My Home Town

By |2010-10-12T22:31:40+08:00June 20th, 2010|Categories: Heritage Books, ipoh, Memories, People|Tags: , , , , , , |

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Above is the first draft cover of a new book that will be published as soon as we can fill the blank pages with your reminiscences of growing up in Ipoh. Text will be in the English language.

ipohWorld will take on the task of collating, editing and dealing with the publishing and printing aspects, but the contents must come from you, as I grew up in UK. Now of course we do have some excellent articles on this blog already but much more is needed if we are to be able to produce the quality book we seek.

We need much more about your schooldays, going to the movies (or storytellers street), Jubilee Park, the hawkers, the sounds they made (tock tock, ting ting etc), where they congregated (Convent rear entrance and Theatre Street for example), the food they sold (and more. Let us not forget the ice cream potong man and his gambling game, or the Milo man on his bicycle, the roti man and the Indian milk seller. Then of course there is home life, your parents, your neighbour’s profession, street games, rickshaws, trishaws, marketing with mum, local day trips, happy or sad times, festivals etc etc. Since I have lived in Ipoh I have heard so many stories and it is time you wrote them down for following generations. 

But please understand that the work must come from YOU. All races, creeds are welcome to take part as long as you spent some time in Ipoh and have a story to tell.

Every contributor who has a story published will be presented with a personal copy. WE look forward to your support.

Please send all articles and high resolution (600dpi is perfect) scanned photographs to us at info@ipohworld.org and don’t worry about your spelling or grammar, we can soon sort those out. But don’t forget, no contributions means no book! Articles may be between 500 and 1750 words and more than one article reflecting different aspects of your young life are welcome.

And please understand that regard to content and selection of stories, the Editor’s decision is FINAL.

My Dad Forever.

By |2010-07-03T08:27:17+08:00June 19th, 2010|Categories: ipoh, Memories, People|Tags: , , , , , , , |


Dad, as I kept a lonely vigil beside your hospital bed

Stroking your soft white hair, caressing your fatigued face

Holding your wrinkled hands, never wanting to let you go

I could hear your pale lips murmuring my name softly

My heart bled to see your body so weak and frail

Tears rolling down as I watched you slowly fading away

And memories of us together just came rushing back


When I was just a boisterous little girl of five or six

You took me to ride on the carousel at Jubilee Park

And you cheered me on as I got onto the giant wheel

We went for white man movies together all over town

I ate peanuts on your laps in front of Rex Cinema

Rain or shine you took me to school on your old bicycle

You taught me how to read, write, draw and color


At times you and Mom ate little so that I can eat more

You toiled from day till night without a whimper

Your feet swollen from many hours of standing

Your hands numbed from working without a rest

And back ached from bending over the work table

It was like this all the years until I grew up

By then it put a severe toll on your health


When I finally blossomed into a pretty young lady

We fought over my choices of boyfriends and suitors

Even the best in my eyes is not good enough for you

They were given the boot and shown the door

At last you gave your blessing but very reluctantly

However your heart melted when you held my babies

I saw you embracing them so tenderly, so lovingly


Every morning I brew your favorite thick Chinese tea

I loved the smell of your cheroot and green color hair gel

I watched you put on your white hat and dark glasses

Humming softly your favorite tunes in the bathroom

But roaring in a thunderous voice whenever you speaks

You are a very strict disciplinarian with a heart of gold

Many people feared and avoided you but I knew better


Our endless trips to the hospital together all the years

I am exhausted from arguing with the doctors and nurses

Whether I should let you know about the prostate cancer

They said nothing can be done to stop the metastasis

That you are actually just buying time in this world

I really wanted to spare you from the painful truth

In the end I chose not to tell you, please do forgive me


When Mom suddenly left us without a word years ago

We comforted each other in those sad and lonely days

You only trusted me, and no one else, to take care of you

It is a privilege I valued and cherished very much

On this Father’s Day, I wanted to let you know again

That I am very grateful and proud to be your daughter

I loved you with all my heart and I still missed you badly

Note: Dad in his vintage dark glasses. Can you spot his white cowboy hat?  He was flanked by my two kids whom he adored. Later, Dad passed on from pneumonia when the cancer metastasized to his lung. He was 87.

