Monthly Archives: January 2010

One Good Turn


A young boy, barely into his teens, can now look forward to a meaningful future after his plight received the kind of attention his parents have never expected. Eleven year-old Mohd Ihsan Mohd Tahir from Kampong Tengah, Trong suffers from epidermolysis bullosa, a chronic skin condition characterised by peeling skin and open sores. He was born with the ailment and is skinless from the knees below. As a baby he was placed in an incubator and had to endure great pain.

Pantai Hospital Ipoh, in exercising its corporate social responsibility, took Mohd Ihsan under its wing and warded him for observation and treatment. “He’s in the intensive care unit, since Monday, January 25”, said Dr Dilshaad Ali, CEO Pantai Hospital during a press conference at the hospital’s boardroom on Thursday, January 28. “We’ll follow up with treatment at his house upon discharge. Hopefully, NGOs and individuals will come forward to provide the assistance needed”, he implored.

According to the hospital’s consultant dermatologist, Dato’ Dr Ratti, the skin ailment is congenital and is not something rare. “It’s hereditary and may have been passed on by the parents. Both are first cousins”, he revealed.

Kelab Bakti Gunong Keledang had promised a motorised wheelchair for Mohd Ihsan. “We’re focusing on ways to lessen the boy’s misery as a cure is not a possibility”, said Dr Dilshaad.

Those wishing to extend a helping hand please contact Ipoh Echo, 605-2495936 or email: for details.



PSM Protests to State Election Commission


Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) issued amemorandum to the Perak State Election Commission for its delay in the issuance of a permit to register voters during the Thaipusam celebrations on January 30. The protest memo was handed over to its Deputy Director, Wan Mohammed Salleh by PSM Deputy Chairman, Ms M. Saraswathy. She was accompanied by PSM Committee member K. Segar Kunasekaran.

PSM had applied to the Election Commission last December for approval to register voters in view of the high number of unregistered voters in the country (500,000 in Perak). The party was then informed that its appointment letter would be released within two weeks. It had requested for 10,000 application forms. However, PSM was later informed that such a number would require the EC to send its officers along for the exercise. This was made conditional upon the release of the registration forms. The party found this strange as no such condition was extended to other political parties.

PSM planned to register voters at Gunung Cheroh, Kg Kepayang and Sungai Siput during Thaipusam. Volunteers have been deployed there. Looks like their efforts would be in vain.

State Election Director, Haji Ahmad Adli Abdullah, could not be reached for comment.


Saraswathy (r) holding a copy of the protest memo. On her right is K Segar Kunasekaran

MBI’s Responds To Ipoh Echo’s News Highlights


It is heartening to note that City Council is paying heed to the news highlighted by the Ipoh Echo. Here are some of the responses we received:

  1. “No Chime, No Time” – IE 86 pg 10. “MBI will conduct maintenance works on December 10“.
  2. “Hazardous Road Junction” – IE 87 pg 12. “The road junction is located in an area outside of the council’s jurisdiction. We have redirected the complaint to the Perak Water Board for action“.
  3. “Calling Dirt Vigilantes” – IE 87 pg 17. “MBI has cleaned up the mess on January 5“.

Thank you MBI, Ipohites appreciate your taking action.

Ipoh’s Polo Ground No Longer A Perak Icon We Can Be Proud Of


I take the opportunity to congratulate Sandra Rajoo, first prize winner (Senior category) of the recent Ipoh Echo writing competition. Her article, titled ‘Ipoh’s iconoic Polo Ground’, which was published in issue 88 of Ipoh Echo (22 December 2009 – 15 January, 2010), was not only well written but also evoked sweet memories and fond recollections of an idyllic Polo Ground of days gone by.

Indeed, a public community park should be a haven for rest, relaxation and recreation for the whole family. Alas, the Polo Ground of today is a far cry from Ms Rajoo’s lovely descriptions.

I’m not sure when Ms Rajoo last paid a visit to the park, but if she did so today she would find to her dismay and alarm that the Polo Ground has since degenerated to such a degree that it is no longer the sanctuary that it used to be in the 1980’s and before. And the situation is gradually and surely getting from bad to worse unless the authorities take immediate measures to arrest the problems.

