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January 2012

The Grace Lutheran Church Menglembu (GLCM) By Ipohbornkid

By |2012-01-27T08:54:55+08:00January 27th, 2012|Categories: childhood, Memories, People|Tags: , |

What is so special about the GLCM that it deserves a write up?  Well, among the Christian churches in Ipoh, the Catholic, Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist, and other denominations all have Anglo-Celtic influence but the Lutheran has German influence.  Secondly, GLCM carried out its missionary work in the tin mining villages south of Ipoh.  Thirdly, they provided an essential medical service to the people.  There was only one GP in Menglembu doing private practice and he could see up to 80 patients a day.  Hence, in 1957, the congregation, medical and missionary work of GLCM (herein the “Church”) began in earnest.

I came to be aware of the Church when I was in Std 6 in ACS Ipoh and I was familiar with the Christian teachings given by the Methodist Church in the school.  The year 1957 has a special significance that Malaya was granted independence from British rule.  It was a birth of a new nation and era.

The Church bought the premises where Lahat Road bends to the left and directly opposite a saw mill.  The building was a former school house for Man Hua primary school which moved to the new “Regrouping Area (North)” opposite the house of Chong Soon Fan.

My elder sister became part of the Church youth group in the late 1950s and I can remember some of the youths at that time.  Notable membership of the youth group came from the Leong family, namely Seng Yap, Seng Kee, Seng Mee, Wan Yoong and included the eldest Leong daughter who was a school teacher at Man Hua Primary School in Menglembu.  Their mother, Mrs Leong, a giant pillar in the Church elder group, and was  also the driving force behind the activities of the Church.  Other names like Eva & her younger brothers, Esat & his brothers, Ng Tong Seng, Soong San, the Wongs (Ah See, Ah Look & her pretty sister, Wu Yan Poh, Ah Siew etc.  Eva, a very pretty girl, was the organ player.  Most of the youth group were in their senior high years.  Seng Yap and Seng Kee graduated as Dentists whilst Seng Mee and my sister graduate with medical degrees.  All these people were went through Form VI in ACS Ipoh.

There were, among the Church leaders, very interesting personalities.  Pastor Koch, was the first Pastor of the Church that I remembered well.  Sunday morning service was conducted in English and the evening service was conducted in a Chinese dialect “Hakka”.  It was a curiosity then to observe a European reading the Chinese language bible and preaching in Hakka dialect.  Pastor Koch lived in the bungalow constructed at back of the Church and opposite the Wong’s residence (whose son is now an elder of the Church).  Of course, Koch is a German name.  It was no coincidence that Hakka was the chosen dialect because most villages in Menglembu and south were predominantly Hakka villages. 

Another unforgettable person was Dr Helmut Difenthal, a German trained physician.  He was accompanied by his wife and young children.  They spoke German in their residence but he was able to communicate in English and Hakka.  We once went to a Kledang Hill hike with the Church group and, with his tall stature and military training he literally marched up the hill leaving us behind.  Dr Difenthal later confessed that he was a conscript in the German Army near the end of the WWII, and if it had continued, he would have joined the “Panzer” division (tank brigade).

Dr Difenthal was a very dedicated medico who was ever engrossed with his work with hook worm infestation.  Most of his free time was spent on the microscope looking at specimen collected in his village run for hook work infestation.  Sometimes, he got in trouble with his wife for immersing himself in his work.  I believe some of the youths were influence by him to do medicine and medical related work.  He was a good role model for unselfish dedication in improving the health and hygiene of the local population.  It is sad that he had to depart from Menglembu when his research work conflicted with the findings of the Health Department, in terms of the locality and degree of infestation of hook worm in the local population.  He was sadly missed by all who had been in contact with this “saint”.

In my days with the Church, I was regarded as the naughty one (kuai chai) and was hell bent in the game of disruption.  For example, I would fall asleep during Thursday night bible class and that had created some embarrassment for my elder sibling.  I remember that the bible study class was conducted by an elder called Mr Chong, a no nonsense and strict personality, and obviously incompatible with me at that time.  Maybe I was too young to be in the youth group because I believe they were too serious, studious and matured for me.  However, I did have my usefulness in volunteering to go on missionary work in the southern mining towns from Lahat, Pusing, Jelapang, etc.   I would accompany the driver on the small truck where the piano was loaded at the back.  On arrival at the site, the Church people would start handing out milk powder to the villages followed by a sermon.  I had no idea then why they were handling out milk powder and now, I believe it had two purposes, one to improve the nutrition of the babies in the villages and second to attract an audience to hear the gospel. There was also the travelling medical team to provide much needed medical services to the villagers.  The outdoor evangelistic activities suited me more than serious bible study.