Happy Father’s Day to all the guys who played a part in bringing us into the world, then slogged to bring us up and finally released us to spread our wings!

“HAPPY FATHER’S DAY” 父亲,我爱您!祝父亲快乐.

Leong Eng Khean and His Wife in Ipoh

By |2010-07-05T08:12:01+08:00June 18th, 2010|Categories: Identify Photographs, ipoh, Memories, People|Tags: , , , , , |

Here is a picture taken from Christine Wu Ramsey’s “Days Gone By: Growing Up in Penang“. The picture is from her family album; and the book contains many such high quality photographs from both Ipoh and Penang. These alone make the book a great buy. Ramsey is the great granddaughter of Towkay Leong Fee – who owned the famous Tambun mines in Perak.

In the picture is Leong Eng Khean, the first son of Leong Fee, together with his first wife Lim Sin Kiaw. They are taking their regular afternoon joyride around Ipoh ride in their 1906 Wolseley. The date is around 1910.

Back in the early 1900s, the family would move between Ipoh and Penang as mood or circumstances dictated as Leong Fee had grand mansions in both places. When in Ipoh they would live in the Tambun Road  home from where they would set out for the afternoon drive.

Leong Eng Khean’s second wife, Chow Yoon Soo, lived mainly in Ipoh with her family, just around the bend – where Belfield Street met Clayton Road (behind the FMS bar), but would also move to Penang from time to time. Then, their Clayton Road home was in a cul-de-sac, and they had a good view of the Ipoh Padang; during the Japanese Occupation, they could see people lined up at the padang – greeting the Japanese with a bow, as well as several atrocities carried out there.

Today, the area where the family house used to be is probably either under the widened road or the car park behind Perak ‘Hock Khean Kong Hoey’ building.

We Shall Never Forget…..

By |2010-06-17T00:02:06+08:00June 16th, 2010|Categories: Identify Photographs, Memories, People, Uncategorized|Tags: , , , , , |

Last weekend (11th to the 13th of June), was a weekend of remembrance. It is dedicated to those who fought in the 2 World Wars, the Japanese Occupation, and the Malayan Emergency – both the survivors and those who gave up their lives for the sake of ours.

This annual event started with the ceremony at the Cenotaph on 11th June. This was a multi-racial ceremony where all faiths were represented.

The many wreaths are placed below the plaque which bares the names of the fallen. The next day, 12th June, began early at Batu Gajah – at God’s Little Acre.

After the service at the Church of the Holy Trinity, a  solemn wreath-laying ceremony takes place. This ceremony, at God’s Little Acre, takes place on the 2nd Saturday of June every year (since 1980). The picture shows the British High Commissioner laying his wreath of traditional poppies.

After God’s Little Acre, the ‘journey’ continues to the Gurkha Cemetery in Tambun Road where more than 100 Gurkhas are laid to rest.

Finally, on Sunday (13th June), was the memorial service at the Khalsa Dewan (see picture below).

This ceremony pays particular homage to those Sikhs who lost their lives in the Battle of Kampar.

We thank Tony Tamblyn who, (during the Malayan Emergency) served in the Royal Airforce here) for the pictures.

To those who fought selflessly for us – we are eternally grateful.

Way back when….

By |2010-06-14T03:43:38+08:00June 14th, 2010|Categories: ipoh, Ipoh Town, Memories|Tags: , , , , |

…the Sun Cinema was still in one piece!

This picture we have here is from around 1985, a little after the Sun Cinema closed its doors to the public. It was located at the corner of Brewster Road and Hale Street (behind the building was the Kinta River). Incidentally, sketches of this cinema were done by our very own cartoonist Lat (in ‘Town Boy’).

