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February 2011

The Barber of Belfield Street

By |2017-08-25T15:41:50+08:00February 18th, 2011|Categories: Identify Photographs, ipoh, Ipoh Town, Memories, People|Tags: , |

Today’s feature is none other then the Star Barbershop, at Belfield Street.


Star Air-Conditioned Hair Dressing Salon,

97 Belfield Street (now Jalan Sultan Yussuf) IPOH 30000


The Star Hair Dressing Salon came into being in 1927, it was started by Megarai Karuppiah with just 2 barbers – Katchiappan and Manickam – and the premises were shared with a Japanese tailor before it was fully owned by the barbers.

It is a very old and well- preserved hair salon, with two 4th generation barbers still working. One of them started working at the salon in the 1953. The exterior of the shop is quite old and the building is old though there were few changes made to the structure of the shop over time. The shop has a unique style of tilted mirrors which run across the right side of the wall when entrance is made

through the front door, according to Thirunavu Karasu a/l Krishnan, the 4th generation barber, the mirrors were tilted for a better view for the customers. Right opposite that wall, there are 2 gorgeous ceramic basins without any damage of cracks over all these years.

There are electric hair trimmer and hair dryers ( Italian made) in the shop though rusty and old but still in working condition. There are few remaining chairs in the shop which look absolutely fine and strong, these chairs were imported from Japan, with the grey embossed letters “TOKYO – TAKEHANA CO – KURAMAE” on the metal frame of the foot rest, where Kuramae meaning “as strong as a sumo wrestler”.

Leaning against the back wall of the shop is a wooden cabinet with slots cut on the drawer fronts. These slots were used by each of the barbers to put in the daily takings from the customers.

Initially there was no electricity supply in the shop, so the cooling used to be provided with a Punkah Wallah to fan the customers before the ceiling fans were installed. Then in 1954, a ducted air-conditioning system was installed which was then replaced by 3 window air-conditioning units after 10 years.

The shop once employed 14 barbers and they used to live above the shop where they were provided with food as well. Their records were adequately kept and at the end of the month, each barber would be entitled to a salary depending on number of haircuts achieved, minus food and laundry allowance.

There is a framed group photograph (above) of all the barbers and the valued customers, hung from the top edge of the mirror and dated 1965. In the centre is Dr. Moreira who would normally ask for a barber to visit him in his office.

The salon has been given a notice from the property owner which means that there has to be end to its service after 84 memorable golden years.

This is a summary of the full story and a great selection of photos submitted by Peter Shaoming Wang. The full story and photographs may be found here.


On the left, we have Mr Thiru’s grandchildren. A traditional family they are seen saying their prayers. On the right, is Thiru (today) with his wife and granddaughter, Saathana.

Driving Through the Town

By |2011-02-16T16:34:51+08:00February 16th, 2011|Categories: About Us, Identify Photographs, ipoh, Ipoh Town, Memories, People|Tags: , , |

Some of our fans out there love old photos. Hence we decided to feature this one on our blog today.

Here’s one of J A S Jennings (Editor of Times of Malaya) and his wife Freda – being chauffeur driven round the town. In the background is the first Times of Malaya Building.

The Ipoh Tree!

By |2011-02-14T09:08:41+08:00February 14th, 2011|Categories: Identify Photographs, ipoh, Memories, Natural Heritage|Tags: , , |

Yes, folks! Today’s blog is a tribute to the Ipoh Tree – the picture we have here was taken (by S Y Lee) just outside the Ipoh Railway Station. Below is the plaque with an explanation.

Besides the Railway Station, the Ipoh Tree (also known as the Epu / Upas Tree) can also be found at the D R Seenivasagam Park.

Schooling Days – Episode 3

By |2011-02-11T09:49:31+08:00February 11th, 2011|Categories: childhood, ipoh, Memories, People|Tags: , , , |

Today we’re featuring the 3rd installment of UV’s Schooling Days.

Picture of the ACS Primary Building (from the 1800s), taken from the Kinta Valley book.

 Episode 3

I didn’t do too well in my first year in ACS Ipoh. I was placed in the ‘B’ class the following year. It knocked the pride out of me and possibly the high expectations my parents had of me. It also set me off, young as I was then, to accept disappointments and being taken down a peg or two. I settled in easily in the new ‘B’ stream. Practically all schools stream their students according to their academic performance during that time. There would be class positions and ‘Standard’ positions based on the total marks of all the subjects. So if you are first in class in the ‘A’ stream you may be first in Standard but should there be someone from the other streams obtaining a higher total than you, you may end up being second in Standard. Nobody wants to be the last in class (even in the best class) or worse still, last in the Standard!

