Han Chin Pet Soo is open! Book now at www.ipohworld.org/reservation
Han Chin Pet Soo is open! Book now at www.ipohworld.org/reservation

April 2013

The Cowan Street/Brewster Road Landmark

By |2013-04-19T09:15:30+08:00April 19th, 2013|Categories: childhood, history, Memories, movies, Natural Heritage, Restoration, tourism|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

grand

This is none other than the Grand Theater & Jubilee Park – before the Shaw Brothers renovated it. From the clues in the picture, some of you may be able to roughly guess the year this was taken. What was YOUR early memory of this famous landmark? Were you a patron of the Cabaret? Did you frequent the amusement park? Or, were you one of the many movie-goers?

We thank Edwin Seibel for this picture.

September 2012

August 2012

June 2012

A Lovely Old Hotel – Did You Ever Stay There?

By |2012-06-04T08:10:23+08:00June 4th, 2012|Categories: history, Identify Photographs, Ipoh Town, Restoration|Tags: , , , |

One thing I do not understand about Ipoh  is that here we have a beautiful hotel building used as an electrical store while so many entrepreneurs are knocking up ugly buildings all over the place which they happily call one of the three b’s – backpacker, budget or boutique hotels . Why didn’t one of them consider this fine building for restoration instead?

Do you have any thoughts on this anomaly or any stories about this building?

March 2012

Update on Old Town

By |2012-03-15T00:09:41+08:00March 15th, 2012|Categories: About Us, history, Ipoh Town, Memories, Restoration|Tags: , , , , , , |

I had a brief ride around Old Town this morning to see what was happening. I couldn’t get any photo or update on the Railway Station Gardens as they are still hidden behind tall blue fencing. However apart from the Cenotaph and the Ipoh Tree there seems to be nothing of the gardens left. Not a great welcome for the tourists in “Visit Perak Year 2012!”.

Then I wandered along the road to see the Birch Clock Tower Garden renovation. What a surprise – as although it is unlikely that anything has been done to preserve the two statuues, Justice and Fortitude from falling down (see http://ipohecho.com.my/v2/2012/03/01/ipohs-virtues-in-danger/)   the tower has been repainted Black and White.

Although that may be approproiate ……… Black and white stands for mourning and cheerless occasions. For example, traditional garb for a funeral is black and white. Black for the loss, and white for their passing onto the heavens, ……… I must say I don’t like it, but then again I did not like the pink either, much preferring the 1909 odiginal version which was all-white. Clearly I am a traditionalist.

By the way, could someone suggest (again) to Datuk Bandar that he gets the clock working.

As you can see the gardens have not progressed too much either. Sigh, maybe they will be ready to celebrate the successful (?) end to our special tourism year.

We welcome your views.

A Facelift for an Old Lady

By |2012-03-11T09:24:22+08:00March 11th, 2012|Categories: history, Ipoh Town, Restoration|Tags: , , |

Just look what happened yesterday! I passed by in the morning and only the top half was painted but by the time I got around to going back with my camera the FB site “All About Ipoh” had beaten me to it and posted this photograph.

I am sure the authors won’t mind me using their photo as thay are clearly just as dedicated to the grand old lady as we are.

By the way the aforementioned site has many more “Likes” than we do. It is time to remind all your FB friends about us. Don’t hang back – “Just Do IT!”

January 2012

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.

November 2011

Where Is It?

By |2011-11-14T13:58:42+08:00November 14th, 2011|Categories: Identify Photographs, Ipoh Town, Natural Heritage|Tags: , , |

The shop 3rd from left is ‘Chop Cheong Chin’; next to that is ‘Syarikat Perak Travel Agency’, which is also an agency for Singapore Airlines. That’s about all we could make out from this picture. Now, across the street from this row of shop houses…..(see picture below)

….is another similar row. Notice also that at the end of this street is what seems to be the roof top of the Market.

Could anyone help us with the name of this street. While you’re at it, what is that tall building in the background (seen in both the pictures)?

October 2011

More Pretty Girls from Ipoh!

By |2011-10-03T10:23:52+08:00October 3rd, 2011|Categories: childhood, Identify Photographs, ipoh, Memories, People|Tags: , , , |

We received this from Sophie via email. This was taken during Chinese New Year in 1969 – showing the Class of Form 3C of RPS.

Sophie has, unfortunately, lost touch with her friends (those in the picture) since she left school. Are you one of those in the picture? Do let us know…..and Sophie if you’re reading this, do point yourself out to us 🙂

 

PS: Can anyone guess WHERE this picture was taken?

September 2011

A Sidestreet in Ipoh…but Where?

By |2011-09-26T15:05:35+08:00September 26th, 2011|Categories: Identify Photographs, Ipoh Town, Memories|Tags: , , |

This was taken by the late Geoffrey Clark, of the 4th Regiment Signals Troop (one the the early British army groups to arrive in Malaya after the Japanese surrendered). Clark served here from about 1945-1947, and sadly passed away in 2006.

Look at the picture carefully…..WHERE do you think this place is? We’re stumped ourselves, but we know some of you out there know Ipoh so well – so, start typing out those answers! 🙂

Now Here’s a Poser!

By |2011-09-23T19:21:42+08:00September 23rd, 2011|Categories: Exhibitions, Identify Photographs, Ipoh Town, People|Tags: , , , |

This photo was provided by the Cheong family for use in “Ipoh, My Home Town” but it was not used as there were much more appropriate images to use for their story.

The banner reads something like “Professor Shu Tong Zen, Exhibition of his Chinese Paintings including an exhibition of his Malaysian Students’ Work”.

Now the questions are: where was this Guild, when was the photograph taken, who are the people and where does the Guild have its premises today?

No prizes, just the glory of being able to show that you know the Ipoh of days gone by.

August 2011

Wah! We Have Gone to Print

By |2011-08-17T17:45:47+08:00August 17th, 2011|Categories: Books, childhood, Heritage Books, Ipoh Town, Memories, People|Tags: , |

Yes, at last Ipoh, My Home Town has gone to the printers.

As you may know, I have been working on a new book for the past 20 months or so, editing and compiling original stories of people growing up in Ipoh over the last 90 years. It is entitled “Ipoh, My Home Town: Reminiscences of Growing Up in Ipoh, in Pictures and Words”.  In hard cover ‘coffee table book’ format,  with colour on every page, there are 64 different stories from a broad spectrum of society encompassing all the main Peninsula Malaysian races, plus Caucasians and even an Iban. Together they represent Ipoh past and present.

There are stories from a “Flying Tiger” who grew up in Market Street in the 1920s, Professor Wang Gungwu, a Greentown boy before the war, Lat (who has also written the Foreword) and a number of others from stage, screen and radio plus of course successful businessmen and women, housewives and mothers, but interestingly, no politicians. Our oldest contributor is 92 and the youngest 12. The book therefore is really a history of life in Ipoh through the eyes of young people. With 276 pages and a wealth of original photographs and illustrations it has been a fascinating exercise for an expatriate, ably supported by his Malaysian wife.

The book will be launched by Tun Lim Keng Yaik on the morning of Saturday 17th September at the Royal Ipoh Club so if you can be in Ipoh that day that will be the place to be. Details of the programme and invitations will be sent out as soon as possible, but if you don’t get one and would like to attend, please just let me know.

Regarding the price, as this is a self funded project we have been able to keep the price down to a bare minimum with no profit taking. Hence the book will be on sale in the bookshops at RM100 and direct from us at RM90 excluding postage and packing. There will be plenty for sale at the launch, but if you cannot make it then you can always pre-order via [email protected] , providing your postal address. We can then advise you of the total cost as soon as the book is in our hands. 

I look forward to seeing you at the launch.

April 2011

Don’t Miss “The Battle of the River Plate”.

By |2011-04-23T09:48:37+08:00April 23rd, 2011|Categories: About Us, Ipoh Town, Memories|Tags: , , , , |

Ruth Rollitt was so incensed by the multicoloured Cathay that we featured, she sent us this photograph of how the Theatre looked when it first opened in those days of Movies and Mercedes. She included a newspaper article from 1958, the first part of which is inserted below. The whole article will appear on or database archive before too long. Unfortunately we received it to late to catch the movie! Did anyone out there see it?

“Special  Cathay Supplement

A Milestone in Cinema Entertainment

 

Ipoh’s New Cathay Theatre

 

To build a luxury theatre in Ipoh has long been a wish of the Cathay Organisation. This is in keeping with their policy to provide the best that there is available in cinema comfort and entertainment.

 

Costing over $600,000 their new Cathay, Ipoh will be officially declared open by His Highness the Sultan of Perak, Raja Sir Izzudin Shah ibni Almarhum Sultan Abdul Jalil, KCMG, OBE, before a distinguished and cosmopolitan gathering at 8 pm tonight, the eve of  Chinese New Year.

 

Out of a piece of rubber estate land there has risen a handsome steel and concrete structure housing one of the best equipped theatres in the state of Perak.

 

Among the guests who will attend tonight’s opening ceremony will be State and Town Councillors, community leader, heads of Government and other personalities.

 

Cathay Organisation personalities include Mr Loke Wan Tho, Head of the Organisation, whose inspired leadership and farsightedness has provided Ipoh town with the handsome and imposing entertainment landmark.

