Wishing You Weren’t Here?


Ask anyone about Ipoh and 99% of them will say it is a boring place. How can the scene of political struggles, of nature at one’s doorstep, of a place where the people can still find time for you, be termed boring? Maybe the young and dynamic crave better shopping malls, or a meaningful outlet for their creative energy. Maybe these people need the cities, for jobs or opportunities which are unavailable here. Ipoh boring? No. Laid back? Yes.

‘Boring Ipoh’ is the least of our problems. But, to be bored is a state of mind, just like happiness. You make the best of what you have and Ipoh can sometimes appear as a cultural desert, a place lacking taste, with too much kitsch and no style.

A Landfill Site?

Certainly, a travel brochure for Ipoh could describe it as the holiday equivalent of visiting a landfill site.

One need not visit Ipoh to notice the dirty sights, horrendous smells and nerve wracking sounds. One only has to read the Ipoh Echo for the readers’ views about how this once beautiful city has become a big rubbish dump.

We may moan about the choked roads during peak hours, or the state of the football team or the lack of a good transport system, but how will Ipoh compare in a ranking of Malaysian towns or cities in which to live?

Ipohites are proud folk and would react angrily if we were ranked somewhere at the bottom of this fictitious list. Haven’t we the best and cheapest food in the country? Our roads are not incessantly clogged like the urban areas elsewhere, and isn’t our atmosphere relatively unpolluted?

Our Icons

We may grumble about migrant labour, unemployment and the lack of culture (plays, theatre groups, etc.), Or get annoyed with suggestions that the big white ‘IPOH’ sign at two exits on the north-south highway is the closest we’ll ever get to Hollywood. But hang on; we have our very own Bond Girl, Michelle Yeoh and another budding actress, Christy Yow. And we’ve been fortunate to welcome foreign stars like Jodie Foster and Catherine Deneuve.

We probably have more colonial buildings in use and our shopping malls may not be as fantastic as Kuala Lumpur’s. A sprinkling of small shops, such as the rotan shops, or shops that make the heads for the lions in the lion dance, still fascinate many a visitor. A sizeable number of typical groceries (kedai runcit) exhibit an air of authenticity (just like in our granny’s day), though they are fast disappearing. The gentleman barber shops manage to snip men’s hair just like in our grandfather’s time. And our wet markets continue to have the same smells, sounds and sights.

Just like any other city, Ipoh is lovely in many parts but it has its downsides. Litter is a massive problem, as the Ipoh Echo never tires to reveal. Wouldn’t we love to blame our council entirely but half the problem is our own apathy. This paper too has revealed that the inhabitants of certain parts of town have no pride in their surrounding areas and are responsible for rubbish piles that mushroom overnight.

Shape Up or Ship Out

But why? This city has a lot going for it and it has some of the friendliest people in the country. We’d all love to say to those people who want to sully our good name – get a life!

Ipoh has got everything anyone would need from a city and we love it here. So if you want to be part of this great place, you’ll just have to shape up.


6 thoughts on “Wishing You Weren’t Here?

  1. Cleanliness and neatness self-discipline should be the norm. Start from home. Educate kids, rubbish should be thrown into bins. No bins? Find one! or keep it until available. No throwing of ‘whatever you call it’ from moving cars. Never leave rubbish around after picnic. UUH! don’t dump baby’s pampers under the tree, this is a waterfall site! There’s no ‘rangers’ around to check/enforce/croak…No! No! No! don’t dirty place meh.FINE RM25!..OK? Arghh..!big micky rat just ‘dance right in front of me! I’m having my makan at the so called 3 star restaurant?, and the drains. reeks of puke, sodden with hardened ‘ghee and lard’ blocking the inlet/outlet…poor Sg.Kinta..hope to see udang galah make a come back and thrive here..

  2. Agree wholeheartedly with Steven. Ipoh residents have been lacking in their civic duty when it comes to littering and dumping garbage outside of the bins.

    Too much complaining and not enough public participation to keep their environs clean.

    This has been a brewing problem from years ago.


  3. agree with steven.

    dont just keep blaming d authority. we pay tax for wat?
    for development – roads, schools, etc.? OR for clean up d rubbish tat we do?

    do our part. dont be ‘pengotor’.

  4. We blast DBI for the dirty place that Ipoh has become. Yes, part of the blame is on DBI. But I suggest that the greater part of the blame is on Ipoh residents.

    Look at the lackadaisical attitude of people nowadays simply littering everywhere. But we conveniently blame DBI for not doing their job instead of pointing at the culprits.

    We complain DBI’s services are not up to par. Roads are not being maintained, drains not being cleaned, grass not cut often enough, recreation places running down, etc. Many of these complaints are true and valid.

    How many Ipoh residents realize that the cost of rubbish collection and disposal is between 50% to 60% of the city’s budget? So if we litter more and expect DBI to clean up after us, who actually suffer in the end?

  5. Rubbish is being dumped everywhere in Ipoh specifically one can notice in many housing residential areas. I wonder MBI cares about making Ipoh the cleanest city anymore. Perhaps those who habitually dump rubbish should be fined so that Ipoh can claim that it is the cleanest city in Malaysia.

  6. Ipoh……stay the way you are.

    A quiet little town with enough for the contented, folk seeking simple living.

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