Originally designated a ‘No hawkers’ zone, the park vicinity today is nevertheless infested with hawkers who sell their wares with blatant disregard for park rules nor basic decent respect for the environment. They operate out of vans, setting up stall around the clock, complete with tables, chairs, and umbrellas, all along Persiaran Brash, the street that flanks Polo Ground, and once a upon a time, a quiet and pleasant residential boulevard. Loud music, noise, traffic congestion and litter compound the problem for park users and residents alike.

Not only does the unsavoury sight of these hawker stalls ruin the beautiful landscape of the park, they also cause massive traffic congestion when motorists stop by the road to patronize the stalls. By setting up their stalls on the car park spaces along Persiaran Brash (parking that is designated and allocated for park users), these hawker stalls comprising vans, tables and chairs deprive motorists of precious parking space. The scene during the park’s ‘peak hours’ (6-8 a.m. And 5-7.30 p.m.) is one of total anarchy, with motorists parking their cars anywhere they care (even at the front gates of houses along the road), traffic choking the entire street, and a devil-may-care attitude by hawkers and motorists.

Left unchecked by the authorities, the hawkers seem to have grown in strength and confidence as the stalls there increase in size and number with time. Obviously, business is thriving at the Polo Ground. But surely good business is not a good reason for Majlis Bandaraya Ipoh to allow illegal hawking activities to be carried out at the Polo Ground. Rules should be adhered to, not compromised.

Indeed, hawkers there have turned the entire once peaceful residential suburb into a  ‘glutton street pasar malam‘ of sorts, with stalls offering everything from laksa to rojak. Several stalls even operate through the night, encouraging unsavoury nocturnal activities in the park. Don’t get me wrong. I am a big fan of hawker food and pasar malam.  But there should be a proper place and an appropriate time for these, and a community park is NOT one of the places, at any time.

And no self-respecting local council should allow it. If the local council is wary of being unpopular with the hawker community, the council must be prepared to risk losing the respect and support of the rest of the community.

I have heard that even royalty, including HRH Sultan Azlan Shah, who walks at the Polo Ground every morning, has been so disgusted by the state of affairs at the park (filled with litter, trash etc.) that he ordered the hawkers to be relocated. But in no time at all, the pack of them returned with a vengeance, defying even the Sultan’s orders, and being allowed to get away with it somehow.

In fact, I was a frequent user of the park for many years, jogging there every evening until the situation at the park went from barely tolerable (about ten years ago) to totally unbearable (about five years ago). In 2005, I stopped going to Polo Ground altogether.

How I long for those golden days of yore when Polo Ground was really as Ms Rajoo describes it!

Please, Majlis Bandaraya Ipoh, it is a gross injustice and disservice to the community of Ipoh to sweep the problem under the carpet and let these hawkers have their way. Do something about the pathetic situation before it is too late and our beautiful Polo Gruond goes to waste.. literally! 

Friend of the Community

“Let The Classics Come Alive”


L-R Sebastian See-Schierenberg, Lee Yin Hwa & Susana Galván

On 16th January 2010, the classics came alive at the The Dome Restaurant in Meru Valley Resort in a musical performance by British violinist Sebastian See-Schierenberg and Ipoh-born pianist, Lee Yin Hwa, who were splendidly complemented by Spanish concert presenter Susana Galván. 

Susana’s entertaining and flamboyant presentation, which included some fascinating and even scandalous facts about the lives of crazy composers, eccentric musicians, and other unbelievable stories from the classical music world, was a breath of fresh air to what one would normally expect of a classical music recital. According to Susana, what made their maiden trip to Ipoh so special was that it is actually the hometown of Sebastian’s mother.  Sebastian, who is of Chinese-Malaysian and German descent, is no stranger to Malaysia, having taught and performed at the Malaysian Philharmonic Music Chambers and Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra respectively.  Susana had served as the Director of Education at the British Council and even shared that it was in Malaysia that Sebastian and her met and eventually got married! Yin Hwa, a well-known musician, is glad to be back in Ipoh as he currently serves as a member of the piano faculty at UCSI and UM in Kuala Lumpur.