 

Mrs Loke will accompany her husband and Mr John Ede, Director and General manager of the Cathay Organisation will also be present.

 

This new theatre – a worthy acquisition to the large number of theatres already controlled by the Organisation – was designed by Mr B M Iversen, the well-known Ipoh architect.”

 

More about the Cathay can be found here.

July 2010

Oh No! Not Just the Roof ……….

By |2010-07-28T00:01:14+08:00July 28th, 2010|Categories: Ipoh Town, Memories|Tags: , , , , , |

We featured this building in http://www.ipohworld.org/?p=1712 where we showed the original mansion that belonged to Dato Seri Lau Pak Kuan OBE JP and what the owners of the Coliseum Club had done to deface this beautiful building.

In the comments on that blog mashi74 reported that the stylistic roof had been removed and, as you can see from this photo it has been replaced with something far less easy on the eye. But worse! Look what they have done to the stonework! Garish is not a strong enough word for this abomination.

And finally, it appears that have torn the whole inside out and are to renovate with modern (Ugh!) materials.

Have these people no eye for beauty, history and heritage. Maybe they just have no soul!

Unfolding a Panorama Called Hume Street….伸展“谦街” 的一幕(Part 1)

By |2010-07-17T01:02:57+08:00July 3rd, 2010|Categories: Ipoh Town, Memories, People, Perak heritage Society|Tags: , , , , , , , |

A stone’s throw away from #188 is Hume Street, now known as Jalan Mesjid. Along this short but interesting street, one can find many traditional trades co- existing harmoniously with modern ones.

Let’s start with this building at the junction of Hume Street谦街 ” and Jalan Yang Kalsom. This building once housed the Century Omnibus Station (百年车站). It was there for many decades. Their red coloured rickety buses plied from town to Taman Chempaka, Ampang, Chemor, Tanjung Rambutan and the Race Course along Tambun Road. Back in the 60s and 70s, this was a bustling place, along with some taxis in front.

There were rows of long wooden benches outside. A jukebox in the coffee shop next to the bus station always blasted out English songs which my mom loved although she did not understand a word of English. The most memorable ones were those favorite songs sung by Elvis, Beatles, Bee Gees, Osmond Brothers, Jackson Five, etc.

One night in the early 80s, a big fire gutted the station and a few buses were destroyed. Many people came out to watch the fire and even the FRU were called in to control the swelling crowd. Those staying in the vicinity were worried that the fire might spread because of the electrical wires linking the bus station to the row of shops opposite. Luckily that did not happen and the fire was eventually brought down. A few years later, the bus station closed down and today, this place is taken over by travel agencies and a locksmith.

A few steps away, one can see many shops dealing in various traditional trades like making paper offerings, lorry tarpaulins, sofa covers, curtains, car upholsteries, tailoring, hair dressing and motor workshops.

Just opposite were some funeral parlours with convalescent homes on the upper floors and of course, a few shops selling coffins.

Further down is the iconic Rex Cinema which faces Brewster Road. In its heyday, this cinema was filled to the brim with patrons watching mainly Cantonese movies. You could find stalls selling sugar cane juice, yellow steamed peanuts, kacang putih and even plastic toys outside. Inside the cinema, there were stalls selling light snacks like sweets, chewing gum, sour plums, salted groundnuts, dried red ginger and prawn crackers.

Today, this place is occupied by a furniture shop and a car park. The stone benches in front are not there anymore. Dad and I would sit there to eat “kuaci” or melon seeds, yellow steamed peanuts and “lin toong” or seeds of the lotus plants after a movie.

Across from the cinema you will find some coffee shops, clan associations, mahjong parlors, a pet shop, an optical shop and one that makes car plates and rubber stamps. You will also find the Kinta Small Traders Association here. At the isolated end of this street is the Panglima Kinta Mosque near the Kinta River bank, the oldest in Ipoh.

Unfolding the panoramic Hume Street brought back some fond memories. When I was about 5 or 6, some nights after my eldest siblings were asleep, the owl in me would pester my dad to take me out for walks around the neighborhood. Dad called it “jalan jalan” or “sau kai” in Cantonese.

First, he took me to Jubilee Park for a ride on the musical carousel and the breathtaking giant wheel. After that, we will head straight to Hume Street for a light supper at the “luk luk” stall in front of the shop next to the coffee shop in brown paint. I usually chose a few sticks of fish balls and squid and dipped them into the boiling water. Next, I would apply some red colored sweet sauce or “tim cheong” on them before eating. Hmm, yummy, yummy!

After that, it was time to go home when we had had enough.

Many shops along Hume Street were already closed by then, so was the bus station. We quickened our steps as the place was dark and quiet. If we were out too late, Mom would scold us because she believed some malicious spirits were lurking at the corners along this street and these would make children fall sick!

Ah, if only I could turn back the clock and walk down this path again with dad holding my hands, just one more time……

Final part ~ One journey has ended. Another is about to begin…… 今世毕. 来世始…

                   http://www.ipohworld.org/?p=2131

Part 2       ~ The most extravagant journey in life…..人生最昂贵之旅程

                   http://www.ipohworld.org/?p=2064

 

 

Note : Special thanks to Aaron Ong who kindly took these photos and shared them with us here. 

June 2010

The forgotten skillful scissors sharpener of Ipoh….

By |2010-07-03T08:23:19+08:00June 25th, 2010|Categories: Ipoh Town, Memories, People|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

Dad has only a primary education. Without a stable job, it is difficult to feed a large family. We have already pawned whatever that can be pawned. We were close to living in poverty.

Finally, Grandma let out the front portion of #188 to a couple who turned it into a mahjong parlor.  Many whores, massage ladies, bargirls, pimps, hawkers, taxi drivers and housewives came in for several rounds. It became a very noisy place, sometimes extending into the wee small hours. Many times fights broke out and the police were called in to break them up. What was once a home to us suddenly became a vice den filled with cigarette smoke and vulgar languages.  Sometimes we could not even hear our own voice with all the noises around us.

We kept to ourselves, spending our time mostly upstairs but it was already filled to the brim with tenants. There is hardly any space left for us to study in. This was the last straw for Dad. In a fit, he kicked all the mahjong players out and took back the shop for us to study in peace.

In his early days, Dad was trained in a mechanical work shop in Batu Gajah before the Japanese invasion interrupted his apprenticeship.

      

 He quickly got hold of some motor parts and assembled them into something you see in these pictures. I really do not know what to call it. There is no name for it. We simply called it “the motor”.  It was this device that gave our family hopes again. More importantly, it put food on our table and saw all of us through school.

You see, with this device, Dad started another business. He cycled to all the tailor shops, hair salons and garment  factories in Ipoh town, offering to sharpen their scissors.  In the beginning, business was quite scarce. Nobody would trust him with their cutting tools. After all, he was just a new kid on the block in this trade.

There were some established ones in town. There is one at Cockman Street, next to the shop that sells joss sticks and paper offerings. Others operated along back alleys in the old town area, doing their business long before my Dad appeared in the picture.

However, with patience and skill, he soon won them over. Before long, they discovered that the sharpness lasts longer compared to those done by others. Moreover, Dad charged the same like the rest, RM1 for a pair. Within 2 years, he managed to build a base of regular customers.

He even painted his own signboard and put it in front of the shop every morning before he started work. I remembered it was a big scissors with a light blue background. The blades were painted in silver while the handles were in black. It was just a picture, without words.

Dad used sharpening stones or whetstones to sharpen the scissors.  Some came in the shape of a small circular wheel which was fixed to the motor. Others were simply blocks of rough or smooth stones.

 

They were used separately or in combination, depending on the size, length and quality of the scissors. Normally the bigger, longer and superior blades were sharpened using the motor while the smaller, shorter and inferior ones were done by hand only, to prevent them from breaking.

Yes, the blades can break under intense pressure! I have seen this before and in the end, Dad has to compensate his customer with a new pair of scissors.

To sharpen a pair of scissors, Dad unscrewed the bolt and nut to separate the two blades. Dipping the scissors and sharpening stone into a pail of water to make them wet, he would slide the beveled edge on one side of each blade against the stone.  He has to slide the entire length of the blade many times before the scissors is sharp enough to be oiled and screwed back.

Sometimes it took 2 or 3 hours to sharpen one and sometimes, in less than half an hour, depending on the scissors. He also sharpened kitchen knives and all kinds of cutting tools.

It was hard work. It was a one man show. With so many scissors to be sharpen and everyone wanted it done quickly, Dad has to work from morning till night, standing on his feet. He could not get the work done sitting down because, to slide the blade, he needed to use force.

Therefore, his feet would get swollen by the end of the day. His hands numbed and his back pained by the many hours of bending over the work table. Sometimes he accidentally cut his fingers and bled. With a bandaged hand, he continued with the work because he has datelines to meet and many mouths to feed.

Many customers told Dad he was the best scissors sharpener in town. They wanted him to sharpen their scissors in the quickest possible time. Of course Dad could not meet their demands because he has so many scissors waiting for him to sharpen. It is piling up by the day.

