Ipohworld's World

Saving Yesterday For Tomorrow

…..folks in Ipoh witnessed the 9-Goddess Celebrations. The procession passed through one of Ipoh’s busiest roads, back in 1982/83.

As you can see in this picture, they are passing by the Perak Chinese Foundry Association (building on the left). Anyone have any idea about the other building in the background – the one under construction?

Here’s another picture of the procession.

In this picture you can see the crowd standing at the sidewalk. And for those of you who (still) don’t recognise this street – check out the building on the left: yes, it is none other than the Times of Malaya building!

We’d like to thank Shuen Huey Foo (of Ipoh) for these pictures 🙂

  1. IpohBoy says:

    I believe the building in construction is none other than the Yik Foong Complex…judging by the design and location. Please correct me if I am wrong…

  2. Jeremy Wong@Palohchai says:

    Hmm… yea, it’s Yik Foong. Sometimes I wonder why cultural possession like this in Ipoh does not get as much highlight as others in Penang or Melaka?? In Penang, anything, just mention it and you’ll sure see an article written in the Star…

  3. S.Y. Lee says:

    ika, This is a religious festival and some Indian also pray to the same gods, just as some Chinese take part in the Thaipusam and they and Indians and those of other races also partake in Christian festivals.

  4. S.Sundralingam says:

    In the 60s, Srila Prabhupada stated the Krsna Consciousness Movement or better known as ISKCON,in New York, America. Today this Indian religious movement have followers of all races. Likewise, the Malaysian Indians do participate in most religious ceremony of any faith.

  5. ika says:

    Thank you SY and Sundra for the clarification. This multi racial religous festival is not something I have witnessed.

  6. IpohBoy says:

    This is where we can see we already have races unity even since back then 🙂 and we will need to work hard to keep it that way…and I just love Ipoh from deep inside my heart and it seems older as I aged too…loved this blog and hope to see more entrys here…

  7. Ipoh Remembered says:

    Dear felicia

    The procession passed through one of Ipoh’s busiest roads, back in 1982/83.

    Construction of the Yik Foong building began in 1979 but was slowed down when tin was discovered at the site.

    I do not remember when construction was completed or when the building was opened for business. Perhaps someone else does.

    I do recall that Yik Foong Development’s initial plan (1978) called for a six-storey building.

    One other thing: Sim Lim’s offices are visible in the photograph. These offices were opened in the late 1960s. Sim Lim’s previous Ipoh office was on Horley Street.


    ika asked:

    But why are there Indians in what I thought was a Chinese festival?

    And kkfoong said:

    Interesting also to note that there Indians among the devotees.

    I don’t know what things are like now, but in days gone by it was not uncommon to see Indian people in Ipoh’s Chinese temples and vice versa. Buddhist temples, too, were visited by both, and other, groups. These visitors were not tourists; they were devotees.

    Similarly, I recall seeing girls and women in Ipoh who were obviously of Chinese origin wearing saris and made up for all the world as if they were Hindus — because they were!

    Upon inquiring, I discovered that they had been given up as babies and had been adopted by Indian — usually Tamil — families to be brought up as their own. They had Tamil names, spoke Tamil, and were not fluent in any Chinese dialect. (I must say I never saw, or at least never noticed, Chinese boys who had been brought up in this way by Indians.)

    Perhaps it was a simpler time. As I said, I don’t know what things are like now.


    Thanks again to Shuen Huey Foo for the photographs.

    • Ngai C O says:

      Hi Ipoh Remembered,

      Despite the ‘find’ as you mentioned, the construction went ahead. I visited the complex sometime in the 80s.

      It is only four stories though and has survived the Ipoh slump just about as you can see on Instant Street View.

      As for Tin, one would find it everywhere in the Kinta Valley. However, the rich seams have all been mined.

      It is said Gopeng Town is awash with tin but it means moving the whole town.

      If one were to pan a sample of the Kinta River bed for tin, I am sure there would be traces of it at the least.

  8. Ipoh Remembered says:

    Dear Ngai C O

    Despite the ‘find’ as you mentioned, the construction went ahead. I visited the complex sometime in the 80s.

    Yes, I raised the question to see if the photograph could be dated more precisely.

    The date given above is 1982 or 1983. Do you know if the building was still under construction at that time?

    Given that construction began in 1979 and was delayed a little by the discovery of tin ore at the site, and given that the building was nearing completion when the photograph was taken, do you have a good estimate?

    It is only four stories though [instead of the originally planned six]

    Yes, I wondered about that, but I don’t know what happened.

    It is said Gopeng Town is awash with tin but it means moving the whole town.