Built in 1917 as the Oriental Cinema, by Leong Eng Khean (the son of Towkay Leong Fee), it was leased in 1920s to Run Run Shaw (of the Shaw Brothers). Shaw renamed it the Sun Cinema. Meanwhile, the Oriental Cinema rented the Harima Hall (1910-1917).

Sun was managed by Ho Ah Loke and in November 1929 showed ‘The Rainbow Man’ – the 1st of the “talkies” (movies with sound). ‘The Rainbow Man’ used a travelling movie company; after its success, Ho Ah Loke installed his own equipment. By the 1930s, Sun was deemed the most modern “talkie” theatre in Malaya!

Sadly, it closed down in 1983 – only to be replaced by a car park…..

A Bold Step …………

By |2010-06-13T03:25:49+08:00June 13th, 2010|Categories: Ipoh Town|Tags: , , |

At last Perak State has made a bold and positive step in the UNESCO direction by declaring that Perak is preparing the nomination dossier for five locations to be presented to UNESCO to list them as World Heritage Sites.

In this firm and welcome statement, State Chairman for Industry, Investment, Industrial Development and Tourism, Datuk Hamidah Osman, said a committee had been formed comprising of the National Heritage Department, Tourism Perak, Ipoh and Taiping local councils, district offices, related government agencies together with the heritage societies to prepare the nomination documents. Under the nature category, the sites are Royal Belum (Tropical Rainforest and Biodiversity Heritage) and Gua Tempurung (Limestone Heritage), and under the Nature and Culture Category the locations identified are Taiping (Heritage Town), Kinta (Tin Heritage and encompassing the area between Ipoh, Batu Gajah and Kampar) and Ipoh City (Cultural Heritage).

Of course that is great news, particularly for those of us whose main interest is Ipoh and the Kinta Valley, but let us understand, UNESCO do not give away these accolades easily and in the case of Penang/Melaka the whole process took masses of work from all concerned over many years. So the people of Perak must be prepared to help wherever they can and be prepared for a long haul.

Now have a look at the following photos, all taken recently in Ipoh Old Town and you will see areas where planning and control by the authorities together with landowner responsibility have completely failed. Areas like these will make negotiations with UNESCO an uphill struggle unless they can be overcome. The pictures are not intended to highlight any one person or organisation but are just shots taken at random. There are dozens more examples in the same area.

Close to the defined heritage area and the river bank we have a permanent lorry park and ugly renovations.

Close by there are gaps like pulled teeth and turned into rough and unsightly car parks.

Buildings are abandoned and collapsing.

And many are simply neglected.

So having taken the first bold step the government/City Council now need to take another one and enforce planning and maintenance rules that accord with the UNESCO requirements from TODAY, for the fear is that landowners, afraid of UNESCO regulations will simply demolish their old buildings rather than risk additional expense in the future. They have taken such action before and no doubt will do it again unless prevented by law and the severest penalties.

And for us, the readers, please do support the various organisations like the heritage societies and tourist association in the above committee, I am sure they will welcome your help.

The day the curtain came down for Nam Foong Coffee Shop.

By |2010-07-04T00:58:36+08:00June 11th, 2010|Categories: Identify Photographs, Ipoh Town, Memories, People|



Sometimes life can be cruel.

It was late 1969. Dad has a younger brother staying with us at #188. He was a carpenter at a furniture shop in Ipoh. A young man of just 23, he was healthy and full of life vitality. Everyone liked him. He was steady with a pretty girl next door and they dreamed of a happy life together. In fact, they were busy planning for their big day.

One night, looking into a mirror while combing his hair and getting ready for a date with his sweet heart, he saw a small lump on his neck, the size of a 5 cent coin.

Thinking it was an insect bite, he just applied some cream onto it and left it to heal by itself. But it did not, instead it got bigger by the day. Before long, it ballooned to the size of an adult’s fist. It was a malign tumor.

