We are currently planning to run an exhibition called “A Mining Family” at Falim House. This is not about one family, but an amalgam of more than 200 photographs and a large number of artifacts that show the lifestyle and labours of several of Ipoh’s Mining Towkays. The exhibition is targeted to open on 1st May 2013 and run for at least three months. Entrance will be FOC. We then hope to move to new, permanent premises where more exhibitions will run in what will be known as a Heritage Centre.
Clearly in the longer term we will need several extra permanent staff, but for the Falim House show we simply need an Assistant Exhibition Manager who we hope will advance to Manager of the new heritage centre.
Applicants should have an interest in heritage and must be competent to converse in both English and Malay. The ability to speak Mandarin/Cantonese would be an advantage. Own transport will be required to get to Falim. Any relevant experience will be taken into account. Salary is negotiable.
Should you be interested in this position you may apply by sending your Resume/CV and photograph to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You should indicate your expected remuneration. We will respond to all applications advising whether we wish to call you for interview or not.
Closing date for applications is Saturday 30th March 2013.-
We look forward to hearing from you.
This was Tapah Road Railway Station in 1980. Old fashioned, rustic and clearly a leftover from the Colonial days that Malaysia seems to be so ashamed of. But those who feel this way won’t have to be ashamed of their history for much longer as we are told that KTMB are to demolish all the old stations. Kuala Kangsar, Batu Gajah, Tanjung Rambutan and all the others will soon be gone. And then travellers can enjoy the clinical atmosphere imparted by stainless steel and concrete, without having to look back at what life used to be like. However, if you wish to look back then click here where you will find a photograph of the station opening celebration in 1893.
Seriously though wouldn’t one or two of these old stations make great railway museums for the thousands of rail enthusiasts the world over? I thought Perak State wanted to encourage tourism!
Incidentally we are told that Tapah Road, being on the road leading to Tapah led to its name and that this name has drawn some criticism from local Malay linguists because it has a colonial ‘stain’ on it. A number of towns in Perak also have or had a similar ‘stain’ such as Slim River (still in existance), Port Weld (now Kuala Sepetang) and Teluk Anson (now Teluk Intan). Tapah Road maintained its name because the equivalent version in Malay (Jalan Tapah) is not suitable as a station is not normally named after a road, but a place. History is fascinating.
The photograph is again courtesy of Jerry de Witt. Thank you sir for thinking about us.
Last week I had a meeting in The Cameron Highlands and took time out to visit a rather special place called “Time Tunnel”. Branded as “The Local Museum” this attraction features the personal collection of Mr. See Kok Shan – a fascinating collection of almost everything old found locally. Long and wide it is just like a tunnel and it is soon to become even longer.
As you can see it really is like a tunnel but completely stacked from wall to wall and floor to ceiling with fascinating collectibles.
Originally Mr. See came from Ipoh and would like to do something similar here – as we at ipohWorld would also like to do – but we all suffer from there being little or no interest in Ipoh for such attractions, even though we claim we want to expand tourism!
So next time you are in the highlands why not pay Time Tunnel a visit. Entrance is only RM 5 and it is well signposted just north of Brinchang by Kok Lim Strawberry Farm.
“Tin Mining in Malaysia: the Osborne & Chappel Story” was launched today by YB Dato’ Sri Dr. Ng Yen Yen, Minister of Tourism Malaysia, in conjunction with the opening of Gopeng Museum’s second premises, the Heritage House, Gopeng.
The book, written by David Palmer, who was part of O & C in Malaysia from 1960 until he retired, and Michael Joll, also an O & C employee for many years, covers tin mining in Malaysia over 200 years, with a short history of the mining industry from the early Colonial days until tin was no longer important in the 1990’s.
It also covers the span of O & C’s long and important involvement in the tin industry of the Kinta tin fields and the towns of Gopeng and Ipoh and tells what happened when the tin mines closed down.
For the technically minded a section of the book describes the various mining techniques.
With 352 pages, hard covered and featuring a wealth of original illustrations, the book is priced at RM100 / GBP20 (excluding packing and postage). It is available direct from the Gopeng Museum or can be ordered by email to email@example.com.
I have got my copy so make sure you get yours. It is good value and will make a darn good read as well as a definitive reference book for those who do not remember the tin mining heydays of the Kinta Valley.
Here we have Miss Telekom (centre), with the 1st and 2nd Runners-up. This was back in the 1950s. Do you remember them?
