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August 2010

Meet the ‘Artists’…

By |2010-08-30T11:12:16+08:00August 30th, 2010|Categories: ipoh, Ipoh Town, Memories, Natural Heritage, People|Tags: , , , , , |

Meet Mr and Mrs Tan – the diligent and creative couple, who produce ‘lion heads’ (and ‘bodies’ too).

We featured Mr and Mrs Tan’s store in a previous blog; we can’t help but feature them again – together with some of their masterpieces (pictures below).

Such an art seems to be fading as time goes by. It’s a pity, since these vibrantly coloured ‘lions’ and ‘dragons’ never fail to entertain us – especially during the Lunar New Year!

We thank Charlie for these pictures.

Lost in Time?

By |2010-08-27T12:41:23+08:00August 27th, 2010|Categories: Identify Photographs, ipoh, Memories, Natural Heritage|Tags: , |

I’m sure many of you have seen this place (picture below). It’s said to be near Kok Kee Restaurant.

Familiar? Here’s another shot of the mansion, a different angle…

Some of you must be smiling and nodding your heads. What we’d like to know is what’s become of this place? We hope it won’t be torn down or suffer gastly make-overs. Maybe it could be restored, like the Lam Looking Bazaar?

Do share your thoughts with us…..

The ‘other side’ of Jalan Laxamana

By |2010-08-25T09:00:10+08:00August 25th, 2010|Categories: Identify Photographs, ipoh, Ipoh Town, Memories, Natural Heritage|Tags: , , , |

Those who frequent the Pasar Besar (Main Market) of Ipoh might be familiar with these (picture below)

Yes, these shop houses have stood the test of time; and they’re STILL going strong! The 3rd shop from the left is particularly interesting – the one painted yellow, with the words ‘Market Terrace’ at the top.

As can be seen (picture above, left), it’s a double shop; the shop with the grey shade makes ‘lion heads’ (picture on the right). It’s rather fascinating to know that this trade is still being carried on, even till today!

Has anyone been there? Do share your thoughts; perhaps some of you have met the owners….

Inside Falim House

By |2010-08-24T08:24:03+08:00August 23rd, 2010|Categories: Identify Photographs, ipoh, Memories, Natural Heritage|Tags: , , , |

The above pictures were taken inside Falim House, which was once the abode of Foo Nyit Tse. Much of the old furniture and trimmings have been preserved – which attracted the production crew of the local drama Sybil. The pictures below were taken at the set.

For Sybil, Falim House was used as the home of the Japanese Officer; the picture on the right shows Sybil being held captive, with a Japanese soldier on guard.

Like Falim House, we hope such heritage buildings in and around Ipoh be preserved / maintained….

‘Classic Rides’

By |2010-08-18T09:14:30+08:00August 18th, 2010|Categories: Identify Photographs, Memories, People|Tags: , , |

How many of you remember them? The cars, I mean…..yes, the MGA and the Austin 7!

Notice the Austin’s number plate – P 236. I wonder how many Austins there were in Perak back in 1959. Same with the MGAs. Anyone had the pleasure of driving an MGA or Austin? The boy in the dark pants seems to have ‘chosen’ his favourite ride……Nothing like a classic car, eh?

The Foong Seong Villa

By |2010-08-16T11:32:09+08:00August 16th, 2010|Categories: Identify Photographs, ipoh, Ipoh Town, Memories, Natural Heritage|Tags: , , , , |

This place was said to have a large hall on the top floor. During the war, the hall was a Japanese mah jong den. Later (after the war), it was turned into classrooms for the Sam Choy Primary School – this was during the day time; at night, it was the venue for the Chinese Opera!

We know some of you out there need no introduction to this famous landmark! We’d like to hear from anyone who has MORE information. As in the picture, the ground floor is being fully utilised – but what about the hall?

The Leaning Tower of Perak!

By |2010-08-13T18:36:30+08:00August 13th, 2010|Categories: Identify Photographs, Natural Heritage, Perak heritage Society|Tags: , , , |

Some time ago, the Perak Heritage Society visited Teluk Intan (formerly known as Telok Anson). Among the highlights of the trip was visiting the famous ‘Leaning Tower’. Yes, Perak has her own ‘leaning tower’ – just like Pisa. We have here some pictures of the inside of the tower…(see below)

On the left is a picture taken from one of the levels, looking upwards. On the right is the view of the highest level of the tower.