    As I wrote elsewhere, Eu Tong Sen did exactly that:

    Kampong Tekkah stood just north of Gopeng. In 1909, once it became clear that tin was underneath, Eu Tong Sen bought the entire village and moved it. (The replacement village is still there today, though it’s now more or less a suburb of Gopeng; and if the original village were there, too, it would be on the other side of the North-South Expressway.)


    As for Tin, one would find it everywhere in the Kinta Valley. However, the rich seams have all been mined.

    I was thinking about you the other day when I remembered that after the ITC price-support system shut down in 1985, within a decade Malaysia became a net importer of tin.

    I know this is a fact but it still seems unreal to me.


    Dear felicia

    The first photograph shows the intersection of Brewster Road and Laxamana Road. As you may have inferred from the former presence of Ipoh Motors at this intersection, there used to be a petrol station there with underground storage tanks. The tanks had been drained of liquid fuels to the extent possible but, unbeknownst, they were still full of volatile fumes.

    Late one morning in 1999, as part of a renovation project, a worker was using an oxy-acetylene torch in the immediate vicinity of the tanks and accidentally set off an explosion. Rocks and other debris were sent flying in every direction. Cars that had stopped at the traffic lights were damaged. Even a second-storey window at the Yik Foong Complex was destroyed. When the smoke cleared, there was a crater in the ground more than three metres wide. (As far as I recall, no one was seriously injured.)

    • Ngai C O says:

      Hi Ipoh Remembered,

      I can confirm that Yik Foong opened its doors in 1983.

      You can find an article on Ipoh Echo, The Low Yat Plaza of Ipoh, that provides more information about the complex.

      As for Yu Tong Sen, Kampong Tekka and Tekka Hills further inland, I certainly can tell you a bit more.

      Tekka once belonged to French Tekka, which sold its mining right to Gopeng Consolidated Ltd. Tekka Mines was producing tin for the Gopeng Group up until the mid 70s, when its reserves was mined out.

      Gopeng Consolidated also moved the then Ipoh to Kuala Lumpur arterial road so that it could extract the tin under the old road.

      As for Tekka Hills, which is granite and is in contact with limestone hills nearby, the company carried out diamond core drilling to see if any lode tin was present. The results were negative or negligible.

      Stacks of diamond core samples were stored at the Tin Dressing Plant next to the workers’s quarters. The company’s physical and chemical laboratory was in the plant itself.

      I believe Yu Tong Sen was a tributer of Gopeng Consolidated, which meant that 10 % of its tin output was attributable to Gopeng.

      This tributer system has its origins in Cornwall.

      Usually, tributer miners would work on smaller pieces of lower grade land or reworked tailings, which still contained recoverable amounts of tin that escaped the initial mining.

      Say, if the tin price is high enough now, many tailings could still be remined to recover viable tin.

  9. Mano says:

    As for the Indians celebrating ‘Chinese’ festivals and vice versa.
    This is more due to the interaction between these two civilizations in ancient times. Hence, the similarities between the philosophies and beliefs of Hinduism and Taoism or Buddhism. They have the same deities and if you look closely, the Chinese goddesses have even the ‘bindi’ or ‘pottu’ on their forehead and stand or sit on a lotus bloom. Throw in a monkey god in the mix as well!
    Buddhism further strengthened these ties. Stories abound of the travels of Chinese monks to India. One of them, Yijing, describes what he calls the ‘Kunlun’ people. An ancient Chinese word for the ‘Malay’ people.
    Indian monks traveled to China too. As in the case of Bodhidharma who introduced martial arts and, hence, the Shaolin Temple.
    I guess, the greatest commonality amoungst these three religions is the believe in all religions as true.
    No conversions!

    • Ipoh Remembered says:

      Dear Mano

      The ancient travels of Indian and Chinese monks have always fascinated me. Much of what people now think of as “traditional Chinese medicine” was originally taken to China by Buddhist monks in the Sui and Tang dynasties, roughly AD 600-900. Tang emperors sent numerous diplomatic missions to India (which they called “the Western Regions”) to discover the secrets of longevity and associated drugs. Even earlier, around AD 400, Fa Xian had visited India and took home with him ideas about how to organize free hospitals and dispensaries. Meanwhile, from Chinese sources ancient Indians learned about diverse things, including techniques for examining a pulse and how to treat various ailments with acupuncture.

      In this context, your remarks about “similarities between the philosophies and beliefs of Hinduism and Taoism” are somehow both familiar and thought-provoking.

      Thanks much.

  10. Mano says:

    Therein lies the answer to ika’s question more than 6 years ago.
    With such interaction in their DNA, such festivities and occasions transcended racial and cultural differences where the races converged. The Malays (at least those who were my friends) joined in as well. I have mentioned in another thread how these Malay guys joined in the dancing with the ‘kavadi’s during Thaipusam!
    Thinking back now, I feel most fortunate to have grown up in Ipoh!