Dad was very worried for him. Being the eldest brother, he felt it was his duty to send him for treatments and  was prepared to bear the costs. Treatments were sought for him in Ipoh and Kuala Lumpur at private and government hospitals but to no avail.

In Singapore, doctors there advised Dad to send his brother for treatments in Canton, China. Overseas treatments are expensive but Dad did not mind paying to save a young life.

At first, he got better and stayed on for a year there for further treatments. But the tumor recurred and in the end, he passed on, after several unsuccessful operations. A wedding it was not to be but a funeral instead for this unlucky young man.

A few months later, paternal grandpa, a heavy smoker, was diagnosed with lung cancer. Again, as the eldest son, Dad did what is necessary for him but grandpa also lost the battle. The old man was given a proper last rite and burial. By then, Dad was almost broke to the bones.

Before he can even recover, along came a notice from the Ipoh municipality. Three conditions must be met before business license can be renewed again.

Firstly, operators of all eateries must tile the walls of their shops to 6 feet high. As the bucket system will be phased out in a few months time, all toilets must be converted to the flush system. Lastly, the whole shop must be repainted with white paint.

Dad simply cannot afford it anymore. Most of his savings were spent to treat his loved ones.

He went to see the shop owner, hoping to get some help. The shop owner stressed that he only let out an empty shop and will not bear any renovations done to it. It was clearly stated in the tenancy agreement and he was unmoved by Dad’s predicament. To add salt to injury, the rental was raise too. It has been a long time since the last raise, he pointed out.

As fate would have it, even the faithful stone grinder failed him too. After 25 years of heavy usage, the handle, made from hard wood, broke down. In fact, the whole thing, from wear and tear, is out of shape. It is time to order a new one from China. This will also cost a lot, especially the transportation’s fee.

Dad was at his wit’s end. No license. No tools. Rental has gone up.

Finally, he threw in the towel. The curtain came down on Nam Foong Coffee Shop in 1971, after 26 years of operation.

Our carefree childhood days abruptly came to an end when Dad lost his livelihood. What followed were the bleakest days of our lives. There were 8 hungry mouths to feed. We lived from hand to mouth for the next 2 or 3 years.

We did not celebrate Chinese New Year simply because we cannot afford to. It was just like any normal day for us.

No reunion dinner. No new clothes.

I still remembered how on the night of New Year’s Eve in 1971, Dad went out to buy 2 packets of fish ball noodles and asked Mom to divide it out among the children. Each of us would get a small portion it hardly filled up our hungry stomachs. That night, we all went to sleep early.

We could hear the fireworks outside welcoming the New Year and the children in the neighborhood running up and down merrily, playing firecrackers after their reunion dinner.

Her eyes red, Mom told us softly, “Go to sleep. Once you are asleep, you will forget you are hungry.”

I still remembered these words till this day.

Back in the 1970s, many people held their wedding banquets in Perak Ku Kong Chow Association at Jalan Yang Kalsom. Mom went there to work as a cleaner after the dinner has ended, to earn a few dollars. She would bring home some left- over food for us.

Succulent prawns, crispy fried chickens and tasty mushrooms which some people cannot take in anymore, we gulped these down hungrily. Sometimes, we could find some toothpicks and used tissue papers inside the gravy.

Despite the hardships, Dad held the family together and reminded us to study hard. He said, no matter what, we still have to go to school and learn. He believed, with a pair of strong hands, we will not be hungry again.



My late uncle was standing 3rd from left at the back row.

The couple in the middle, back row, were my parents while my grandpa was seated in the middle, front row. 

The original photo has been framed up and hung on the wall.