The winner and queen of the contest is Ms Asmah and her runner up on the right is Lee Lai Quan (or Kwan). Can anyone give us the name of the other runner up please?
Are they still around? Perhaps……one of the contestants is reading this right now? 😉
On Thursday 7 October 2010, Nanyang Siang Pau dedicated almost its complete front page of the Perak Edition to an article (shown above) with the headline “Making Gopeng a Tourist Attraction” . The story is great for Gopeng and heritage if it all comes to fruition. The plan is to provide three new museums/galleries/displays to add to the already very successful Gopeng Museum. This will really will make Gopeng a tourist town with plenty to see.
First of all it is proposed to provide a museum dedicated to the story of the famous Gopeng pipeline, possibly using whatever has been salvaged after it was dismantled earlier this year. This proposal from YB Dato’ Hamidah Osman, Perak State Exco suggests the involvement of Osborne and Chappel UK. On the map, bottom left, this is the top building marked in brown.
Secondly an antique shophouse, Huai Gu Lou, pictured just to the right of the map in the article and shown to the extreme left on the map, is to be turned into an antique display. Entrance will be free of charge.
Finally YB Dato’ Hamidah Osman, Perak State Exco, in conjunction with MCA are turning the square roundabout opposite the heritage row and close to the existing museum (see bottom picture) into an open air tin mining display. This will open in November and is also shown on the map.
In addition, the map shows (in light brown), the existing museum and the MCA office.
The above is only a summary of the article which is quite detailed. I would suggest you get a copy from the local Nanyang office if you wish to study it in full.
Together with the fine new Kampar Gravel Pump Mining Museum that will open next year, these two towns could well form a tourism centre that becomes a main focus of visitors to the State. Add to these Gua Tempurung, Nomad Adventure Sdn Bhd, the Gopeng Rainforest Resort, My Gopeng Resort, the established homestays in the area, all supported by the new train service stopping at Kampar, its Express Bus terminal and spanking new Grand Kampar Hotel, plus highway access to Gopeng this is a great step forward for the area. Congratulations to Dato’ Hamidah, the people of Gopeng and MCA. We wish you luck.
This will certainly put Ipoh, our deteriorating State capital, in the shade as far as tourism is concerned and underpin the Lonely Planet’s appalling view of Ipoh.
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’?
As you can see from the above the Gopeng Museum is currently holding a one month Clock Exhibition until 16 March 2010. There are more than 185 old (antique!) clocks on display.
Almost all the pieces have been lent by local people. Some are shown here.
The normal exhibition remains on show which also includes many old clocks.
Do get along there, it is very interesting and worth the visit. But please remember to leave a donation in their box to pay some of the costs of bringing this show to you FOC.
The photograph shows the view from the gate of the Matang Historical Complex which was originally Ngah Ibrahim’s fort built in 1865. It was initially simply a home for Ngah Ibrahim, who after his elephant went tin mining became a powerful and wealthy tin miner, but he fortified it to save himself from the Chinese triads of the Ghee Hin and Hai San who eventually went to war over tin mining rights and inadvertently brought the British to Perak.
Richer than the Sultan of Perak, he was appointed by the Sultan as Minister of Larut, but became involved in the plot against J W W Birch the British Resident, was charged with murder, found guilty and banished to the Seychelles. He was never permitted to return to Perak and died in Singapore in 1877. You may remember that his remains were found in a grave in Singapore in 2006, brought back to Perak and buried at his fort. Rightly or wrongly he had returned home.
The building has had many roles over the years: tax office and collection centre for the Larut tin trade; as a court to try Dato Maharaja Lela and Si Puntum for the murder of J W W Birch; the Matang primary school; and the first Malayan Teachers’ Training College, among others. Today the site is the Matang Historical Complex under the management of the Museum and Antiquities Department, proudly displaying that elephant.
Do visit the complex at some stage it really is very interesting and just next door is Captain Speedy’s house. Captain Speedy was of course the Perak Chief of Police in 1873 and appointed Assistant British Resident of Perak when the Pangkor Treaty was signed on the 20th January 1874.
This model of a full size elephant and handlers stands in the entrance to a building in Perak. Legend has it that one day he ran amok into the jungle and when he was finally caught he had a silvery substance smeared all over his left front leg. When his handlers had quietened him down enough to clean him up they found the substance was tin. The then Regent (there was no Sultan at the time) then gave all mining rights in the area to the owner of the elephant. True or not, it is a lovely story and is said to have started the tin boom and, later, wars between two Chinese miner clans, Hai San and Ghee Hin.