In my younger days, I was almost incontrollable.  In desperation, my family decided to farm me out to live with the Leong family hoping they will influence my determination to perform better in school.  I stayed with Seng Mee for 3 months prior to doing the Senior Cambridge and I managed to pass the exam.  I did not have the opportunity to thank her in person but in my heart I am very much indebted to the Leong matriarch for her kindness and care. There was also a brighter side to my association with the Church that I was allowed to assist in the teaching of Sunday school for the young children.

The most unforgettable incident was a Church outing to Kampar swimming pool. Everybody enjoyed themselves except me. Barefooted, I managed to step on a bee and got stung.  It was excruciating pain. The nurse, a kind European lady gave me a shot of anti-histamine in the Church clinic 

The Church did played an important role in the development of the community in Menglembu.  Besides a spiritual role, it has kept a steady influence on its youth group, encouraged academic excellence and kept some of the “gangster” influence out of the group during a period of gangster activities in Menglembu.  I write this piece of history so future generations of youth and congregation would not forget the pioneers and particularly, the significant contributions made by Mrs Leong, a kind and gentle lady with a strong commitment to the Church.

Note: The photograph of the Church Women’s Group belonged to the author’s mother who was a member of the group. It dates from the mid 1960s.

The ‘Tutorial Institute’

By |2012-02-06T11:43:28+08:00January 25th, 2012|Categories: history, Identify Photographs, ipoh, People|Tags: , |

We’ve come across many photographs of Ipoh. With a little ‘detective work’ and some help from our fans, we usually can guess the places/streets. But this one (picture above) has left us stumped :O

Do you know WHERE in Ipoh this place is? Is this place still there now? Amd what about the date?

We thank Shuen Huey Foo of Ipoh for this picture.

And here are Ruth’s photographs received today. See her comment below.

Gong Xi Fa Cai!

By |2012-01-22T12:28:27+08:00January 22nd, 2012|Categories: greetings|Tags: , |

Tonight’s the night. The Reunion Dinner.

And Chinese or not, we wish all our readers Health, Wealth and Happiness in the forthcoming Year of the Water Dragon.

LEETON Revamped

By |2012-01-21T21:19:57+08:00January 21st, 2012|Categories: ipoh, Restoration|Tags: , |

A while ago we featured the Main Convent Primary School (http://www.ipohworld.org/?p=1618) which was housed in Leeton House and under renovation. Today I dropped in to see what had happened to the grand old building and was pleasantly surprised for although not a true restoration the owners/architects/contractors have made a good attempt to retain many of the old features and also match the new building (to some extent) to the old. I was delighted to find the old LEETON sign had been saved.

Indeed all the tiling on the ground floor, the grand staircase, pillars and other fittings have been retained. The original windows at the front are also original but unfortunately the old doors are no longer there.

These were taken with IPhone 4 and I shall return another day with another camera for more shots.

Time to welcome the Year of the Dragon

By |2012-01-20T09:36:03+08:00January 20th, 2012|Categories: About Us, Identify Photographs, Memories|Tags: , |

Sometime back we stumbled upon this advert – with the two dragons and what seems to be a ball of fire between their mouths. I’m no feng shui expert…but I’m sure this symbolizes something good? You tell us 🙂

You read it right, this advert is courtesy of the Odeon! Yes folks, it’s that time of the year again: family reunions, feasting and merry-making, ang-pau collecting 😉 …etc.

The Staff of 1967

By |2018-12-12T14:20:34+08:00January 18th, 2012|Categories: history, ipoh, Memories, People|Tags: , , |

We have here a 1967 staff photo from Anderson School, Ipoh. Were YOU in this group? Do you recognise the teachers? We’d be glad to have some names (and perhaps a few fond memories too!) 🙂

We thank Chan Weng & Lim Kok Sin for this photo.

to get a better view, click the photo 😉

This photo was first published in http://p21chong.wordpress.com/?s=anderson+school+teacher+1967


What’s ‘Cooking’ in Menglembu?