Ipoh’s Little India to be “Spruced Up”

By |2010-06-11T07:19:36+08:00June 11th, 2010|Categories: Ipoh Town|Tags: , , |

The Ipoh Echo recently reported that Ipoh’s Little India is to be spruced up. The work is to be completed before Merdeka Day on August 31. The area being spruced up under a project financed by the Federal Government covers from the entrance of Jalan Leong Boon Swee into Jalan Lahat and carrying on into Jalan Sultan Yussuf (Belfield Street) up till the intersection with Jalan Sultan Iskandar Shah. The idea to give a facelift was mooted when the Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin visited the area last year and approved a RM1.5 million grant for the facelift. Plans for the facelift was drawn up by Ipoh City Council and presented to the residents in the area at a dialogue held last month to explain the changes about to be undertaken and to get their approval.

Among the changes to be made are replacing the interlocking bricks of the present pavements, laying interlocking pavers with motifs characteristic of Little India on the roads, installing decorative lamps and landscaping of the entire stretch. An arch will also be erected at the Dataran Little India (the small square in the centre of the area).

The existing memorial fountain (What memorial fountain?) will be demolished and in its place a stage will be constructed. A police pondok will also be located there to provide security.

Blocks of shop-houses within Little India will be painted with its original colours once all the rest of the sprucing up work has been completed.

Having read all of that I thought it would be usefdul to post the above picture of the square as it is today so that we may gain a comparison with the finished job.

And this is what the same place looked like in 1948.

Wouldn’t it be nice if all those terrible advertising signs be removed and the building allowed to show off their new paintwork as they originally did.

The Landmarks of Perak

By |2010-06-09T04:22:32+08:00June 9th, 2010|Categories: Books, Heritage Books, ipoh, Natural Heritage|Tags: , , , , , , , |

Landmarks of Perak records the richness and diversity of Perak’s architectural fabric. Structures depicted in the book include palaces, mosques, schools, temples, churches, memorials, government offices, banks, shophouses, bridges, and even private residences. More than 160 landmarks are featured, from each of the State’s nine districts, with particular attention given to the State’s historic urban centres. Over 400 specially commissioned watercolour paintings and sketched details by three leading Malaysian artists are reproduced in the book.

Published in 2006 by RNS Publications Sdn Bhd, Landmarks of Perak is produced by HRH Raja Nazrin Shah (the Regent of Perak); and features paintings from A Kasim Abas, Chin Kon Yit and Chang Huai-yan. The architectural descriptions are by Chen Voon Fee.

The book is now on sale at Popular Bookstore – selling at RM 230, with a 15% discount for Members; non-Members get a 10% discount. (ISBN 9789814308205)

…and the Lucky Patron is….

By |2010-06-07T01:00:53+08:00June 7th, 2010|Categories: Identify Photographs, ipoh, Ipoh Town, Memories|Tags: , |

Back in the 1950s, cinemas were a popular (probably the only) source of entertainment – television sets were not common and not everyone had a radio either! Hence, the cinema-experience was a real treat – especially for the little ones!

We received an interesting e-mail from Ignatius Chiew, regarding the ‘soft’ opening of Ipoh’s Cathay Cinema.

From the picture, we see the Lucky Patron (patron No. 500 000) receiving her double pass (for 1 month) as she arrives at the booking office. According to Ignatius, Cathay opened its doors to the public on 30th January 1957 – the eve of Chinese New Year – which was considered an auspicious day for business. Incidentally, Ignatius’ father was then the (first) manager of Cathay cinema.

Does anyone know WHEN exactly the half million patron mark was reached? We would like to know the date, and probably any other extra bit that you may know…..maybe someone might even know WHO the pretty lady in the picture is!

Nephew – May He Rest in Peace

By |2010-06-05T16:05:31+08:00June 5th, 2010|Categories: Ipoh Town, Memories, People|Tags: , |

Nephew of FMS fame was not only the well loved barman of the FMS, but he was friend and confidente of literally thousands of people from all over the globe who dropped in the FMS for a ‘quick one’ over his sixty years behind that famous old bar. Sadly he passed away this week and will never serve us a beer or one of his delightful meals again. An icon of Ipoh and part of the city’s history, he will be sorely missed when the FMS reopens its doors next year.