A violin master class was held earlier that day for students of Tenby Schools Ipoh by courtesy of the performers.  They look forward to any opportunity to bring their recital and master classes to Ipoh again as they had a great time here. The event was jointly organised by Tenby Schools Ipoh and Meru Valley Resort Berhad

Violence against A Place of Worship Is a Sin of the Highest Order


The attacks on the two suraus (Surau Silaturrahim at Kg Sabak Awor and the Parit Beting Surau), just like the spate of attacks on the places of worship since January 8, must be condemned by all Malaysians.

I fully agree with the President of Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism Rev Dr Thomas Philips who said in a statement today that any violence against a place of worship was a sin of the highest order.

Though such incidents of attacks were minor aberrations (to borrow the words used by the Prime Minister) they have tarnished Malaysia’s international image and could jeopardize the nation’s racial harmony and national unity.

Hence, at a time when the extremists are out to destroy harmony and incite hatred, Malaysians must continue to display tolerance and pray for peace.

Most important of all, the police must swiftly bring to justice all the extremists who have committed the despicable and unforgivable acts of violence.

Home Minister Hishamuddin Tun Hussein had a few days ago said the situation was under control and not serious. He should know that Malaysians have taken his assurance of “under control “to mean” no further incident of attack on places of worship”.

Media statement by M. Kula Segaran MP Ipoh Barat and DAP National Vice Chairman in Ipoh on 25th January 2010.

Dirt Vigilantes


Poor Response From Residents


Hala Wah Keong

Response to Ipoh Echo’s call on the residents of the city to be ‘dirt vigilantes’ by sending in photographs of dirty spots and information of their locations for publication seem to be poor.

Why is it so? Are the residents willing to live in a dirty environment, rather than to play a part in keeping the city clean?

If this is a case of ‘tidak apa’ attitude, we cannot blame the Ipoh City Council for not doing something about the cleanliness of the city. Certainly, the City Council will not be able to do it alone; it needs the co-operation of everyone.

Remember, Ipoh was once a clean and beautiful city with a pro-active local authority. Can we bring back the image? Do we have the will and determination to do so?

First of all, the City Council needs to get rid of the thousands of illegal rubbish dumps and embark on a beautification plan. Meanwhile, Ipoh Echo will continue with its cleanliness campaign by focusing on dirty spots and locations around the city in each issue.

At the Wah Keong Park, the situation is no different from other locations in the city. Illegal rubbish dumps are everywhere. 

Come on Ipohites. Do your bit. This is YOUR city too.

SMJK Ave Maria Convent Wins for Malaysia


The Malaysian Contingent of St John Ambulance Malaysia consisting of 7 students and 2 teachers all from SMJK Ave Maria Convent Ipoh, kept the Jalur Gemilang flying high at the Lincoln University in Christchurch, New Zealand at the International Youth Festival 2010. 

They were placed 2nd in the Team First Aid event, and a team member, TAN CHIANG TIENG, placed 3rd in the Individual First Aid event. Malaysia was overall 3rd in the Worldwide First Aid Competition, placed ahead of countries like England, Wales, Australia, Germany, Hong Kong and Singapore.

 The host country, New Zealand, was the overall champion, winning the Commonwealth Shield followed by Canada. Reporting from New Zealand by email was Tan Pei Nee, Teacher Advisor, St John Ambulance Malaysia, one of the two teachers from SMJK Ave Maria Convent, who accompanied the team.

James Gough

Chinese New Year Recipe


By Margarita Lee

 Chinese New Year Raw Fish Salad (Yee Sang)



200g sliced raw fish (salmon or jellyfish)
100g radish shredded
100g carrot shredded

100g cucumber shredded
100g pickled papaya, shredded (qua yin)

10 pickled leeks, shredded (or sweet onion pickle)

100g pomelo wedges, peeled and separate the sacs (or grape fruit)

50g spring onions, shredded

10g red sweet ginger pickle
10g white sweet ginger pickle

1 tsp shredded kaffir lime (limau perut) leaves

1 shredded red chilli

20g coriander leaves
1 tbsp lemon or lime juice
1 tbsp brandy
20g sesame seeds, toasted
30g peanuts, toasted and ground
¼ cup of garlic oil + 2 tsp sesame oil
150g crispy chips (fried wonton skin)


300g plum sauce
3 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp five-spice powder
3 tbsp honey
3 tbsp lemon juice

Combine the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a low simmering boil. Leave aside to cool for later use.