By |2012-01-17T16:23:45+08:00January 16th, 2012|Categories: history, Memories, People|

Menglembu Night Stalls – a snapshot of the past in 1957

By IpohBornKid

I have been thinking about this snapshot of night stalls in Menglembu in 1957.  I wanted to record this snapshot before I get demented.  I have been through this In my mind and on many occasions, even in my sleep. I now  believe I have got most of it and I wish readers who know Menglembu better than I do, should correct  me.  This snapshot is based on a map inlaid with description of landmarks, night stalls and old street names.

The main night life in Menglembu had its focus in the intersection Pike Street and Treachers Street.  Pike Street (now Jalan Kledang) was the centre of commerce where there were medicine shops (3), coffee shops run by Hainanese (3), drapery & imported goods shops (2), liquor shop (1) and food provisions shops (2).  The other end of Pike Street ran into the fresh food market (meat, vegetables, food provisions and food stalls.  The Loke and Yap were distinguished families with residence in Pike Street.

The intersection of this commerce spot had street lamps and the four corners of the intersection were occupied by a water repair shop (they also do Chinese medicine) the Chinese Amateur Opera (famous Hong Kong opera stars came from there viz. Leong Sing Poh & Sun Ma Tse); the Wing Kut Fong coffee shop (also sold curry rice & noodles) and the Yap family residence., Another famous Hakka Noodle stall that was doing business in a Pike Street coffee shop (Hainanese) called Choy OnnYuen.  This stall was started by “Fei Chai’s” father and mother selling Hakka noodles, towfu and other delicious meat balls.  The family business expanded to Treachers Street, south of stall 1 (see reference map).  You can get a bowl of rice noodle for 10c and 20c for the egg noodle and each delicious meat ball of towfu cost 5c or 10c.  Their chillies sauce was second to none.

Returning to the centre of night life, stall 5 sold iced soya bean milk and leong fun (cost 5c or 10c), followed by a fried noodle stall  (6) and at stall 7, is the most famous Menglembu wan ton mein stall ran by a woman.  She had a nick name regarding her dental arrangements that I should not want to mention as a mark of respect for her hard work and dedication to her food preparation.  Her stall had chicken meat in her won tun.  Many cars had to park next to the rubber factory to taste her wares,

There were no much food activities opposition stalls 5-7 but there were usually people doing what we now call “pasir malam” business.  But the highlights were the Chinese clog sellers.   They would fit the wooden clog on site and nail the plastic arch to finish the product and you can take it home.  Clogs were important in household when there was water on the floor.  Of course, any ACS boys will tell you that they had practised the art of “fei kek” (flying clogs) to fend off attackers.  The Dutch was the only Europeans that I know who us1es them but their products were much more sophisticated, colourful and contoured.

Stall number 1 sold pork porridge and his specialty was the intestines.  You can sample it for 5c or 10 c, and as a little boy, that’s all I could afford.  The old gentleman, not only sells porridge but also educated me on the Chinese traditional beliefs in birth and death.  I asked him why the dead people were given an extra 3 years in their death age and was told me that the heaven, earth and people constitute one year each and therefore 3 years were added.   Adjacent to his site were sometimes travelling salespeople who sold medicine or snake oil.  Some shows were frightening when they started showing how they could chew glass.  Yak!   Some of us felt sick after watching him performed.  The most famous medicine then was “hoi gow yau ” (seals oil).  The drums and the gong attracted a lot of customers.  Of course, Mak Fei Hoong , the Cantonese speaking Indian fellow also came with his medicine van.  He was very good with his mouth organ.

Stall number 2 is also a won ton mein  stall.  Stall 7 was too busy for us to get a seat, hence it was better for us go to stall 2.  Stall 4, located in Pike Street,  sells hor fun (hor hee) and was very famous for his fish balls.  Stall 3 was an ice kachang stall and mainly trade in the day time.

On the same street but opposition stalls 1 to 3, Stall 8 was an ice kachang stall with a lot of tables in the back street of the Chinese Maternity hospital.  His ice kachang was a bit expensive but you got good ingredients in it and he uses carnation milk.  It usually cost 15c per plate (now bowls).,He also used flowery language!