We pass ipohWorld’s condolences to his family.

福如东海,寿比南山 Happy Birthday Dear Grandpa!

By |2010-07-03T23:58:58+08:00June 4th, 2010|Categories: Memories, People|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

My paternal grandpa’s name is Yip Soo. He was a very skillful bean curd maker from Guangdong, China. He was the man behind the famous tau foo far at Nam Foong Coffee Shop.

This picture was taken in 1966 in his house in Batu Gajah on his 70th birthday celebration. He was flanked by his two wives (the eldest partly hidden by my brothers) as my mom helped me to serve him tea. I was only 2 at that time.

For this auspicious occasion, Grandpa received from his children, a set of suit, a pair of shoes and a cap, all made from expensive silk material in the traditional style. These items are called ‘sau 寿’which sounds like longevity in Cantonese. To give him ‘sau 寿’means to give him longevity, so it makes sense! All these items were kept away to be used when he died. But you won’t find this practice anymore.

Being the youngest among his brood of grandchildren, I was the apple of his eye. He used to shower plenty of hugs and kisses on me. I still remember how he loved to carry me around on his lean shoulder or put me on his lap. He liked to bring me over to the provision shop and let me choose whatever sweets or biscuits that I fancied.

During school holidays, all the grandchildren staying in Ipoh would visit Grandpa. Paternal grandma would charter an old taxi, a Mercedes, to ferry us to Batu Gajah. We would be packed like sardines into the taxi, all ten of us with grandma in tow! Poor rickety taxi!

Grandpa welcomed us and treated us like VIPs. He would spoil us rotten. He was a good chef and would cook up a few delicious dishes to serve us. He also liked to give us money to buy snacks at the provision shop opposite his house. We would spend like there is no tomorrow! Ice creams, lollipops, prawn crackers……

These are the memories I can remember him by. I was only 6 when he passed away in 1970 from lung cancer as he was a heavy smoker. I still remember the grand funeral ceremony and there were about 20 stocky pallbearers carrying his big and heavy coffin. He was buried with much fanfare on top of a hill in Batu Gajah. The plot of land is big and so is his cemetery. Big things for a small man !!!

“Oh No! …………..”

By |2010-06-04T09:34:14+08:00June 4th, 2010|Categories: Identify Photographs, Ipoh Town, Memories, What is it?|Tags: , , , , |

“Oh No!” I can hear you say, “Not the clock tower AGAIN!”, but please be patient because this postcard sent to us as a scan was bought here in Ipoh in 1955 and there is something quite different about it.

“Different! What is different?”

Well, out of the many similar pictures we have seen from the inauguration in 1909 to today, we have never seen the wooden building at the bottom left of the picture. So please enlighten us by telling us what it was and when it was there.

We know that with so many readers with great memories of Ipoh, somebody will be able to tell us.

The “Lions” of Hugh Low Street…

By |2010-06-02T02:07:13+08:00June 2nd, 2010|Categories: Identify Photographs, ipoh, Ipoh Town, Memories, Natural Heritage|Tags: , , |

This is a front view of No.188, Hugh Low Street – which used to be Ipohgal’s home. The picture was taken by Aaron Ong, who was inspired by Ipohgal’s description of her colourful childhood. The design of this house deserves a special mention – particularly the 2 lions on the roof (see picture below)

Like Ipohgal has mentioned, there are 2 lions on either side of a globe (in the centre). Were the lions part of a certain trademark? Or perhaps a unique ‘signature’ of a famous person? I do wonder if there are anymore of such designs on other buildings around Ipoh – maybe it was part of a series of buildings built by a particular architect! (for instance, the shop houses that Yau Tet Shin built all have a similar design).

We thank Aaron for the pictures, and also Ipohgal for sharing her fond memories with us.

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