Ipohworld's World

Saving Yesterday For Tomorrow

courtesy of: Charlie Choong

What’s so rare about this one? If you look closely, you can see the words “Chan Sam Lock Photo Service” on the blinds (below the large Chun Mee signboard). Yes, Chan Sam Lock started out as a half-shop along Brewster Road once upon a time….

  1. sk says:

    Looks like taken in 70’s with Toyota Corolla KE 70. Its about the time Chan Sam Lock started its business . They were the first to print the pictures within an hour, I think.

  2. Ngai C O says:


    There is an article on Chan Sam Lock at Malaysian Star.

    Chan Sam Lock started in Pasir Pinji and its popularity grew from the village. They also lived in the village when they began the business.

    At the time, they were directly competing with Shui Kat, which was sort of the “uppity” of the photo salons. Shui Kat was very proud of its fame, as one of its life long staff attested.

    • Ruth Rollitt says:

      I had my photographs developed at Chan Sam Lock and my dresses made by Chun Mee!
      This photo brings back such happy memories!

  3. Ipoh Remembered says:

    Chan Sam Lock started his business in 1946, immediately after the war. He also worked for one of the Ipoh newspaper offices as a staff photographer.

    The half-shop shown in the photograph was at 82 Brewster Road (right across the street from the “new” premises that finally closed a year ago). The old building is still there. It may be the last remaining “original” shop-house in that block (Public Bank is on one corner; the MCA building is on the other). Perhaps someone should take a good photograph before it’s torn down.


    The Public Bank building (minus the modern aluminium façade installed by the bank) was constructed by Chua Cheng Bok in the late ’30s (not long before he died). After the war when the British returned to Malaya, the building was taken over by the BMA and housed the Food Control Department for a few years. Eventually, in 1991, Public Bank took it over (it was their third location in Ipoh after Jalan Yang Kalsom and Station Road).

    Directly opposite the Public Bank building and also constructed by Chua Cheng Bok in the late ’30s is a massive (eight-lot) structure, 75-89 Brewster. Looking at it now one might not see that it was exquisitely engineered. Originally there were luxurious flats above the ground-floor shops: one of the early and most famous residents in these flats was Ong Ee Lim (see below).

    After the war, the corner lot (75 Brewster) was taken over by the BMA and used for a few years as the Information Centre, which is to say that it was used to disseminate government propaganda. This use continued without interruption when the Straits Times moved in. In 1967 Sim Lim, previously on Horley Street, took over the building — and its subsidiary, Sim Lim Finance, opened a branch on the ground floor. The latter firm may have vanished from Ipoh even before it was acquired by Keppel in 1988, but I don’t know when Hong Leong, the current occupant, put up its name. It must have been in the late ’90s but I’m sure someone local knows more precisely.

    In passing I note with considerable regret that when Chan Sam Lock & Co. renovated their three-lot portion of this building, i. e., 77-81 Brewster, they added a giant bulge and huge plate-glass windows, which destroyed the building’s original lines.

    The third building in this neighbourhood that was constructed by Chua Cheng Bok is, of course, the Cheng Bok Building at 94 Brewster, across Horley Street from the MCA building. It was built in the early 1930s.


    I’ve mentioned Ong Ee Lim before. In 1938 he leased the Lau Ek Ching Building and ran the Ruby Theatre (named after his daughter). He also sold cars out of another building further down Brewster Road — and that building, too, was constructed by Chua Cheng Bok.

    Ee Lim’s daughter, Ruby Ong, was only a kid when her father moved to Ipoh. She had a very pretty smile. She eventually married Douglas Lee (better known to some as Dato K. K. Lee). It was not a particularly happy marriage. She died about ten years ago.

    Douglas Lee, Ruby’s husband, was the son of Henry Lee Hau Shik — co-founder of the MCA and arch-rival of Tan Cheng Lock and his son Tan Siew Sin — but that really is another story.

  4. Mano says:

    Sorry, sk, but that is a Corolla KE30. The KE70 was it’s successor and more in the 80’s. However, you’ve got me wondering why when the 3rd generation Corolla was designated accordingly as KE30 but the 4th generation jumped to KE70.

    • Ipoh Remembered says:

      Dear Mano … The short answer is that the series did not jump from the E30 to the E70: there were E40, E50, and E60 variants, though perhaps not in all markets.

  5. sk says:

    Hi Mano – I did have a look at google KE 30 but it was a 2 door so I mentioned KE70. Yeah, thanks for the correction. Perhaps the 2 door version was an overseas edition.

    • Ipoh Remembered says:

      Dear Perakian

      If you take a look at these pages …



      … you might agree that the car depicted above is a Corolla KE30!

  6. Mano says:

    Yes, Ipoh Remembered, you’re quite right. I was assuming the variants of that Corolla generation would maintain the K, E and 3 followed by differing numbers to indicate the modification.

    Sk, no need to apologise, mate. As you can see, I too didn’t see the tree for the woods!:(

  7. ika says:

    Thank you all for your comments. When we include the above photograph in the database it will be a new item and will include extracts from your comments.

    • Ipoh Remembered says:

      Dear ika … Glad to see you back.

      I wrote:

      After the war, the corner lot (75 Brewster) was taken over by the BMA and used for a few years […] In 1967 Sim Lim, previously on Horley Street, took over the building — and its subsidiary, Sim Lim Finance, opened a branch on the ground floor.

      If you use any of this text, let me clarify in advance that “the building” taken over by Sim Lim in 1967 was not the entire eight-lot structure (75-89 Brewster); it was only the corner lot (75 Brewster). Sorry I did not catch the ambiguity earlier.

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