Stall 9 sold “yau yee onk chow (cuttlefish/ganging vege), and rojak which were very tasty and cheap (10c a plate).  Stall 10 is a cigarette stall owned by a very old fellow.  He sold red tobacco and individual cigarettes for those who could not afford to buy a packet (40c a packet for Rough Rider or 45c for Navy Cut)   You can buy the tobacco and role it yourself.   Stall 11, was another fried kway teow stall but they did specialise in hot pot.  Stall 12 was  a daytime ice kachang stall.

Just imagine in those days when you have 20c in your pocket you could get a decent supper.  As kids we were not so lucky and we can only save  20c in a week .  The quickest way to make 20c was haircut day when you were giving 50c and you went to a barber who charged you 30 c.  I had a skin scalp infection and ear infection after visiting one of the cheaper barbers  in the market place who were using  un-hygienic instruments.  I never went back there again.

The final stall, not represented in the map and only trading in the daytime, was the “tai cow mein” stall at the other end of Pike Street, adjacent to the market.  The stall was located under the veranda of the provision stores.  It cost 5c for 1 piece and 10c for 3 pieces.  It is Menglembu’s most famous cake  made from flour and caramel sugar.

To this day, I often wondered why I would leave a town like Menglembu and lived overseas and had “nothing” to eat.

We thank IpohBornKid for sharing this with us. If any of you have had the pleasure of tasting the delicious food from the above mentioned stalls……DO leave us your comments! It’s a given: people (me included) from this part of the Peninsula LOVE talking about FOOD 😉

St John’s Brigade, Perak Centre

By |2012-01-13T13:35:31+08:00January 13th, 2012|Categories: history, Identify Photographs, ipoh, Memories, People|Tags: |

Remember this antique vehicle? This ambulance was apprently donated by Towkay Choo of Kampar, for the St John’s Ambulance (Perak Centre). Does anyone know this generous Towkay?

The next picture (below) shows what was probably the first building – before the present hall near YMCA today. From what we know about the St John’s Brigade in Perak, we think that both these pictures were taken in the 1940s.

We thank Bill Adamson from Australia for these pictures.

A Day at the Waterfalls!

By |2012-01-09T15:33:52+08:00January 9th, 2012|Categories: childhood, Memories, nature, People|Tags: , , , |

IpohBornKid shared this little story with us through email. Here’s his take on a memorable outing. Happy reading 🙂


Convent Girls by demand – at Kledang Hill


Many teenagers walked up the Kledang Hill in the 1950s (see previous blog).  It was a good natural outing where a big group of Menglembu neighbours and their Ipoh friends would joined in for a group picnic, exercise, dancing and friendship.  Food and sandwiches were locally prepared at home (not bought) and they would be taken uphill by strong young men (or those who wish to impress the girls how strong they were).    Most of them would be in their junior high school (Form i to III) with some in Form Iv and V.  My friend Captain (or Major in the Malaysian Army) Teoh Hoot Aun, an ex-Ipoh ACS boy and queen scout, would be one of the leaders. He  has probably retired by how.  Yes, he did married a Convent girl.   I was only junior but had an eye on all my elder sisters’ classmates. 

Here is a group photo of convent girls, some from Falim and Ipoh who ascended the Kledang Hill for a picnic dance.  This group of people were very keen to learn modern dances (cha cha & the rest) and they used to go to Ipoh YMCA or YWCA on Saturday nights. I can name a few, viz. Poh Yin, Soni, Yoke Fong and hope your readers might be able to identify themselves or others.  The location was the first waterfall in Kledang Hill (note the water rushing out of the bridge tunnel.  Happy Memories.



‘Little Women’…..

By |2012-01-06T11:34:21+08:00January 6th, 2012|Categories: childhood, Identify Photographs, ipoh, Memories, Natural Heritage, People|Tags: , , |

Ah yes! MORE pictures showing Ipoh’s pretty lasses 🙂

For those of you who are wondering, this picture was taken at the Tambun Hot Springs – sometime in the early 1970s.

A special thanks to Sophie for this picture. Sophie, if you’re reading this: are you in this group? Could you tell us the names of these lovely lasses?


By |2012-01-02T09:47:38+08:00January 2nd, 2012|Categories: history, Identify Photographs, Memories, People|Tags: , , |

Here’s something for the football fans out there!

Did any of you watch this game? Who were these two teams? Where was the match held? We suspect that (given the trees in the background) perhaps this was at the D R Seenivasagam Park…..but we could be wrong.

If one of the players from either team is reading this, DO tell us MORE 🙂

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