Rickshaw Memories

By |2009-01-26T01:35:47+08:00January 26th, 2009|Categories: Memories|Tags: , , , , , |

As part of our objective of saving the history of the Kinta Valley for future generations we try to gather original memories about days past.  Here is one about Rickshaws. Do you have any memories we you can share with us please


“Anna Down, locally born, but now from UK, remembers that as a child in Ipoh she had a regular Rickshaw Puller to take her and two others to and from the Anglo Chinese Girls School daily.  He was a tall, well-built, Chinese man who was paid monthly for his services and despite only having a single seat vehicle, happily allowed two girls to squash into the seat and one to squat on the wooden platform.  They took turns as to who rode where and called him ‘Long-Legged Uncle on account of his physical size.

Anna remembers the rickshaw as ‘great fun’ as they used to exhort ‘Long-Legged’ to run faster and overtake the other girls in their rickshaws and trishaws which he could do with ease on account of his long legs.  She also remembers fondly that when she left Ipoh to go to UK for further studies he presented her with a ‘lovely brocade jacket’.At around the same time (early 1950’s) Anna recalls a ‘rather obese’ Chinese ‘Aunty’ who was a ‘broker’ and spent a considerable amount of her day traveling around Ipoh in a rickshaw.  On one ‘never to be forgotten journey’ she hired a rickshaw puller who was the exact opposite of ‘Long-Legged’.  He was small, positively skinny, poorly dressed and indistinguishable from others as his face was covered with the traditional ‘Good Morning’ towel and pointed hat to keep the sun off.

‘Aunty’ climbed into the rickshaw, sat herself down with a thump and ordered the puller to start the journey in the fastest possible time.  The puller promptly lifted the handles high and prepared to start running.  At that very moment ‘Aunty leant back gratefully into the comfortable seat and disaster struck.  The rickshaw tipped back and the puller was left with his feet dangling in the air, as the rickshaw continued its backwards arc, until the overweight passenger was stranded in the hood of the vehicle, upside down, with her legs in the air.  Wearing only her sarong below her waist, which had of course followed gravity and was now only enveloping her upper limbs  ‘Aunty’s modesty was at risk, but as quick as a flash the puller dropped to the ground, removed his hat and gallantly slapped it on his passengers exposed areas to protect her from public view.  His colleagues came to rescue and righted the rickshaw.  It is not recorded whether ‘Aunty’ ever traveled by rickshaw again.”