“If you wanted it to be sharpen quickly, then please go to other scissors sharpener. Here, you have to wait longer as you can see the pile of scissors and I am doing the work alone!” he could AFFORD TO SCOLD his customers. Many were fearful of him but they loved his skill.

In the end, they meekly gave in and left their cutting tools with Dad. Many bought extra scissors to use while waiting for Dad to sharpen theirs. They preferred to wait for several days rather than go elsewhere. They knew they left their tools in good hands. Throughout all the years, no customers complained about Dad’s work, except that he was rather fierce when pressured!

When I was in Std 6, some foreign tourists past by Dad’s work place which was at the back portion of the shop. They were fascinated to see such a trade done in a traditional manner and decided to video and photograph him as he goes about doing his work.

Many people in the neighborhood called Dad “Scissors Sharpener Uncle” and Mom “Scissors Sharpener Aunty”. When I took taxis in front of Rex Cinema, many taxi drivers who knew Mom and Dad even called me “Scissors Sharpener Daughter”!! LOL.

Dad toiled on until all his children finished school and were able to stand on their own. By then he was old and haggard, having slogged most of his life. As a result of working too hard, it put a toll on his health. His heart became weak, his hands stiff with arthritis and his legs from rheumatism.

Dad retired in 1996 after 25 years in this business.  He spent the remaining years nursing his health and staying home resting after working hard most of his life.

This article is a tribute to Dad, a very determined man who believed in nothing and no one, except his own pair of hands and who overcame all odds that life threw into his path, without any help from anyone. I am very proud of him.

I am still keeping this motor with me as a remembrance of Dad who was once a very skillful scissors sharpener in Ipoh. It is a waste that his hand painted signboard became rusty after 25 years and he threw it away when he finally called it a day. But he gave me a pair of scissors and a few whetstones to keep as well.

 

A Great Looking Lam Looking

By |2010-06-22T23:49:51+08:00June 22nd, 2010|Categories: Ipoh Town, Memories, Restoration|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Yes ladies and gentlemen the exterior restoration of the Lam Looking building is complete, and it really is looking good. But before you feast your eyes on the wonderful building please allow me to show you what it looked like about 60 plus years ago when still in operation.

Well there you are, with the Celestial Hotel, Cabaret and Restaurant upstairs and the bazaar on the ground floor, this was a really happening place through the 30’s and 40’s. Even the Japanese partook of the delights of the upper floors and turned part of it into a high stakes gambling casino.

Later as the clientele diminished the hotel was turned into a cinema, The Movieland Theatre, specialising in Korean and Cantonese Opera movies. But soon that also went to the wall and after the fire we all thought the old girl was finished. How wrong we were and may I present a GREAT LOOKING LAM LOOKING, photo courtesy of Peter Wang Shaoming.

Ruth Iversen, daughter of the original architect, Berthel Michael Iversen must be delighted, and so are we for at last a major building in Ipoh has actually completed its restoration. Now we await completion of the Old Post Office. Let us hope the trend catches on.

But one final thought. “I wonder what they are going to use the building for?”

May 2010

天长地久 ……Forever and ever…….

By |2010-07-04T00:44:05+08:00May 12th, 2010|Categories: Ipoh Town, Memories, People|Tags: , , , , , |

          

“To have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part.”

 After the Japanese left Malaya in 1945, Dad had wanted to resume with his apprenticeship at the village workshop in Batu Gajah but found it was burnt down. The owner and his entire family were killed by the Japanese soldiers.

He was already 25. So the next step would be to move to Ipoh to start a new life. With RM300 in his pocket, he rented a place and started a coffee shop with his mother and sisters. That was how Nam Foong Coffee Shop at 188 Hugh Low Street began.

As time went by, business began to pick up and he needed an extra pair of hands. It was also time he needed a companion too. So he was looking for two persons rolled in one.

At the same time, Mom was hoping to escape from childhood poverty and a nagging stepmother. She was a young girl of 15 staying in Kampung Kuchai.

Through a match maker, photos were exchanged and a meeting arranged for them. And it turned out to be love at first sight for them both. Months later, they were engaged.

During their courtship they like to stroll along Hugh Low Bridge, People’s Park and Birch Bridge in the evenings. Sometimes they would go to cinema halls to watch a movie or two and to Jubilee Park for amusement. They often took a ride around town in a rickshaw because Dad could not afford to buy a car.

Mom and Dad eventually got married on November 22 1950 immediately after she reached the age of 20. It was a modest wedding attended by family and friends from both sides. A wedding luncheon was held at the Nam Hoi Wui Khun (Nam Hoi Association) along Clare Street.

Like any couples, they had their fair share of quarrels and fights but nothing could rock their strong and solid union. Despite everything, they stayed glued together to weather out all the hardships and obstacles that came their way in raising a large family.

In April 2000, Mom was diagnosed with end stage kidney failure. Dad was very devastated. He just broke down and cried. It was almost like his whole world collapsed on him. Knowing her end was very near, he helped me to take loving and tender care of her although he was already 80 and frail.

Mom succumbed to a heart attack on 24 November 2000 at home with Dad and me by her side. It was only 2 days after their 50th golden wedding anniversary which they could not celebrate due to her illness. Dad was beyond consolation. He had lost a partner of 50 years and the greatest love of his life. A loss so profound he could not recover from, even after many years.

When he passed on later, after 7 lonely years, their ashes were finally placed side by side at the Paradise Memorial Park in Tanjung Rambutan.

                      天长地久 ……Forever and ever……..

 

* HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY 母亲节快乐      http://www.ipohworld.org/?p=1585

* At the doorstep of hell….well,almost.   http://www.ipohworld.org/?p=1489

April 2010

It’s Qing Ming Tomorrow!

By |2010-04-04T10:23:55+08:00April 4th, 2010|Categories: Ipoh Town, Memories, People|Tags: , , , , , |

The Qing Ming Festival, the Clear Bright Festival, Ancestors Day or Tomb Sweeping Day is a traditional Chinese festival which falls on the first day of the fifth solar term. It denotes a time for people to go outside and enjoy the greenery of springtime and tend to the graves of departed ones. This year it falls on 5 April – tomorrow.

Consequently we thought we should feature Ipoh’s most unusual grave, tucked in between MGS and a used car saleroom in Jalan Chamberlain Hulu, right in the middle of the city. But don’t worry for this has no bodies buried there nor spirits to wander in the dead of night for this is the Guandong Grave as the inscripion shows.

It reads “Worshipping altar of the Guandong grave” and was placed there to allow all the Chinese immigrants in Ipoh to pray to their ancestors as they could not do so at the graves in their home villages. The second inscription below (gold on grey) gives the history as being built during the reign of Emperor Guangxu (1878 to 1908). Consequently, when this grave was built there was no Ipoh New Town and it would have been among the padi fields and pig farms. Unfortunately the actual date is in a classical Chinese form that we have not yet been able to translate. The inscription also records that the grave was restored by the Perak Guangdong Association on 18 August 2003. 

This final picture shows the inscription on the small altar to the right (just visible on picture one). This is the symbolic grave of the God of the Earth for those who wish to pray to him. No doubt all the mining coolies needed his help!

This is a real piece of Ipoh’s heritage as it has probably been there since 1895 or before!

February 2010

Renovation or Restoration That is the Question

By |2010-02-22T08:16:19+08:00February 22nd, 2010|Categories: Ipoh Town|Tags: , , , , , |

Many people do not understand the difference between renovation and restoration, but in simple terms restoration means to return something to its original state (as near as possible) while renovation allows one to change, modernise, adds bits and pieces and generally end up looking nothing like the original. A good example would be Elizabeth Taylor versus Michael Jackson. She had her face restored many times we are told, to retain her youthful beauty, whereas Michael definitely renovated his – also several times!

But what has that got to do with the house above which sits close to the Kinta River bank. Well, looking at the new roof of modern tiles, this is certainly a renovation not restoration. We do not know anything much about this house, other than what the below notices show.

If I understand this correctly the renovation was approved in 1999. Now I remember with horror the renovation to my home in Ipoh where the planned 3 months took 1 year and 5 months with the cost more than doubling, but at least it didn’t take 11 years to get as far as completing the roof. But of course it is not anyone’s fault (it never is) but I wonder what the contractor thinks?

But the point of all this is that wouldn’t it have been nice to keep this house as an original model of its particulat style? Restore rather than renovate. After all this is in a very desirable location close to the river, but away from traffic and should fetch a tidy sum when sold on the open market. It would be even more attractive with the outside features retained but modernised inside to suit our high standard of living necessary these days.

To conclude, I say to those who have an old property in need of repair, consider carefully before you touch the building, restoration will be more expensive in the short term but the long term benefits will certainly be worthwhile. Once renovated it has gone for ever.

An Almost Extinct Breed of Beetle

By |2010-02-16T11:46:43+08:00February 16th, 2010|Categories: ipoh|Tags: , , |

Just a stone’s throw from the very centre of Ipoh City lies this classic old VW Beetle. It is amazing that such junk can lie about in our city, but the picture, taken today, proves it. What is more there is more of this junk around if you really start to look. Do watch this blog for more such interesting finds.

But back to the VW, what a shame that it has been left to rot instead of being treated to some Tender Loving Care by a Classic Car enthusiast. Maybe someone will follow up this blog and get the grand old vehicle back on the road if of course they can find out who owns it – and that might be difficult.