Now for the history buffs out there, where is the building, who owned the elephant and what was the date? No prizes given other than your knowledge of your local history being proudly displayed to the world.
Answers on Wednesday if you have not got them right by then.
This information is taken from the latest post on the Ipoh Echo blog at http://ipohecho.com.my/v2/2010/01/22/state-government-to-keep-the-dredge/.
This striking decision was made public by Dato’ Hamidah Osman the Senior State Executive Councilor for Tourism via an Echo reporter on on Wednesday 20 January during an interview in Taiping to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the Taiping Peace Initiative.
It is reported that she said “Yes, we are going to keep the dredge” . She apparently continued ” …..Besides preserving the dredge we must also ensure that it is safe and will last for the long term. ……”
She made no mention of how much budget has been set aside, but no doubt it will be several million if this is to be a genuine preservation and long term solution.
Please read the full report via the above link.
Perak has plenty of heritage buildings, many of which seem to be ignored by their owners or the government. But here is a wonderful heritage building for although not more than 100 years old it has just been restored by the National Heritage Department. Many will not believe that this building is a mosque for it is square, double-storey and without minarets. It may be the only one of its kind in Malaysia.
Kuala Dal mosque was built in 1936 by the village craftsman to an age old tradition and the upper storey was used for prayers while downstairs was a general purpose meeting room where apart from meetings, religous lessons were given to both adults and children and in the fasting month, the village would break fast there. The construction was funded by the 30th Sultan of Perak, Sultan Iskandar Shah who had seen the villagers praying in a dilapidated madrasah. It is very similar to the old palace, Istana Kenangan at Kuala Kangsar, woven bamboo in a diamond pattern as the photograph below shows. Sultan Iskandar Shah also built the new palace, Istana Iskandariah, in Kuala Kangsar.
It is painted in the colours of Perak, black, yellow and white. Local suggestions include the idea that it is going to be turned into a museum or gallery to add to the attractions of the area, but that may just be hearsay for today there is a notice advertising an Umrah meeting which indicates it may still be used for religous purposes, in addition to the second village mosque built in 1976. Today it is locked tightly shut. However it is a fact that back in the 1950’s and 60’s many Westerners travelling on the old road to/from Penang would stop here for a photo session. Let us hope that after such a splendid restoration, good use will be made of the building and encourage tourists to once again stop for that memorable picture to take home.
This old photograph shows the first courthouse in Teluk Anson (Teluk Intan), built in the late 1870’s or very early 1880’s. It also doubled up on a Sunday as the Anglican Church for there was not one available in the district. However, the hard wooden benches suitable for a court house were just too uncomfortable as church pews and that certainly did not encourage the God-fearing parishioners to attend the Sunday service, for they were more used to the comfortable and relaxing pews of Old England.
Consequently the Society for the Propogation of the Gospel set about raising funds for a proper church and in 1910 the first Anglican church of Teluk Anson was completed – we are sure with comfortable pews!
The courthouse then continued solely in its primary role until the new courthouse was built in 1983. The Sultan of Perak opened the new building in April 1986, some 100 years after the original one was built.
This second photograph shows the building recently. Despite the offensive looking sign, it is not actually in use and apart from the odd cheap sale that takes place there it is effectively abandoned and fast deteriorating. Now we are well aware that this and the Old Police Station carry the stigma of being “British built”, but how can the council and residents of Teluk Intan let buildings like them just rot away, rather than turn them into something useful for the people, education, or even a museum. Have they no pride in their heritage?
This little environmentally friendly Soya sauce factory lies just behind the police station in Gopeng. Here the elderly couple have been producing thick and thin sauce and fermented bean paste for most of their lives, but sadly have no children to take over this thriving business. However, there is hope that it will continue as a neice has recently joined them although when asked if she planned to continue the business, she was noncommittal.
Clearly another Gopeng tourist attraction (Gopeng seems to be doing well in this area) as well as a valuable asset to the community, one hopes that she will carry on the business which is effectively, already a working museum.
Above I mentioned ‘environmentally friendly” and that is because one can see at a glance that there are no waste products lying around polluting our world like most factories do. Secondly their bottles are carefully collected (discarded second hand sauce bottles from a multi-national company) and instead of wastefully being thrown away, they are thoroughly washed by the same small team of two (now three) and reused for their products, without unnecessasary paper labels. Sure, they do use a wood fire to boil up the beans, but only common wood not that from the rainforest which so many people are exploiting to line their own pockets.