The tower was built in 1885 by Leong Choon Chong (a contractor) and was originally used as a covered water tank – this was to store potable water to the (then) 800 residents in the town. There is also records which state that the water was used for firefighting purposes too. The tower leans towards to west by about 1.8 metres; this was due to the sinking of the foundation during the great floods in 1889 and 1895.

Made of bricks and wood, this ‘Pagoda-style’ tower stands at 25.5 metres tall. The tower has 3 storeys, and above the 3rd storey is the 16 feet deep water tank.

The photographsd were kindly donated to us by Charlie Choong.

…a Mystery no more!

By |2010-08-11T09:47:38+08:00August 11th, 2010|Categories: Identify Photographs, ipoh, Ipoh Town, Natural Heritage|Tags: , , , , |

Most of us are familiar with the Birch Clock Tower (along Post Office Road). In one of our previous posts, we were wondering what building seemed hidden in the background, far left of the picture (see below).

Well, the mystery has been solved – the building is none other than the old Court House!

Yes, this was what the court house looked like in the late 1800s. This court house was built in 1888 and remained a court house till 1909.  The court moved to another location, but later settled at its present place – Club Road. This structure, however, remained there till the 1960s; it later paved way to the construction of the Perak State Mosque.

Meet the ‘Lions’ of Falim

By |2010-08-09T14:02:54+08:00August 9th, 2010|Categories: Identify Photographs, Memories, Museums, Natural Heritage, People|Tags: , , , |

Remember them? (see picture below)

(These lions can be found on either side of the front porch, of the Falim House)

Yes, these are the two faithful lions who ‘guard’ Falim House; we were also told that these lions were made of cast iron, not stone!

They are painted red, obviously for “good luck”. I wonder if they were specially made for Foo Nyit Tse?  I know some houses have a pair of lions, but they’re made of porcelain. Besides lions, were other animals used? Other then Falim House, were there other places with similar ‘guardians’?

My grandma’s classic collections……祖母的古懂收藏

By |2010-08-07T12:04:49+08:00August 7th, 2010|Categories: Ipoh Town, Memories, People|

My grandma Yim Mun had a penchant for classical things. This was due to a privileged upbringing in her childhood home. As the daughter of a wealthy and respectable man, she had an eye for high quality and lasting items.  She always went for good brands.


This was a vintage Singer treadle sewing machine which grandma bought in 1928. She paid RM130 for it, quite a princely sum back in those days.

Based on its serial number Y 3254573, I managed to trace its origin. It was manufactured in Clydebank, Scotland in the year 1925. That makes it almost 85 years old.

Grandma used it to do some light patchwork. Many years later, she gave it to her daughter who was a tailor. After many years of heavy usage, it could no longer function so smoothly.

My aunt simply abandoned it and bought a new electronic machine. It was left to gather dust and stand idle at a corner for many decades. However, being a possessive woman, she does not allow anyone else to touch her mom’s property.

It was not until 1973 after my grandma’s death that my dad decided to overhaul it and bring it back to life. He felt it was a waste to leave it idling around.

First, he traced the details of the machine into a piece of blank paper and marked them accordingly. Next, he took out part by part and sorted them into different categories. Since they were very rusty due to years of neglect, Dad soaked each part in kerosene for some time to remove the rust. Then he painstakingly polished them until they were shiny again. Every nuts and screws were given a touch up.

It was truly a labor of love. He wanted to give it to Mom who really needed the machine to sew some clothes for us.

Every night, after he had finished sharpening scissors, he would labor on this machine. It took him almost two months before he could restore it back into its original glory. Once it was finished, it was as good as new! Today, it could still function so well.

Mom was so thrilled to finally have a sewing machine and we could have some clothes to wear instead of old hand me downs. Especially for me, because as the youngest child, I always got fifth hand clothes!