After all this is a historic vehicle, the concept of no lesser person than Adolf Hitler and produced after his death by the British using refugees and displaced persons as a way of giving them work. Little did they know what a “Classic” they were making.

Ipoh’s Welcoming Fountain

By |2010-02-14T07:00:29+08:00February 14th, 2010|Categories: Ipoh Town, Memories|Tags: , |

This photograph was taken by an Ipoh resident, Richard, Leong, in the early 1960’s not long after it had been erected by the Perak Turf Club as a gift to the town. At the key junction of Hugh Low Street, Gopeng Road, Tambun Road and Brewster Road it welcomed travellers to Ipoh from all directions.

I was looking at the fountain recently and I wonder why the water flow and spouts etc are so different from this picture. To me, although the structure is the same, the beauty of the water has completely disappeared when compared to the above. What could have happened? Are the pumps worn out or was there a deliberate change for one reason or another?

One more question comes from a small boy who, as they pass the fountain in their car, very often says “When will the Uncle switch on the water mummy?”. Now that is a good question as switching on and off seems quite a random affair. Does anyone know the answers to these? 

Incidentally, the Turf Club also diverted some of its funds to help beautify the city by constructing the Japanese Garden with a solar-powered clock, along Tambun Road.

January 2010

Ipoh Heritage Buildings Art Exhibition

By |2010-01-24T15:26:37+08:00January 24th, 2010|Categories: Ipoh Town, Memories|Tags: , , , , , |

Local artist Khor Seow Hooi is presenting an exhibition of his paintings of Old Ipoh Town in the Syuen Hotel, first floor, from today 24 January 2010 until 31 january from 10am to 7.30pm daily, including Sunday. Above is one example of his detailed work in ink and watercolour on paper.

He has captured many of our heritage buildings with his brush and as the demolition of our heritage city continues unabated these pictures will become priceless mementoes of how we used to be.

Here is a second example of the treat that is in store for you when you make your way along to the Syuen. Don’t miss it!

Almost Antique by Years – Art Deco by Style

By |2010-01-17T05:44:03+08:00January 17th, 2010|Categories: Ipoh Town, Memories|Tags: , , , , , |

In the entrance to the same building as the wash hand basin below hangs this electric light fitting. As electricity did not properly come to Ipoh until 1930, courtesy of the Perak River Hydro-Electric Power Company Ltd, it can only be around 75 years old – the art deco period – and that ties in very well with the style of the fitting. So we are in no doubt that the owners of this building were “early adopters” back in the 1930’s and quickly took advantage of the ability to provide proper lighting to illuminate their leisure.

Incidentally, the first electricity available in Ipoh was in 1923 by arrangement with the Pengkalan Tin Company, Batu Gajah.

Truly an Ipoh Antique from an Earlier Age

By |2010-01-14T16:14:24+08:00January 14th, 2010|Categories: Ipoh Town|Tags: , , |

For most items the definition of a true antique is more than 100 years old, although there are special arrangements made for items like paintings.

Here we have a real antique, found still fitted in a Chinese building in Ipoh after almost 117 years. Such items were quite rare in Perak in those days, apart from perhaps in the residences of the more senior colonial administrators for such things had to be imported at not inconsiderable expense. Therefore this was no cheap shophouse knocked up quickly, but a quality building with no expense spared for the building, its furniture and fittings.

As you can see from this second picture the basin was imported from Scotland from what is probably the most famous of all sanitary ware – Shanks of Barrhead established in 1850. There are actually two in the same room underlining the fact that no expense was spared. Can anyone guess which building these are in?

A word on dialects. Chinese are famous for their dialects, but Glasgow also has its own where Barrhead is pronounced “Boorheed” and Glasgow “Glessga”. I wonder is anyone out their knows how the Glaswegians pronounce “Milngavie”?

Romance Among the Ruins, Beauty ‘Midst the Bricks

By |2010-01-10T03:45:55+08:00January 10th, 2010|Categories: Ipoh Town, Memories|Tags: , , , , , |

What a nice surprise I had yesterday when I dropped in to Panglima Lane to see the latest state of that fast disappearing site of Ipoh’s heritage. There was a wonderful sight, a Malay couple dressed in their stunning white silk wedding attire being photographed. The scene was without doubt worthy of the above secondary title “Beauty’Midst the Bricks”.

Now I did not ask them why they had chosen that particular spot, only if I could put this photo on my blog. But thinking back why shouldn’t they pick one of Ipoh’s most historic places to record their special day? But wouldn’t it be nice if the place had been kept up as a heritage site rather than a dilapidated shadow of its past glories. Sadly of course it is rare for anything in Ipoh ito be kept up despite heritage groups, activists and the government’s Heritage Act, for nobody seems to care about anything other than making a profit. What a sad place Ipoh will be if we continue this way.

Lam Looking – Looking Good

By |2010-01-09T09:47:27+08:00January 9th, 2010|Categories: Ipoh Town|Tags: , , , |

It was time to have another look at the restoration/renovation of Lam Looking Bazaar, so I popped down there this afternoon. What a great transformation met my eyes for as the above picture shows, despite the diversion notices and vehicles, the exterior has taken on a great new look – almost back to brand new.

But of course there is still much to do, but there is definitely work in progress as you can see.

Going inside, which is not recommended on the grounds of safety, one finds style where there was only rubble not that long ago, and what is more it is the original Iverson art deco style, but with a spanking new roof of quality tiles. The building really is going to look as good as new.

But a lot more original Iversen has also been retained and although some of the glazing will inevitably be different the great variety of light giving designs, for example on the stairs, have been kept.

and in the front of the building (photo taken from inside ground floor).

Overall the building is well on the way to be Ipoh’s shining star of heritage in our crumbling city. Well done all concerned. We look forward to the completion and opening ceremony.

December 2009

Wah! Another New Ipoh Heritage Trail Map

By |2009-12-21T10:54:58+08:00December 21st, 2009|Categories: Ipoh Town|Tags: , , |

Yes there really is another new heritage trail map for Ipoh, this one taking in both Old and New Town streets and 60 heritage buildings as well as giving a brief history of the city from 1873 to 1941. There is also a section on Ipoh’s famous foods, some notes on the Malay Enclave and “How to Script a Trip” a suggestion of how to enjoy two days in Ipoh. It is entitled “Ipoh: the sentimental side.”

You will recall that the last new map, featuring Old Town, which became available just a few weeks ago was sponsored by a local benefactor. This latest edition to the tourist’s armoury is produced under the umbrella of the Office of the Menteri Besar, Perak, via “The Soul of Ipoh Project” by the Perakean League and supported by The Lost World of Tambun, The Syuen Hotel, Ngan Yin (the Peanut People), Morubina (The Riverside Hotel and Project) and Foh San. Unlike the earlier version, this latest map costs RM5 and we bought it at the Canning Garden Newsagent cum bookshop. Well produced it is worth the money.

If I may I will finish with the quotation provided on the map,

“A large part of Ipoh’s story lies in its ancient buildings, walkways, alleys, road corners of the old town and new town of the city. By truly understanding the city’s heritage is one of the best ways for its survival of the most natural. May the soul of Ipoh continue to live for many generations to come.”  

I just hope they mean it!

School Trip!

By |2009-12-06T02:05:49+08:00December 4th, 2009|Categories: Identify Photographs, ipoh, Memories|Tags: , , , |

Here we have a ‘friendly’ bus – ferrying the children around and also joining them on school trips. This picture was taken from the Main Convent Centenary Magazine. Judging by the number plate (AA 5084) and from the wordings in the magazine, we think this picture was probably taken around the year 1957.

Anyone out there been on such a bus before? Do let us know – especially if you were a ‘product’ of Main Convent, Ipoh!

November 2009

And Now One for the Cinema Buffs

By |2009-11-09T15:48:58+08:00November 9th, 2009|Categories: Ipoh Town, Memories|Tags: , , , |

This is Ipoh’s Cathay Theatre which still stands to day, but no longer as a cinema having been overtaken by Metroplexes and the like. It was once a beautiful single-screen theatre, built in Cockman Street in late 1956 and opened on August 31, 1957 with the movie, ‘The King and I’, telling the fictitious romantic story of Anna Leonowens and the King of Siam. At that time the 3rd Class seats (front rows downstairs) cost 60cents per ticket, while 2nd Class further back cost around $1.20. 1st Class upstairs (mainly for Europeans or VIPs) cost $2.

However, this picture above is a little strange for there is still waste ground opposite the theatre, but the posters are all torn, yet it must still have been a working theatre as it is advertising Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis in the Paramount Picture “Pardners” which dates it as not long after the opening in 1957/58. Does anyone have any ideas as to when the buildings opposite were built?

Photographer Risks Life and Limb in Ipoh

By |2016-06-15T12:08:38+08:00November 6th, 2009|Categories: Ipoh Town, Memories|Tags: , , , , , |

Well he would be in danger if he was to try and take the same photograph today as he was standing in the centre of the Birch Bridge in Brewster Road, but of course in 1952 life was different in Ipoh, Brewster Road took two-way traffic and as you can see the road is almost empty. Compare that to today if you will.