1. Prepare all ingredients and arrange on a big round serving plate

2. Mix raw fish with lemon juice and brandy.

3. To serve, pour the sauce over the Yee Sang and sprinkle with five-spice powder.

4. Add a sprinkling of sesame seeds, roasted peanuts and crispy chips or fried wonton skin.

An Eventful Evening with The Indomitable Karim Raslan….


By Fathol Zaman Bukhari

“You’re being short-changed. Get KL to pump in money into Perak and not somewhere else”, said renowned writer and regional analyst, Karim Raslan, to the Who’s Who of Perak at a dinner recently. Karim was delivering a talk entitled, “Ipoh, the Soul of Malaysia” at Syuen Hotel, Ipoh on January 15. It was Karim’s second appearance as a guest speaker at the Perak Academy forum. The first was in March 2003, a rare honour indeed for someone who is an Ipohite by definition but a KL-ite by default.  

“They like to dismiss my views as something incoherent coming from a Mat Salleh celup”, Karim remarked in jest. His reference to his mixed Malay-English parentage helped bring down the invisible barrier separating speaker from listeners. And once rapport was established there was no stopping this very charming and articulate English-speaking gentleman from connecting with his audience.

The subject, in all honesty, was a misnomer as Ipoh is definitely not the soul of Malaysia. Based on what transpired that evening a more appropriate title would have been, “How to bring back the shine to Ipoh”. Karim acknowledged that the title was a little off the mark. Having steered the audience back on to the right track, he chided them for failing to make demands from the new BN-led state government. “Make your politicians work, otherwise it’ll be business as usual.”

He recalled candidly his youthful days watching horses racing on the turf club track across his house in Thompson Road. “The ground would shake as horses and riders passed by.” It speaks volumes of his attachment to Ipoh.

Karim felt that the history and rich heritage the city possessed had not been fully optimised to bring in tourist dollars. “There’s Old Town, tasteful colonial buildings and limestone hills. Pretty sights to soothe the eyes and fill the coffers”, he enjoined. He blamed the business community for not doing enough to harness these opportunities. When told that privateers were not entirely blameworthy, he responded by imploring them to get the authorities over to their side. A little cajoling would do the trick, he insisted.

The introduction of air flights from Singapore and Medan, Karim reasoned, provided the connectivity required in bringing moneyed foreigners into Ipoh. Health tourism was another sector to be explored as medical facilities available here are at par and much cheaper compared to KL and Penang. “Although many may not want Ipoh to be a haven for retirees and the sickly, Ipohites have to accept the fact that these people have money to dispose.” And with disposable income comes economic activities which the city is so deprived. “Try to find ways to bring the people back to the City”, Karim exhorted. He was right Ipohites are overtly concerned for their personal well being rather than the economic wealth of their city. A paradigm shift is necessary to change habits and perceptions. And time is of the essence.

The “Allah” issue inadvertently drifted into the discussion. It was to be expected as the eager listeners were keen on hearing Karim’s take on UMNO’s handling of the situation. “There’s a sense of paranoia”, said Karim believing that the ruling party has lost all sense of direction. “UMNO is making PAS look so sensible.”

Karim was in his element and the audience was thrilled to bits. It was one eventful evening for all those who came to listen and for the movers and shakers who were there that evening, it might be wise to take heed of  Karim’s admonition in his blog in Malaysian Insider imploring Ipohites that:

There are so many opportunities for Ipoh to reinvent itself, and it needs to choose one, focus on it in order to reclaim its original vitality.

The state’s leaders must be put on notice. They must turnaround the city and state or they will be ejected. There can be no compromise: being a nice guy just ain’t good enough. Dynamism and energy are required if Ipoh is to regain its “groove”.

Finally, Ipoh is yet another example of a multi-racial city (not unlike Kota Kinabalu and Kuching) that’s achieved a serene and harmonious balance. KL-ites tend to sniff rather contemptuously at the provincial capitals and yet the brilliance of multi-racial Malaysia is locked in these sleepy towns. We need to remember this before it’s too late’ Malaysian Insider Jan 23.