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 2010

World Heritage Day Sunday 18th April 2010

By |2010-04-17T14:41:05+08:00April 17th, 2010|Categories: ipoh, People|Tags: , , |

The International Day for Monuments and Sites (informally known as the World Heritage Day) was created on 18th April, 1982, by ICOMOS and later approved at the 22nd UNESCO General Conference in 1983. This special day offers an opportunity to raise public’s awareness concerning the diversity of the world’s heritage and the efforts that are required to protect and conserve it, as well as to draw attention to its vulnerability.

Casting our mind around Ipoh and its heritage of which we have so much – most of it vulnerable- we selected the cave paintings high up on the cliffs above the Tambun road as our item to draw attention to on this special day. The photograph shows just one of the drawings of animals and men.

At least 5000 years old and the finest set of prehistoric paintings in Malaysia they certainly need protection and conservation, but since they were discovered in 1959 they have been almost totally ignored by those who should care.

So today’s the day for you to do something about it. Raise a petition, write to your MP or draw attention in some other way to our failing to preserve this heritage. At present there are still enough paintings to prove that long before the history of the Malay Peninsula was written, there were primitive men living in Lembah Kinta, who illustrated the environment surrounding them, but they won’t be there much longer unless drastic action is taken!

Do it now! Action speaks louder than words.

July 2009

Dem Bones, Dem Bones, Dem Dry Bones

By |2009-07-28T12:40:45+08:00July 28th, 2009|Categories: Museums|Tags: , , |

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!

The Tambun Rock Paintings – Don’t We Care About Our Heritage?

By |2009-07-02T00:46:04+08:00July 2nd, 2009|Categories: ipoh, Memories|Tags: , , |

High on an abrupt limestone cliff near Ipoh, a whole series of rock paintings drawn with haematite paint were discovered in 1959 and are estimated to be between 5,000 to 12,000 years old!

They were discovered by an Englishman, one Lieutenant R L Rawlings, who was serving with the 2nd Battalion, 6th Queen Elizabeth’s Own Gurkha Rifles as part of the Commonwealth Armed Forces’ presence in Malaya for the Malayan Emergency.  It was one of the most important historic discoveries in the country, in our opinion second only to the Perak Man.

Access to the paintings is not easy as there is no indication from the main road that they even exist; then the path is overgrown; the one signboard at the foot of the cliffs is rusting away; and the concrete steps, erected by the Museums Department are overgrown and slippery. However for the dedicated enthusiast access is just possible with care.

The paintings are situated on a wide ledge at the top of a steep slope, about 30 plus metres above the floor of Lembah Kinta on a smooth limestone cliff.  Some 6 metres or more above the ledge, there are a number of illustrations of wildlife, people and abstract designs. Some are quite small while some of the animals are more than one metre long.  We believe they are the first and only ancient rock paintings known in Malaysia. As ones eyes grew accustomed to the glare, it is obvious that the sunlight is fading the artwork while water has completely eroded some parts of the sketches.

In November 1959, J.M Matthews, an author in an issue of Malaya in History – Magazine of the Malayan Historical Society, wrote this description of the discovery: “The paintings are monochrome – indistinct. In some groups, the paint is dark purple, in others, dull red. Some of the figures are obviously men, rather crudely drawn. Some of the animals are easily identified, others are rather vague and imagination is needed for their representation”.

However we were still able to recognize most of the paintings; there are wild boars and a dugong, a tapir and deer. The latter are fascinating appearing as pregnant does, one with a small infant drawn inside its swollen frame. At one time, we are told, this gallery of paintings stretched for more than a hundred feet, but over the last 50 years most of it has disappeared.

However, there are still enough paintings to prove that long before the history of the Malay Peninsula was written, there were primitive men living in Lembah Kinta, who illustrated the environment surrounding them.

So why have they not been properly protected and controlled so that both Malaysians and Tourists can enjoy our unique piece of history? Clearly, only the appropriate government department could answer that!

Go to Top