It was this system of evaluating a pupil that started this silly race to be academically ‘excellent’ in our Malaysian education system. Parents talked about their children having obtained this or that position in school. “O, my son was first in class”, a proud parent would proclaim proudly while another would sheepishly say, “My son only came out 10th.” So what if he is first or tenth or for that matter last? Is his future determined by the so-called ‘position in class and Standard?

Mixing with boys who ‘were not so clever’ so to speak widened my outlook in life more. It proves to me that I am also someone who is not at the top all the time. My desire to lead a life of a boy in the Fifties just started then. The pressure was off and I could do with the minimum of studies and get by. I started playing games amongst my neighbourhood friends; go on cycle rides every evening and practically the whole day on weekends. Life was great!

I had my first sex education in Standard 4B in ACS Ipoh. There were some ‘naughty’ boys who would tell you tales of ‘sexual exploits’ (more like peeping) that they had experienced and one even showed what masturbation was in class! (I hope I am not censored.). Yes, during the Fifties we were not so fortunate as to get all the pornography via the Internet. It was all related through word of mouth from ‘experiences’ someone had. All the innocent ones (me included) would listened attentively to ‘juicy’ tales from the more ‘experienced’ fellas.

I had a lady class teacher then, Mrs Lee Hoo Keat, the daughter of Mr Aw Boon Jin, our Junior Supervisor. ACS was divided into Primary, Junior and Secondary then. Mrs Lee was a tall lady and would often come to class dressed in ‘samfoo’ (a Chinese form of attire made up of a pair of pants [straight cut] and a short blouse of the same floral cotton material. While she teaches, she would be seated behind her teacher’s desk and she would cross her legs and swing the leg that was placed above the other. Eventually, her shoes, which she put on loosely, would fly off her foot and fly out of her desk region and someone has to send it back to her. The boy seated at the front of the row that was nearest to her desk has this task.

Our English teacher was Mr Aw Boon Jin and we would dread his periods. Every mistake we make would be ‘rewarded’ with a swipe of his thin cane that he carried around across our palm. I learned my English Grammar and spelling very well those days. Even worse would be detention after school for serious and repeated mistakes. I was detained once and my brothers left me behind and I had to walk home. It was a lesson well learned.

History was taught by Mr. Wong Chong Choon (we nicknamed him ‘Choon Toi’ because he was rather mean to us). He would from the first day of his History lesson about the Bronze Age asked us “What is bronze?!” For weeks that would go on and none of us ‘stupid’ fellas could answer him. This would go on for practically a whole term and he would never give us the answer. I think I did not find out exactly what bronze was until very much later. I remembered this teacher in particular also because he made a classmate of ours stand on a chair with his pants off as a punishment! I can’t imagine what would happen to a teacher who does this today!

In Standard 5, I once had a hockey stick landing on my head by a teacher for talking while he was teaching. I too will never forget him. He was Mr. Ng Pak Hing, a brother of the famous Dr. Ng Yoke Hing, Chairman of the Board of Governors of ACS Ipoh. I never told my parents about this incident until I left school. Luckily I must have had a thick skull then. Punishments were dished out in all sorts of forms those days and we do not go crying back to our parents for obvious reasons. Our parents will blame us for being naughty and that was why the teachers punished us. We also took our punishment like a man and would consider it sissy to tell our parents.

In Standard Five, I had a very interesting teacher. He was Mr. Robert Leong. He runs a small shop in Anderson road (half a shop) selling comics and other gadgets. Because of his outside trade, he would tell us fantastic tales from comic characters like Superman and Captain Marvel. These characters come to live the way he told the stories with gestures, facial expressions and ‘sound effects’ (made from his vocal organs only). This would then make us interested in the comics he sold. No, I am not saying he sold them in class too! We would then go out and hunt for them and long for each new one. He was very creative too as he would invent new stories and characters with superpower. Once he told us how his ‘hero’ could fly because he ate lots of onions and let off gas to propel him into the sky!

Yes, we had some interesting teachers then. Soon it was the year for the Secondary School Entrance Examinations. If you fail this examination, you cannot get into Secondary School. You would become a Primary School dropout! The year was already 1957. It would be Merdeka soon. The Examination would be post Merdeka. By the time I was admitted to ACS Ipoh the Primary School Grading System had already been changed. It was from Standard 1 to Standard 6. (Primary 1 and 2 were dropped and the old system of Standard 1 to 9 abandoned. Secondary school started from Form 1 to 5 as it is today with Lower and Upper Six for those who wanted to go further to Universities.)