But as you can see, despite the fact that the photograph has suffered with age, there were so many trees, big trees not some miniatures, overtrimmed, dusty and dry that we are so used to today. Also, some of today’s buildings have not yet been built and the Odeon Theatre stands out in the distance.

Incidentally, the Odeon Theatre in Ipoh seated 850 on its main floor and in the balcony and was built in the 1930’s. Triangular in shape it is adjacent to St Michael’s Cemetery and like the Rex Theatre, Ipoh, rumours of ghostly happenings, spooks and terrifying visions abound. One popular rumour was that if you ever took off your shoes inside, you would never find them when the light came on – even if nobody had sat in front, behind or next to you.

The theatre closed in 1986 and several nightclubs have tried to make a success of it but either because of bad ‘feng shui’ or the ghosts, they have all failed. Today it stands as a marker of failure and ready for demolition unless some serious entrepreneur is prepared to try and change the building’s luck.

October 2009

The Curse of Ipoh Town

By |2009-10-23T14:14:50+08:00October 21st, 2009|Categories: Ipoh Town, Memories|Tags: , , |

This picture shows one of the worst floods that ever happened in Ipoh. It was in 1926 and the picture was taken at the corner of Belfield Street and Station Road.

The precautions against such a disaster was taken earlier than this date. Around 1914-1921, the Ipoh Flood Mitigation Scheme had been carried out to protect the town from the then regular flooding. The aims of the scheme were to eliminate the sharp bends in the Kinta’s course through Ipoh Town; to divert waters of Sungei Choh into Sungei Pinji, instead  of flowing directly  into the Kinta above Ipoh. But the scheme wasn’t good enough to prevent the flood from continually trying to destroy Ipoh.

Thankfully further more effective measures were taken and we no longer suffer the curse of Ipoh Town.

September 2009

A Busy 1950’s Street!

By |2009-09-29T00:22:26+08:00September 28th, 2009|Categories: Ipoh Town|Tags: , , , |

This photo came to us via a soldier (who took it) and a policeman (who saved it), both of whom served here during the Malayan Emergency. The picture really needs no explanation, simply two popular modes of transport in the 1950’s. Does any one have any tales to tell us about their ride in either of these two styles of wheeled vehicle?

By the way would anyone like to tell us about this street. The buildings on the left and in the far distance provide the clues.

A House to be Proud Of

By |2018-09-07T10:18:38+08:00September 21st, 2009|Categories: Ipoh Town|Tags: , , , |

This house in Hume Street, New Town, Ipoh is often admired by visitors and locals alike. It has appeared several times on other blogs and it would be a serious omission if we did not include it on ipohWorld’s World as it is a great example of how nice Ipoh could look if other owners cared as much as this one. Just compare this to the shophouse in Market Street on this blog and you will see what I mean.

Hume Street is an interesting place with of course the grand old Panglima Mosque at the end of the street next to the Kinta River. But add to that the other buildings, most of which are in almost original condition, even if not beautifully painted, and you have an ideal street to turn into a small heritage enclave. Wouldn’t that be nice!

The street also contains several Chinese clubs/associations. Perhaps thay could donate some paint for their buildings as the next step to preserving this short street for following generations.

Finally may I offer my congratulations and thanks to the owner of the house pictured. You are an asset to Ipoh.

The E W Birch Memorial – a Point of Confusion

By |2009-09-19T01:40:21+08:00September 19th, 2009|Categories: Ipoh Town, Memories, Uncategorized|Tags: , , , , |

At one time Ipoh sported two Birch Memorials, the clock tower in memory of J W W Birch and this beautiful marble fountain in Belfield Street to honour his son E W Birch. These memorials always seem to cause confusion as today only the clock tower remains and more than one tourism site has misled its readers in the past by talking about the “Birch Fountain”, over a picture of the clock tower.

So this post is intended to set the matter straight. The clock tower was erected in 1909 in memory of J W W Birch, the first British Resident of Perak under the Pangkor Treaty of 1874. He was assassinated by the Malays in 1875 and the moving force for the erection of the towere was his son E W Birch who was the 8th British Resident from 1904 to 1910. It is still with us today although as an earlier post shows the area in which it stands is not always treated well.

The photograph above shows the Birch Fountain. This all-marble fountain at the southern end of Belfield Street, was erected by the Ipoh Chinese business community, in honour of E W Birch (later, Sir Ernest Woodford Birch KCMG CMG) who (unlike his father) was a popular administrator that worked closely with the local people, particularly Yau Tet Shin, the original developer of Ipoh New Town.

Sadly, in the name of development, it was demolished by the local council and was replaced by a new fountain of a much lesser qualty and style. That is Ipoh’s loss.

August 2009

Yau Tet Shin’s New Town Under Construction 1908

By |2009-09-02T04:29:06+08:00August 30th, 2009|Categories: ipoh, Ipoh Town|Tags: |

The picture shows Ipoh New Town extending from the Kinta River in 1908. It was built on the padi fields of Datoh Panglima Kinta and as the new buildings were erected from the river towards Gopeng Road, block by block, replacing a number of extremely smelly pigsties.

The builder was Yau Tet Shin, miner, property owner and friend of E W Birch (The Resident of Perak). Wong Kap Soot, Yau Tet Shin’s long time business manager and member of the Ipoh Sanitary Board supported him in the endeavour.

The Ipoh New Town consisted of some 350 houses, with a new market, a mandarin school and theatre all included as anchor attractions. New Town mirrored the Old Town across the Kinta River, but on a well laid-out plan with fine, broad streets coupling with the main thoroughfares of Brewster Road and Hugh Low Street all the way to Gopeng Road and Tambun Road.

Panglima Street – A Trunk Road?

By |2009-08-20T13:24:15+08:00August 20th, 2009|Categories: Ipoh Town|Tags: , , |

The picture shows the Panglima Street, Ipoh around 1904. It was named after Datoh Panglima Kinta who originally owned the land that Ipoh is built on. In  Perak, the elephants could be seen on the streets as they were used  as a main carrier for both people and goods, particularly in the tin mines. Perak was the main exporter of the elephants to other Malay states in Malaya then.

Something Different on the Heritage Trail

By |2009-08-17T09:50:32+08:00August 17th, 2009|Categories: Ipoh Town|Tags: , , , |

While many will argue that this is not heritage that depends a lot on one’s point of view. Here we have the logo brightening up a really dull steel shutter in a heritage building and demonstrating a family’s pride in what they do (books for education), their family name and the country to which they belong. Perhaps we could do with more of such pride in our community, but looking around at the city, pride in our home town and its surrounds is obviously in very short supply.

On the heritage front, this logo represents the family’s heritage – a business built up by hard work over the years, to make a future for themselves, their children and those who follow them. What will you leave behind for those that follow you? Will it be more than your forefathers left you or less?

Well of course it may be more in terms of financial wealth, property ownership and other material things we all crave for, but what about that other heritage – clean rivers, thriving wildlife, untouched hills, pollution-free air to breathe and more? There is no doubt about the answer to that question is there?

But it is not too late because if each one of you got back that pride and did your bit for the community, much (but not all) could be salvaged for future generations. Soon it will be altogether too late!

Think about it!

As Pretty a Group as You Could Find!

By |2009-08-16T07:00:40+08:00August 16th, 2009|Categories: Ipoh Town|Tags: , , , |

This little group of buildings in Belfield Street, Old Town, Ipoh is very reminiscent of the days when budding entrepreneurs bought a single plot of land and had their own ideas created into a shop-house. Individuality was the hallmark in those days not like the vast housing developments today with their rows and rows of identical little boxes.

Pity about the nasty, white, square and tasteless building to the left.

In Search of that Different Heritage Photo

By |2010-06-09T04:19:44+08:00August 13th, 2009|Categories: Ipoh Town|Tags: , , , , , |

Most tourists that traverse Old Town make a point of photographing the Birch Memorial Clock Tower, just as this photographer has done in the past. But searching for a different view this time he came across this little side-lane and this is what he got to take home to remind him of Ipoh.

What a pity that Ipoh, once lauded as the cleanest town in Malaya, no longer seems to maintain the buildings, pavements and lanes.

A Heritage Walk or a Heritage Stumble

By |2009-08-11T10:05:36+08:00August 11th, 2009|Categories: Ipoh Town|Tags: , , , |

Sunday is a good day to follow the published heritage walk around Old Town, Ipoh as there is not too much traffic and very few cars parked to obstruct the view of the heritage buildings. But a word of warning, do watch where you step because, as the photographs show, quite apart from having to walk in single file in some places (see “There it was GONE” below) the modern paved walkways have not survived as well as the old buildings around them .

So do be careful where you walk when you are admiring some exciting feature across the road or taking that dream photo that you will treasure for life. The alternative could be a thoroughly spoilt Sunday and the inconvenience that would cause.

What’s Cooking at Lam Looking?

By |2009-08-10T05:09:29+08:00August 9th, 2009|Categories: Ipoh Town|Tags: , , , , |

If you walk past the front of Lam Looking building, nothing much seems to be happening, but pause a moment and you will hear the mighty hammering of hacking tools and when they take a break – voices. Could it be that something is cooking inside the building? Now before you move on, look up and right at the top.  Something plain grey has been added. What could it be?

