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.