Beside this sewing machine, grandma also bought a vintage Bush Radio which was manufactured in London around 1940s. This radio was bought in 1945 after my dad opened Nam Foong Coffee Shop at 188 Hugh Low Street. It was actually sold to her by a regular customer.

This customer was a hardcore gambler and he lost heavily at the Race Course. Desperate for some quick money, he took his family’s radio and made an offer to my grandma who could not resist this gem. She wanted to buy it so that the patrons of the coffee shop could have some entertainment. It was a good decision.

While enjoying the smooth and aromatic tau foo fah, the customers were serenaded by music and songs from all over the world. During its prime, we can actually tune in to stations from the USA, Europe, Africa and most parts of Asia. It was on from morning till night. It served us until mid 70s, a total of almost 30 years. Due to heavy usage, it eventually broke down.

I found out that it can still be repair but it has to be done in London where the manufacturer has a department to repair and restore its vintage radios. And they also have a website for buying and selling such vintage gems.

There were many other valuable items which my grandma bought throughout the years. Among them was a big grandfather clock, a vintage typewriter, a gramophone, a charcoal iron and some porcelain wares. My family had sold them off to antique collectors to raise fund to treat my youngest uncle in China. He eventually died from a tumor in his neck at a very young age. Today, only these two items were left to remember my grandma.

The Garden Villa, Ipoh

By |2010-08-09T13:39:38+08:00August 6th, 2010|Categories: Identify Photographs, ipoh, Natural Heritage, Restoration|Tags: , , |

Here is one way of restoring and using a heritage building…..

Garden Villa is located at No.5, Jalan Raja Dr Nazrin Shah (Gopeng Road), Ipoh. It was originally an annex to Eu Tong Sen’s mansion (Eu Chateau-Forest Lodge). Now, this place is managed by Kinta Heritage group. This Anglo-Malay architecture can be a venue for gatherings, exhibitions, talks, seminars, etc. – given it’s suitable location (Gopeng Road), which is not far away from the city centre!

Any group or association interested should call Magis at 05-2417055 / email: kintaheritage@gmail.com

Note: the sketch on this poster was done by Amiruddin Mohd Daud (an Ipoh-born artist); he was featured in one of our previous posts.

STOP PRESS For the convenience of those who prefer Bahas Malaysia rather than English:

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow?

By |2010-08-04T08:31:07+08:00August 4th, 2010|Categories: Identify Photographs, ipoh, Ipoh Town|Tags: , , , , , |

Looks familiar? To those who (like me) often visit the Hilltop Cafe (the orange building at the far end, right side of the shady tree), you would have noticed these rows of shop houses – particularly the ones on the right of the picture. (Hilltop Cafe is along Hugh Low Street). These shop houses, on Jalan Chung On Siew, were once used in a movie. (see picture below)

This is what the shops looked like, when they were touched up/painted/decorated. This was done to portray a ‘scene in old Shanghai’ – specially for the Ang Lee movie ‘Lust, Caution’. (more about this can be found here)

But alas, these shop houses won’t be able to live up to their ‘fame’ – for they are being torn down!

Has anyone heard anything about this? Maybe someone out there knows what’s going on; and maybe what’s going to be built there once these shop houses go……..

The Falim House

By |2012-10-08T20:49:31+08:00August 2nd, 2010|Categories: Identify Photographs, ipoh, Memories, Natural Heritage|Tags: , , , , , |

Foo Nyit Tse started off as miner, under Foo Choo Choon; he later opened his first mine in 1898. In the 1920s, Foo Nyit Tse (who by then was a well known mining Towkay) built Falim – ‘a self contained housing estate, with a large num of low cost terrace housing and 40 shop houses’. Falim, which means ‘beautiful forests’, is located along Lahat Road; between Ipoh and Menglembu.

Here we have Falim House – Foo Nyit Tse’s mansion, which was built across the road from the shop houses. It was at this very mansion that Towkay Foo entertained the Who’s Who of Ipoh society back then. The picture above is the front view of the mansion; notice that on either side of the porch, there is a red, stone lion.

This picture is a side view of the mansion; on the left of the picture, seems to be what once was a courtyard – perhaps Towkay Foo had open-air parties too?

We thank Leong Yew Kee for providing us with these photos.

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