Well, a look at this second picture, taken inside the top floor, will tell you that they have rebuilt the top of the building with red brick – Yes, work has started and they are preserving the facia and internal walls.

And as the above pictures show, it has started with a vengeance, there is a mass of building materials on site, the floors have been stabilised with steel and wooden props and they are removing all the old rendering, but keeping the original brickwork.

But there is also a lot of new brickwork as well and much more to follow. but it looks as if Lam Looking will live to serve the people of Ipoh again in one way or another, just as its new owner said it would. That is great news.

However the job will take time and the workers say two years, it could well be more, but at least we know it will stand again a proud symbol of a grand old Chinaman, Towkay Lam Look Ing.

Old-Time Modern, A Relic of the Past

By |2009-08-07T13:15:37+08:00August 7th, 2009|Categories: Ipoh Town|Tags: , , , |

Ipoh has many of these shop-sign pillars lining the 5-foot way, more we believe than any of the other Malaysian cities, but it is very unusual to see them in any other langusge but Chinese. However this pair, relics of Ipoh’s Colonial past remain with us to remind us that at one time the two languages you were most likely to hear in the town were Chinese and English.

Does anyone know of another pair like this?

There it Was GONE! Does it Make Sense?

By |2009-08-06T23:57:39+08:00August 6th, 2009|Categories: Ipoh Town|Tags: , , |

It is very sad to see that the recent renovation of this building has included enclosing the 5 foot walkway that was designed to provide shelter for passing pedestrians from the scorching sun and the pouring rain. Has the owner recently bought the pavement from the council or simply stolen it and if it is the latter what are our Law Enforcement Officers doing about it.

You may wonder why I am concerned, but the problem is that they have just not taken over the walkway, but more importantly forced people to walk on the narrow strip of pavement that remains, in single file, thereby putting young children at risk on this very busy road.

Would anyone like to explain to me how this can happen. Could it just be a matter of using one’s cents?

Old Town Ipoh – It’s P’s-full on Sunday

By |2009-08-10T01:26:14+08:00August 5th, 2009|Categories: Ipoh Town|Tags: , , , |

One of our supporters was having a walk around Old Town with his camera last Sunday. He stopped by the Birch Clock Tower to admire the beautiful paintwork on the OCBC building, rejoicing in the fact that this grand old building, built by the Straits Trading Company in 1906/1907 is still with us.

But then a sole pedestrian appeared and it is quite clear that he did not care too much for OCBC’s efforts in maintaining the building!

As discussions about the rights and wrongs of learning English rage unabated, perhaps it is time to learn a useful phrase “to mind your P’s and Q,s” which means to behave oneself in public. Maybe this man should learn to mind his P’s.

Feast Your Eyes For Soon the Bridge Dies.

By |2009-08-02T10:33:34+08:00August 2nd, 2009|Categories: Ipoh Town, Memories|Tags: , , , |

This postcard dates from around 1935 and shows the Hugh Low Bridge as most people still call it today. At one time when Hugh Low, as a British Colonial, was out of fashion it was known as the Kinta Bridge, but the name never really caught on. Anyway, those who cross the bridge regularly will know that the council have now erected a temporary Bailey Bridge alongside it in preparation to rebuild a “better looking” bridge at a cost of, we believe RM50 million of taxpayers money. I do hope that figure is wrong because as far as we know the existing bridge is still sound and has years of life left in it.

Historically, the Hugh Low Bridge was first completed as a wooden bridge in 1890 and opened for wheeled traffic to Gopeng. The wooden bridge was replaced with an iron bridge when Yau Tet Shin’s New Town was built in 1907. The iron bridge was then widened in 1930 to take the ever increasing traffic, mostly non motorised.

Now the heritage buff will mourn the loss of this historic bridge, but should we all not be mourning the decision to spend so much in these difficult times. Let us hope that the rumour is wrong and the new bridge will cost a fraction of the figure being bandied about.

But anyway, feast your eyes on this old picture which shows the Bridge and God of Prosperity Temple and the People’s Park as it used to be. Memories are made of this!

July 2009

An Important Street in Ipoh in 1950

By |2009-07-22T00:35:25+08:00July 21st, 2009|Categories: Identify Photographs, Ipoh Town, Museums, What is it?|Tags: , |

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.

1960’s Aerial View of Old Town, A Green and Pleasant Place

By |2009-07-22T04:51:15+08:00July 17th, 2009|Categories: Ipoh Town|Tags: , , , |

This divided back, unused, card from Airfoto is centred on the Perak State Mosque with the Railway Station clearly visible between it and the limestone hills which form the backdrop against a brilliant blue sky.

The amazing thing about this picture is just what a beautiful and green city Ipoh was in the 1960’s. In every direction from the mosque there can be seen grassy spaces and an abundance of trees. Take for example the Birch Memorial Clock tower just to the right of the mosque. It stands surrounded by nature’s greenery, open to view and a magnificent memorial to the first British Resident of Perak who was murdered by the Malays. Whatever your politics or your opinion of J W W Birch there is no doubt that this environment was far superior to today’s, hemmed in as the clock tower is by a scruffy food centre that replaced the trees (behind which the old Post Office nestled) and surrounded by hard landscaping and litter rather than well tended grass.

But not only the clock tower’s environment has worsened but a comparison against today’s Ipoh also demonstrates that there has been a general decline in the environment across the City. How on earth did we, the citizens of Ipoh allow this?

How Others See Us – Ipoh as Described By Lonely Planet 17 February 2009

By |2009-07-14T13:38:33+08:00July 14th, 2009|Categories: Ipoh Town|Tags: , |

How Others See Us. Below is a true copy of Lonely Planet’s latest report on Ipoh.

 Check it out if you don’t believe me. We simply added the red highlighting.

For the visitor, Ipoh is mainly a transit town, a place where you change buses if you’re heading for Pulau Pangkor or the Cameron Highlands. However, the grand colonial architecture of the ‘Old Town’ west of the Sungai Kinta (Kinta River) is well worth exploring and gives a good impression of just how wealthy and important this city once was.

At the end of the 19th century, the city expanded east over the river into the ‘New Town’, which, with its chaotic traffic and mix of crumbling Chinese shophouses and ugly modern blocks, holds less appeal. This is a generally dingy part of town, with a notorious prostitution problem and no real attractions. However, for those who do decide to stay longer, Ipoh makes the perfect base for discovering outlying sights such as the Buddhist cave temples, the royal town of Kuala Kangsar and Kellie’s Castle.

Last updated: 17-Feb-2009

Does that make you feel proud of your hometown?

Perhaps the Datuk Bandar would like to comment!

Panglima Lane, Ipoh, 1947

By |2009-07-13T13:31:13+08:00July 13th, 2009|Categories: Ipoh Town|Tags: , , , |

Although so far nobody has commented on our earlier blog about the disgraceful state of Panglima Lane today, I thought that you might like to see what it should look like.

This picture although of poor quality shows just how well looked after, clean and tidy the Lane used to be. Obviously the owners had pride in their possessions back then, which it seems they do not have now. Why is that?

Could it be that all they care about is increasing their bank balance at the expense of their environment? I do hope not for that to me sounds the death knell for us all if all we care about money. If not, then does anyone have another answer to why our city is continuing to deteriorate?

LOCAL GOVERNMENT OF IPOH

By |2009-07-12T10:02:33+08:00July 12th, 2009|Categories: Ipoh Town|Tags: , |

 The local government system was introduced into Malaya before the end of the 19th century, after the system showed a tremendous development in United Kingdom. In United Kingdom, the Elizabethan Poor Law of 1601 become the initial step towards the local government establistment. This law required the local community to look into the problems of protection, health, drainage and other important issues that were needed to form a good township. And it was the first move by a central government to grant delegated authority to a local body.

The local government at Ipoh was established in March 1893, when the Ipoh Sanitary Board was formed. The Ipoh Sanitary Board was set up by Frank Swettenham, the British Resident during his visit to the district at the beginning of the year. At this time, the population in Ipoh reached up to 11,000 as reported by Leech, the District Magistrate. The Ipoh Sanitary Board, a council, comprising officials and unofficials, was responsible for cleanliness and hygiene of the town. It was the first of its kind in Kinta Valley, although there was a similar board in Taiping earlier. The success of the Ipoh Sanitary Board led to the formation of similar bodies in Gopeng and Batu Gajah in 1894. From 1893-1897, it covered a huge area of Lahat, Menglembu and Ipoh itself. In 1897, it was replaced by the Kinta Sanitary Board. The biggest achievement by the board, was the installation of a gigantic septic tank in 1905, which was the first of its kind in Malaya. Besides that, the board also succeeded in taking effective measures to secure proper ventilation of houses, adequate backlanes spaces between buildings, and the removal of unsafe and unhealthy dwellings throughout the Kinta District.

However, in 1905, the Board was split up into two; Kinta Sanitary Board North in Ipoh and Kinta Sanitary Board South in Batu Gajah. It happened when Kinta Sanitary Board which was responsible for all the townships in Kinta District didn’t show much of a statisfactory improvement after its formation. But after 10 years, the both bodies were joined back together, due to economic turmoil, and it lasted till 1941. On 1st January 1956, Ipoh became a financially autonomous local authority, which means that the local authority can no longer expect any financial assistance from the state government, with a few exception.