If you have not found this little heritage gem then do make a point of visiting if you are in the area – and while you are there buy some sauce – you will not get better.
This picture was taken a little over a year ago and shows the original accommodation for the tin mining coolies, known as the “Coolie Lines”. Here the coolies would eat and sleep when they were not slaving in the mines or visiting those places of entertainment in the town that provided either female company for a short while (!) or total relaxation “smoking the pipe”. Either way their hard earned-company tokens in which they were paid would be soon spent.
The mine itself was just a few metres above them, dug out of the hill upon which, at one time, the Government Rest House stood. But such was the power of the riches of tin, even that had to give way to the inevitable once prospectors found tin in its compound. Clearly a case of MCA, Money Conquers All.
The coolie lines were sited, not only close to the mine, but also in the middle of the British officers’ bungalows, on the hill overlooking the town. No doubt that was an unpopular move with the “Mem-saabs” at the time (Mem-saabs or Mem-sahibs was the form of respectful address for a European woman in Colonial times.) who would have felt in danger of their lives with these “natives” living so close by.
But now to the point of this post. Gopeng recently hit the world with its new museum and also floated the idea of a heritage town. What a great idea! Now, if the coolie lines are still standing (the photo is over a year old) they are large enough to provide space for a tin mining museum or gallery, something the Kinta Valley should have. So come on Gopeng, you have led the way in Perak with your museum, why not show Ipoh and the rest of the state what you can really do by starting our much needed Kinta Tin Mining Heritage Museum.
Known as the Tilley F L 6 Floodlight Projector, this kerosene lamp was used in underground mining in the New Lahat Mine Sdn Bhd during the 20th century. One wonders how did the miners use the lamp, since it looks bigger and heavier, compared to some other oil lamps.
This type of lamp dates from before the last war and had many uses apart from mining as it was a very powerful floodlight. It was used, for example, by the army to search for low flying aircraft as well as general floodlighting for disasters where it could floodlight a large area or send a beam for up to pne quarter of a mile. We also believe that in the height of the tin production it was also used in open-cast mines to allow the coolies to work through the night.
You can visit the Perak Museum in Ipoh to view this artifact.
Some time ago Jeya mentioned that it is still possible to visit a bucket dredge some 10Km from Batu Gajah on the Tanjung Tualang Road. This is dredge number TT5 and it is open to visitors for a small entrance fee. You may walk on the dredge to get a feel for its massive size (4,500 tonnes weight) and talk to the man behind the project Steven Ng who seems to spend most of his life there.
This dredge, a museum piece, the last in Perak and one of only 3 left in Malaysia was built in 1938 by W F Payne & Sons and worked the mining pools in the Kinta vally for 44 years. It stopped working in 1983 when the price of tin dropped to a level where it was no longer an economic proposition. Today it sits in a man-made pond at Desa Perlombongan along the Tanjong Tualong Road and is well signposted.
Unfortunately the machinery no longer runs, but if you want to get an idea about how the dredge worked, click here and you will find the 11 different operations that took place on a dredge of this sort.
Just a set of bones, but a very important set at that! For this is Perak man. The oldest skeleton found in the Peninsula so far. He is believed to be a male (but the experts are not absolutely sure) with a height of approximately 157cm, aged about 45. It was discovered in 1991 and the skeleton has been dated to around 11,000 years old.
There were two significant facts about thisskeleton. The first was that he had a malformed left hand, meaning his left arm and hand were much smaller compared to his right arm and hand. This deformity could be from a genetic disorder known as ‘brachymesophalangia’. This evidence is further supported by the fact that his spine is curved towards the right due to living with only one good hand. The second interesting fact about the Perak Man was that despite his handicap, he lived to be about 45. This is considered a ripe old age for his time period. And especially when you consider that he might have been a hunter-gatherer, with only one good hand you can’t really hunt or gather very well and so living to 45 with that kind of handicap is pretty exceptional.
Why not drop in to Lenggong and say hello to him sometime!
This photograph came with the caption “An important street in Ipoh in 1950”.
However we cannot name it nor decide why it is said to be important. Can you?
Don’t be shy just drop us a line by clicking om “Leave a comment” under these words. We guarantee not to use your email for any purpose. We simply ask for it to try and cut down on all the automatic spam we receive.
Our last Gopeng post related to the new museum there and also remarked that parts of the town were falling down. For those of you who do not know the place, here is a photograph of a row of houses just a few yards from the museum. What a dreadful sight to greet the visitor to the beautifully restored museum premises.