  11. Mano says:

    Dear Ipoh Remembered, it is indeed fascinating that the ancient Indians and Chinese were so receptive to each other. It is also most fortunate that the Indians had shared their knowledge with the Chinese. As when the British arrived, they systematically destroyed the practice of traditional medicine in India by chopping the hands off the practitioners!
    In China, however, this knowledge and practice prospered unfettered. This is perhaps why we now know it as ‘traditional Chinese medicine’.

    • Ipoh Remembered says:

      Dear Mano

      I don’t know all that much about the history of medicine in colonial India. I do know there were several kinds of native medical practitioners. The vaidyas practising Ayurveda and the hakims practising Unani were both scholarly with a written tradition, the former being Hindu in origin while the latter Greco-Arabic. Beside those two, there were folk-oriented practitioners, vastly more numerous but with “only” an oral, albeit even more ancient, tradition.

      The British, even before Plassey, first tried to manage a Western medical-delivery system in parallel with the various native systems. There was some interaction, mostly but not only in the form of Western-on-elite-Indian influence. Later the British discouraged and in some cases even tried to ban native medicine, the more scholarly tradition becoming in response more Westernized while the folk tradition retained its popularity among rural Indians.

      That, in a nutshell, is what I know. I had not heard about the chopping off of hands. Is there something I could read that goes into the gory details? Thanks.

  12. Mano says:

    Dear Ipoh Remembered,
    I’m afraid I don’t have any reference to any reading material on this matter. I happen to watch a TV documentary on SBS or ABC some time ago and this was when I too shockingly became aware.

    • Ipoh Remembered says:

      Dear Mano

      I spent some time looking into the matter. So far I’ve found only one writer who talks about it:

      Doctors of Ayurveda were banned and punished by the British: if found practising the traditional pulse diagnosis, for example, their hands would be cut off.

      The writer is Daphne Grace and the passage occurs in her book, Relocating Consciousness: Diasporic Writers and the Dynamics of Literary Experience.

      Unfortunately, she’s not a historian. She writes only the one sentence about the punishment, does not say when it was in force, and provides no historical references whatsoever.

      Looking more widely, I have not found anything else, even in the historical literature dealing specifically with pulse diagnosis.

      Certainly by the 1930s the British were not chopping off anyone’s hands for practising traditional medicine. In Bombay, for example, in 1938 the local legislature passed “Act. No. 26” to “encourage the study and spread of” Ayurveda and Unani — but also to “protect the public from the activities of uneducated and half-educated quacks of all systems of medicine.”

      In fact, while amputation was used as a punishment in Moghul times and in Islamic law thereafter, towards the end of the 18th century the British officially banned all forms of corporal punishment. Even if a religious court sentenced someone to be mutilated, Regulation IX of 1793 required that imprisonment be substituted.

      It does occur to me that if amputation was used as a punishment by the British, it might have been earlier. The East India Company was not known for being gentle. I’ll look into this possibility.

  13. Mano says:

    Thank you for that insight, Ipoh Remembered.
    Yes, it does seem unlikely. Perhaps, the Aussie TV channel was stretching it a bit.
    I too will look into this further.

  14. Mano says:

    Whilst on the subject of traditional medicine.
    It was 1975.
    I became ill after a swim in one of the waterfalls. Well, it wasn’t a waterfall then as a dry spell had reduced it to more of a trickle into a greenish pond. Being the only one who could swim, I made the most of it, however. That night I came down with a fever. I lost my appetite and my stomach felt like I had swallowed a stone. A couple of days later, urine colour changed to something quite weird and dreadful! That’s when I told my father I needed to see the doctor.
    The doctor tells me that I have come down with jaundice and that there is no cure in western medicine. However, having studied medicine in India and coming down with this disease himself there, he told me to get my parents to look for an Indian person who has dealt with this ailment.
    The treatment was the herb ‘keelanelli’ in Tamil or Phyllanthus Niruri in English and goat’s milk. Of course, no oil or fat in the diet.
    In a week, I was completely cured. No chance of a recurrence even!

    • Ngai C O says:

      Hi Mano,

      I am only guessing here. You might have contracted leptospirosis or Weil’s Disease. With antibiotics treatment if not severe, one would recover in a few days.

      Or it could be another bug in the waterfall.

      It could be more prevalent when the waterfall is dry.

      Jaundice is very common in many diseases. I caught Hepatitis B through improperly sterilised dental instruments in Ipoh. In those days, many dentists used only boiling water to kill the bugs instead of superheated steam. It took me more than three months to recover.

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