As Ipoh becoming a big town, the degree of elected representation increased. In 1961, there were 18 elected councillors, compared to only 11 representatives in 1894. From the day of formation till 1956, the chairman’s post was given only to British origin senior staff. But in 1957, for the first time ever in Ipoh local government history, a Malay man, Enche Abdullah B. Udi elected as the Chairman of Ipoh Town Council (as it was called then). On 31st May 1962, Ipoh became a municipality, a title and recognition given by His Highness, the Sultan of Perak. ‘Till now, the Municipality of Ipoh is still bringing in various developments to Ipoh, making her one of the well developed towns in the country.

Lorong Panglima, On the Ipoh Heritage Trail!

By |2009-07-06T06:20:07+08:00July 6th, 2009|Categories: Ipoh Town|Tags: , , , , |

In December last year there was a revelation by the Datuk Bandar, Ipoh, that the legendary tunnel under the Ipoh Town Hall, which is said to join the Railway Station to the High Court and the Police Station (the latter being most unlikely) was to be investigated. Indeed, not only investigated, but opened to the public as part of a historical trail that would take-in parts of Old Town as well, including Lorong Panglima (aka Second Concubine Lane). Not surprisingly nothing has been heard since, but maybe the new Firefly flight schedule from Singapore that starts on 12 July will bring in some tourists and spur the City and State Governments to actually follow this up and smarten up our city for it certainly needs some smartening up!

A case in point is the above photograph of Panglima Lane taken just one week ago. Surely we are not going to allow our tourists to see what states of delapidation our heritage sites have fallen into!

Or are we?

 

An Aerial View of Chamberlain Road, Ipoh c1975

By |2009-07-28T06:13:40+08:00July 5th, 2009|Categories: Ipoh Town|Tags: , , |

We are grateful to Ramesh who has lent us this photograph so that we may share it with you.

The photograph shows Chamberlain Road, Ipoh with Jalan Bendahara at the bottom left, joining Chamberlain at the roundabout. Apart from the Sri Maju Bus Company replacing the Palm Trees, bottom left, with their vehicles in 1978 not too much else has changed. The Majestic Cinema is hidden among the trees on the right.

On the reverse of the card is a message in traditional Chinese characters which reads:

“Ipoh Town. Given to my friend Siong Ling wishing her Happy Living from Pei Yuan.”

Chamberlain Road (As described by S Durai Raja Singam in 1939)
(From Junction of Jalan Masjid and Anderson Road to Chung Thye Pin Road).

This road made in 1907/08; is named after the late Right Hon Joseph Chamberlain M P, father of the present Prime Minister of England, Mr Neville Chamberlain. A Radical politician, Mayor of Birmingham (1873-1876) Secretary of State for Colonies in the Coalition Government. In 1906, he withdrew from public life on account of ill health. First Chancellor of Birmingham University. He died on July 2nd 1914.

Sir Frank Swettenham in his “British Malaya” says “I am responsible for the Malay States lines, with the exception of the eight miles branch in Larut, from Taiping to Port Weld, and the twenty-four miles branch in Sungei Ujong, from Seremban to Port Dickson (which was built by and belongs to a private Company) and I may recall the fact that when I first recommended the construction of the Province Wellesley line, it was disapproved. But when I again repeated all the arguments in favour of the work and pressed to be allowed to undertake it, Mr Chamberlain, then Secretary of State for Colonies, gave his sanction on the ground that, if the value of a great work could be satisfactorily demonstrated, the sooner it was taken in hand the better. Mr Chamberlain is one of the few public men who realize this principle.

Nothing is as common as to express great interest in a new proposal, great sympathy and even high approval: but when it involves the expenditure of money, the running of risk, the acceptance of responsibility, enthusiasm for the scheme is not only tempered, but often entirely counteracted, by the decision to put off its accomplishment to the Greek Kalends.” Before the departure of Sir Cecil C Smith, Sir Frank Sweetenham had drawn up a scheme for the Federation of the Malay States and submitted it to him. This proposal was forwarded to the Secretary of State and Sir Charles Mitchell recommended that is the Malay rulers favoured the proposal, the Federation should be adopted. Mr Chamberlain, the Secretary of State for the Colonies approved of this.

Sir Frank visited the several States explained the scheme very fully to the Malay Rulers and British Residents and secured the written consent of the Rulers. That the Institute for Medical Research owes its being to Mr Joseph Chamberlain, was stated by Dr A Neave Kingsbury, Director of the Institute, at the opening of the sixth international course in malariology.

Mr Chamberlain, as Secretary of State for the Colonies, was instrumental in sending to Kuala Lumpur a research worker to investigate the cause of beri-beri, which was then a most serious disease among the Chinese, said Dr Kingsbury. “Our foundation,” he continued, “antidates all other institutes in British Colonies and Protectorates. Today, the senior staff numbers no less than 16, and we like to think that we have not altogether lost our original start.”

June 2009

The Times of Malaya – Ipoh’s First Newspaper

By |2009-06-28T10:49:13+08:00June 28th, 2009|Categories: Memories|Tags: , |

This advertisement shows the first Times of Malaya Building in Ipoh, where it was adjacent to the Birch Memorial Clock Tower.

The Times of Malaya: Planters and Miners Gazette was started by J I Philips in 1903, with a mission to further the mining, planting, and mercantile interest of the Federated Malay States (FMS) and the Straits Settlements.Registered as The Times of Malaya Press, it was a Limited Company with F Douglas Osborne, a prominent tin miner, A M Gibb, a lawyer and partner of the legal firm of Gibbs and Hope, and R Young as the Directors. Its first publication was released on March 9, 1904. This was an eight-page daily independent newspaper to which citizens actively contributed their views on the development of Ipoh, and “the impatient gave vent to their feelings in its columns.”

 

The first issue of contention the paper raised was for Ipoh to again have its own Sanitation Board. The newspaper’s many efforts were rewarded when the Kinta Sanitary Board was split into the Kinta (North) Sanitary Board in Ipoh, and the Kinta (South) Sanitary Board in Batu Gajah.

Two years later, J A S Jennings from Singapore, its most influential editor took over and Dr R M Connolly, District Surgeon around this time, retired from government service to take temporary charge of the newspaper and put it on a firm footing. Jennings remained editor for some 30 years and became a leading champion of Ipoh, particularly in its bid to become the state capital of Perak. Eventually he bought up all the shares of the Times of Malaya Press Ltd. and became the sole proprietor.

The most pressing and regular issue that the paper raised at the time was the transfer of the state capital from Taiping to Ipoh. Though Ipoh was progressing quicker and was more economically relevant than Taiping, the Colonial Government never got around to doing it, despite, in respose to public pressure, promising to do so. However, it took the Japanese invaders no time at all to do what the British Government failed to achieve. One directive from them and Ipoh became the Perak capital overnight.

In the early 1930s The Times of Malaya moved into a handsome new building in Brewster Road. This was a three-storey Art Deco building bearing a crest with the initials TOM for Times of Malaya., but towards the end, the paper evolved into a ‘one-man show’. The death of Jennings in 1936, marked the rapid decline of the paper which was bought by the Straits Times Press Pte Ltd in November of that year (who also bought the Pinang Gazette in April 1936). Subsequently it merged with the Straits Echo in 1938, and was known as the Straits Echo and The Times of Malaya.

 

Does anyone out there have an old copy of this paper?

The Beef Noodle Family of Ipoh

By |2011-08-11T12:31:49+08:00June 22nd, 2009|Categories: Ipoh Town, People|Tags: , , , , , |

The photographs, taken by a Japanese tourist, show Ipoh’s famous Beef Noodle Stall in operation in Theatre Street in 1968 where it served the people of Ipoh for more than 50 years, until they were forced by legislation to move to a central hawkers area, known locally as Rainbow City. They have been at this second site for more than 20 years. Consequently, the stall has been in operation by the same family in Ipoh for more than 70 years.

The business was founded by Lee Cheong who was born in Phunyu, Guandong in 1902 and first came to Malaya in 1916 to help his father, already in Malaya, to sell rice on their stall in Kuala Lumpur. After some time he returned to China, but times were very tough there and so in 1922 he returned to Malaya and found employment as a supervisor (kepala) in the tin mine of Cheong Yook Chong near Kuala Lumpur. However by the mid 1930s the world depression had taken its toll on tin mining and many unemployed coolies had to return to China to take up hawking or begging in order to survive.

Lee Cheong decided that a move to Ipoh and the new profession of a beef noodle hawker would be the best thing for him, which as it turned out was absolutely correct as he successfully created a long term family business and had eight children, all born in Ipoh.

The photograph on the left shows eldest daughter Yea Sin busily preparing the succulent beef that is the hallmark of their success, together with the home produced noodles and chili sauce made fresh daily. The second photograph shows father Lee Cheong, the founder, measuring out a good handful of noodles and in the background younger daughter, Li Lin, polishing a traditional Cockerel bowl (like those on the counter and still in use today) and the showcase full of freshly made noodles. Both daughters continue to work at their stall, now in 2009, on a regular basis.