I took my studies more seriously by then. I spent more time reading and learning but still played a lot with my neighbourhood friends. I continued with my model making hobby and played with self-made toy soldiers and table-soccer. I too was very creative and imaginative in the way I created my own play things and battle scenarios. I use my bed, mattress, blanket and pillows to create battle terrains of various types for my mock battles that would last hours. I love to read war comics. Since my brother-in-law was an ardent fan of those war comics depicting battles of World War II, I had the opportunity to read lots of them. These gave me a very good background of military tactics and strategies and reading books about pilots (Biggles) and war heroes was my craze.

The end result of my taking my studies seriously was I passed very well and for a ‘B’ class boy to end up with the 12th position in Standard was a surprised to my teachers. I remembered Mr. Ng Ah Fook announcing the result to my class and when he called out my name and position and I was not really overjoyed, he showed a shocked face. I had never been excessively overjoyed by any major successes in the academic field no matter how good the results may be. To me, it was merely another hurdle to cross and the next one to face.

ACS, Ipoh

By |2011-02-09T09:36:18+08:00February 9th, 2011|Categories: Identify Photographs, ipoh, Memories, Natural Heritage, People|Tags: , , |

It is said that the main building of the Angle Chinese School (ACS) was ‘erected and opened in 1914’. It was also said to have a ‘landmark, Edwardian-style building’ which stood ‘parallel to Lahat Road’. Interestingly, this building was designed by C H LaBrooy! (for more on ACS, click here)

This picture here was sent to us by Ignatius Chew. Do you recognise anyone?

‘Day’ and ‘Night’, at Cockman Street

By |2011-02-09T08:24:57+08:00February 8th, 2011|Categories: Identify Photographs, ipoh, Ipoh Town, Memories|Tags: , , , |


Here’s a Day and Night shot of Cathay Theatre (when it was STILL a cinema) – notice that the mall behind Cathay was Ocean (now, it’s The Store). We thank Valerie for these pictures who has now provided the following additional information:

“The dayshot was taken in the morning of October 1998 when the street was not busy.


 The building was just freshly repainted with new color shemes that combine the

 best of traditional art deco and modern day glitziness.  The “C” on the right hand

 side of the marquee is the Cathay logo that was not yet put back up after the paint job

 but was up for the night shot.


The nightshot was taken that same day right after Ocean turned off their lights

to close up for the night.  The timing of the nightshot was perfect as it made the glittering lights of Cathay stand out elegantly without the distractionof Ocean in the background.”


Thank you Valerie.

The Kinta Lodge (1922-1928)

By |2017-07-24T11:42:37+08:00February 7th, 2011|Categories: Identify Photographs, ipoh, Memories, Natural Heritage, People|Tags: , , , |

We have here a picture (sent to us by Phoebe) of the Kinta Lodge. Notice the members in their Freemason Regalia – particularly the interesting designs on the Aprons!

From what we’ve gathered, the first Masonic Hall was along Maxwell Road. The building was later taken over by Anderson School. Then, the Masons moved to their new building (in 1931) along Tiger Lane (this building is still used today).

However, the building shown in this picture seems rather different from the former and latter Lodge. Was this the interim building used while the new Masonic Hall was being built? YOU tell us 🙂

By the way, we are currently putting up a large collection of freemasonry items on our main database all related to one Ipoh planter, Dato’ Ronald Boxall. Just go to http://www.ipohworld.org and search for “All” and “Boxall”. Although all the 150 items are not up yet there is plenty to see there and you may be able to help us improve the descriptions.

The Perak Chinese Recreation Club PCRC

By |2014-10-14T18:25:32+08:00February 3rd, 2011|Categories: Identify Photographs, ipoh, Memories, People|Tags: , , , , , |

Here we have two pictures from S Y Lee – teams of the Perak Chinese Recreation Club, Chung Thye Phin Road. You will notice the old wooden building in the photo of the footballers. The present building is quite ugly but functional and built at the minimum price.

The Inter CRC Ladies Hockey Champions (1951)

SY says:For the ladies hockey team, I can only remember Ms. Lim Suan Gaik who is standing at the extreme right. She is still around for I saw her a few days back. I remember the Ooi sisters, there were three of them but I can’t remember who are the ones in the photos.”

Ipoh League Champions (1958-1959)

And for the photo of the footballers he says, “I know some of the nicknames but not the actual names except for Mr. Yee Seng Choy, who represented Malaya or Malaysia. He was recruited to Hong Kong as a player. He is second from the front row. Second from the extreme right is Mr. Wong Kam Seng, another national player. My father, Mr. Lee Kang San, is standing at the extreme left.”

Does anyone know more names of these star players, or more about the Recreation Club? If you’re one of them in these pictures, we’d like to hear from you too 😉


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