Sometime ago we made an afternoon visit to the Settlement Museum within the Kampong Koh Memorial Garden. Opened in September 2003 and sited in the 70 year-old house of the Methodist Pastor, the museum traces the Foochow settlers’ history from leaving their original homeland in China in 1903 until the present day. This history covers, not only the Sitiawan settlers, but also their earlier counterparts who, as part of a previous scheme were brought to settle in East Malaysia.
The wonderful thing about this museum, when compared to those under the National or State Governments, is that this tribute to the past has been put together entirely by volunteers and private funds. This is a positive demonstration of what can be done by a small dedicated group of people who share a common purpose. They should be congratulated on their achievement, particularly as the Church group that organised it only has about 300 parishioners and already runs the church, a senior citizen’s centre and a multi purpose hall, all within a nicely maintained and historic garden, which contains the original antique wells that once were the only water supply for the residents of the entire area. If only more small groups could be similarly motivated!
Within the museum there is a photographic history on the ground floor, together with showcases protecting a number of smaller and interesting artifacts. Upstairs there are examples of settlers clothing, furniture, early electrical items, cameras, musical instruments, home and office equipment and more historic photographs. Downstairs again and in the maid’s areas, there are old bicycles, domestic equipment, farming and forestry tools, bottles, jars and more. Indeed the exhibits clearly demonstrate the Sitiawan settler’s life across the years and the range is as wide as it can be. This is a museum for ordinary people about ordinary people and well worth a visit.
But visiting has to be planned and booked with the organisers, for a young volunteer organisation like this cannot be expected to be open all the time in the way that a government museum is. So if this article takes your fancy and you would like to see the Settlement Museum at first hand then please call 05 6920612 and give at least two weeks notice. They will be pleased to welcome you.
The virtually unspoilt town of Beruas is well off the beaten track for most of us, but I actually made the effort and got there last year. The museum is set in the heart of the town about 40Km away from Sitiawan and is housed in what used to be the town’s court building. Set up in 1995, this is a small and unusual museum for Malaysia, as it displays artifacts some 500 years old, relating solely to the Beruas area, many of which have been dug up in 1991 by the Beruas Historical Survey Project. These items are believed to have originated from the Malay Sultanate in Beruas in the 16th Century.
But the Beruas area is probably even older than that, as it is believed to be the site of the 6th Century, pre-Islamic, Malay and Hindu kingdom of Gangga Negara, one of the oldest civilisations in the region, which is referred to in the Malay Annals. This theory is supported by the finding of 6th to 10th Century bronze Hindu-Buddhist icons in wide area around Perak in places as far apart as Sungei Siput and Bidor.
Whether this is the site of Gangga Negara or not, it certainly can lay positive claim to being the 16th Century Malay Sultanate for the many artifacts on display – a cannon, swords, kris, coins and pottery from the Ming Dynasty, an almost intact Celedon plate dating back to the 13th century and even the wreckage of an ancient ship, believed to be that of Arab traders, leaves the visitor in no doubt of their authenticity.
But apparently there is much more to find in the area with some 15 archeological sites identified for further research. Added to this are the numerous artifacts dug up over the years by local people, some of which are on show in the museum. Particularly interesting of these are some of the old royal Acehnese gravestones which suggest that the area may have first been ruled by them. Indeed it is also suggested that over the centuries the town of Beruas has moved to accommodate changes in the course of the river and the subsequent changes in trading opportunities and that the original site may be what is presently called Kampong Kota where a number of royal tombs, tools and 16th century Chinese ceramics have also been found.
Such is the mystery of ancient history, but one thing is certain, Beruas, wherever the exact ancient site stood, was an active trading port, 90Km inland on the Beruas River and host to ocean-sailing ships. This was recorded by one Tom Pires, a Portuguese official in 1512. Sadly in the 17th Century the river silted up and Beruas lost its trading opportunities.
If you should visit the museum, why not try the Kopitiam next door. It is very good.
For those of you who do not get the Star Northern Edition or the Ipoh Echo, here are some glimpses of Gopeng’s Own Hometown Museum.
Opened on 18 April, World Heritage Day, the museum is downstairs in the ancestral home of Bernard Yaw. The upstairs remains as accommodation. There are over 300 exhibits on display plus a wealth of photographs and the museum is run on a daily basis by a long-term Gopeng resident Phang See Kong.
The photographs above show the mining display in the entrance, one of the two walls of historic photographs and part of the back room area. There is much more to see than these so why not go along. Entrance is free, but they do welcome donations.
Well done Gopeng!