There are more photographs and information about this family on our database archive.

As there are some additional, recent comments about this blog I decided to upload another photo.

 Here we have the stall in 2007 with the normal team that provide us with their traditional beef noodles. Note the cockerel bowls on the counter, the same ones as used in Theatre Street more than 40 years ago. 
 

 

 

Chinese Press Reports Launch of ipohWorld’s New Database Archive

By |2009-06-19T05:42:08+08:00June 19th, 2009|Categories: About Us, Ipoh Town, Tenby Schools|Tags: , , , |

On 14 June 2009 both the China Press and Oriental Daily kindly featured the launch of ipohWorld’s new database archive and blog. The photographs show guests viewing the photographic exhibition, “Snapshots of the Emergency” that accompanied the launch. Scans of the articles are shown above and for the convenience of the all, we enclose our Press Release below: 

Ipohworld, an education-based organization now integrated into the facilities of Tenby Schools Ipoh, today launched an internet-based history archive in conjunction with this year’s Remembrance Day ceremony held to honour the thousands of servicemen and civilians killed during the Malaysian Emergency (1948-1960).

 

This occasion was chosen as several of the veterans from the days of the Emergency had donated photographs unavailable elsewhere, to the history archive.

 

To mark the occasion, Ipohworld also mounted a photographic exhibition at the Royal Ipoh Club, simply called “Snapshots of the Emergency” and featuring a number of original photographs donated by the veterans who regularly attend the annual ceremony.

 

Orang Kaya-Kaya Panglima Kinta Seri Amar di-Raja Dato’ Seri Dr Abdullah Fadzil Che Wan, who is also the Chairman of Ipohworld, was present to launch the exhibition.

 

Ipohworld was established in 2004 to promote awareness and appreciation of Perak, the Silver State of Malaysia and its unique, diverse and rich heritage, with particular focus on Ipoh and the Kinta Valley. In 2006 it ran the extraordinarily successful exhibition “The Story of Ipoh: From Feet to Flight”, in cooperation with Darul Ridzuan Museum. Since then, while trying to get both the Public and Private sectors to support Ipohworld’s objective to provide Ipoh with a permanent, lively and interesting heritage gallery, to enhance education and tourism, the organisation continues to work towards that target.

 

Consequently, undeterred by the lack of financial support for a gallery, the project has continued to gather a broad variety of local items and information from worldwide sources. As the collection grew, disciplined recording, preservation and control became essential. Thus, an information archive in the form of a unique digital image database, supported by original research, and available information from acknowledged and credible sources, was born.

 

To date Ipohworld has documented well over 3000 items in the archive covering a wide range of subjects across the broad spectrum of heritage and social history, based on photographs, documents, interviews, artifacts, books and videos. More items will be added regularly.

 

Through this database it is hoped to assist individuals and groups, particularly students, with their research, while at the same time promoting the Kinta Valley, once vaunted the richest tin mining area in the world.

 

In line with present communication trends, Ipohworld, under the guidance of its Project Manager, Commandor RN (RTD) Ian Anderson, has created a weblog to publish stories, personal experiences and to highlight heritage issues as they occur around our valley. Through the weblog, they hope to facilitate discussion between their readers and encourage those with an interest in Perak to share their stories and pictures with others. They also welcome visitors to post original contributions on any aspect of heritage or social history relevant to our area to enrich the content of the blog.

 

In 2006, the Ipohworld project was integrated into the facilities of Tenby Schools Ipoh, which aligned neatly with the schools’ ongoing commitment to encourage interest in heritage and social history among their students while maintaining the project‘s objective to promote Kinta Valley’s heritage.  Since then, all the items displayed in its maiden exhibition “From Feet to Flight” as well as new additions, have have found their “home” at Tenby Schools Ipoh, whilst continuing to wait for a permanent home. 

 

Madam Lee Yam Sei, COO of Tenby Schools Ipoh, explained that the students’ first involvement with Ipohworld’s objectives was when they took on a project to document their own families’ transport history in 2006, taking the lead from the first exhibition.

 

“Since then several of the schools’ students have collaborated with Ipohworld on oral history interviews of senior members of the community, assisted with hosting exhibitions and taken part in photographic, art and model building competitions with heritage as the theme.

 

“Besides projects of this nature, the schools also take pride in organising trips to heritage exhibitions and sites to further expose their students to the wealth of local history that is available”, she said.

 

“These include such diverse subjects as tin mining, a battle site, prehistoric rock paintings, a well-known local folly, mangrove swamps and charcoal burning.

 

“We are proud that our students have taken a keener interest in Perak’s history and developed an appreciation for its rich cultural heritage through these activities, as a result of the efforts of Ipohworld”, Madam Lee added.

 

Over the last 5 years Ipohworld has been well supported with donated material from home and overseas, but if they are to build a truly comprehensive archive they need more help. If anyone has any old photographs, documents, artifacts or stories from Ipoh or the Kinta Valley area they would be delighted to hear from them.

 

Contact may be made via [email protected] in the first instance so that appropriate arrangements may be made. Anything borrowed will be returned promptly as existing contributors will confirm.

 

Ipohworld’s impressive history archives, including the most recent collection of photo exhibition “Snapshots of the Emergency”, are available for public viewing via http://www.ipohworld.org

 

The ipohWorld Launch, Courtesy of the Star Newspaper 13 June 2009

By |2009-06-19T05:15:33+08:00June 19th, 2009|Categories: About Us, ipoh, Tenby Schools|Tags: , , , , |

 

As an introduction to the launch of ipohWorld’s new website, database archive and blog at the Royal Ipoh Club on 13 June 2009, the Star Newspaper kindly featured us on the same morning. The photographs in the above article show the ipohWorld project manager demonstrating the type of information available in the archive ( on the screen are members of the Malay Regiment on anti communist patrol) and students of Tenby Schools, Ipoh interviewing Dato Seri Yuen Yuet Leng about his 35 years in the police, with particular emphasis on the Malayan Emergency.

More information about the Emergency, Dato Seri and the role of Tenby students within ipohWorld may be found on the website and archive.

April 2009

The FMS Bar and Restaurant – Visible Progress

By |2009-04-07T08:50:02+08:00April 6th, 2009|Categories: Ipoh Town|Tags: , , , |

Most people know about FMS, the oldest bar in Malaysia which is currently under renovation. Indeed many people fear that it will never open again. However it certainly looks hopeful.

Taking the photographs from the top it appears that nothing is happening, but go round the back and you will see an amazing transformation (centre pic). The upstairs building work is virtually complete. Then, take a look at the bottom pic – the inside of the downstairs bar. Completely gutted, the new concrete floor upstairs is finished and restoration of downstairs will start soon.

The owner says he plans to reopen early 2010 and that the bar will be in traditional style reflecting its history. And the really good news is that he does not plan to change the front of the building at all, just restore

We look forward to that!

The Old Post Office, Ipoh – Restoration Seems to Have Started

By |2009-04-05T11:27:41+08:00April 5th, 2009|Categories: Ipoh Town|Tags: , , , , , |

Known by Perakians young and old as The Old Post Office, and despite being connected to the Town Hall the building has been empty since the early 1990s and been derelict for years. As can be seen from the top picture the Town Hall has been repainted and shows signs of being cared for but it has been a different story for the Post Office which has simply been an eyesore. However, judging by all the scaffolding the renovation by the Federal Government is underway. That is good news for Ipoh.

Once renovated it is being suggested that it will become an art gallery featuring Raja Muda’s collection of paintings. Whether this is true is not known, but with the amount of money the renovation will cost they must have some plans for it. 

The Ipoh Town Hall building is a historic structure consisting of interesting Moorish Architecture and designs. It was completed in 1916 with the east end used as the Post and Telegraphs Office from 1928. This was the second building to be used for this role in Ipoh. Subsequently when new premises were built for the Post Office, the building was used by other government offices including the Tourism Department and as the Bumiputra Administrative Centre.

The lower picture shows a view from the opposite direction and includes the J W W Birch Memorial Clock Tower partly masked by the Medan Selera (Food Court). The latter is in some serious need of renovation or even a total rebuild as it will negate much of the beauty of the renovated Post office cum Art gallery. With the food court sorted out, the area tidied up and all the rubbish removed, with the advantage of the historic clock tower, this could become a real tourist area.

Unveiled in 1909, the Birch Memorial, can be described as a square decorated tower with a portrait bust and four panels illustrative of the growth of civilisation. The tower was erected on the table-land of Ipoh Old Town at the cost of about $25,000. A dedication to J W W Birch, the first British Resident of Perak, who was assassinated at Pasir Salak in 1875, could be found beneath the site of a bronze bust of Birch in the north-facing niche, but the bust has since disappeared.

A Mysterious Ipoh Fire?

By |2009-04-05T11:28:48+08:00April 5th, 2009|Categories: Ipoh Town|Tags: , , , , |

From time to time (but with monotonous regularity) Ipoh suffers a mysterious fire in one or other of the old buildings in Old or New Town. This one in Brewster Road happened on the eve of Chinese New Year 2009. The building had been out of use for years. How did the fire start we wonder?

Does anyone know who owns this building as there could be someone we know interested to buy and restore it?

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