Behind Street Names


Jalan Foo Choong Nyit

The narrow road between Indulgence and ILTI.

Who was Foo Choong Nyit?
Mr. Foo Choong Nyit was born in 1860, in Ying Dong, a town in the Fujian (formerly known as Fuzhou) province of China. He arrived in Penang at the age of 14, and worked in a business shop.

Three years later, in 1877, he moved to Ipoh, worked as an apprentice in tin-mining, for Mr. Foo Choo Choon. In 1890, aged 30, he started his own tin-mining business at Batu Gajah, and held shares in several tin mines at Pusing, Tg. Tualang, Ipoh and Menglembu.

He was also the General Manager of the Foo Brothers Hydraulic Gold Mine, the Fook Ban San and the Fook Ban Foh Tin Mines.

He was a former President of the Perak Chinese Maternity Association, Adviser to the Perak Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Committee Member of the Perak Chinese Protectorate.

He was appointed as the Justice of Peace in 1936. As a well-known philanthropist, in 1937 he donated a 7-acre site at Kampar Road, together with Mr. Foo Nyit Tse and Mr. Chang Chong Siew, for the construction of the new Perak Chinese Maternity Hospital building. He was also one of the founders of the Perak Hakka Association also known as the Perak Khek Community Association. He passed away in 1937.

Did you know?
During that era, there were a couple of well-known and wealthy Foos, especially in the mining industry and many people tend to think that they are all related. The truth is they were not.

Yeun Yin Fong

13 thoughts on “Behind Street Names

  1. Thank you for all the positive comments and feedback. It is very comforting to know that many are still interested in our heritage. If you wish to know more about the other street names in Ipoh, please visit ipohWorld’s website at

  2. The fact was, we were under the British ruling before, there is no doubt about it.Though there may be some atroucities carried out during those times,there had been also great contribution to the country.
    To have a street named after them to commemorate these remarkable individuals is the least we can do to appreciate their contributions.It should not be about the name from which ethnic group will be the most appropriate to name these streets, so please think of what we enjoy now is what they had worked hard for us before feeling the arogance in telling to anyone to buzz off.

  3. In a land where they practice democracy, we still have very hollow and shallow minded people answering like a Standard Five fellow on behalf of some numb skulls!

  4. “Jikalau engkorang tak suka nama melayu engkorang boleh balik……”

    On behalf of a short fat MP.

  5. Thank you Steven Lee for the information, I will take a ride soon to this location before any changes the name!

  6. S.Sundralingam: There is a Jalan Piper near the airport, probably in reference to the Piper plane.

  7. Thank you, Yeun Yin Fong for stirring and awakening our thoughts of those halcyon times..

    We all have a wistful desire to return in thought or in fact to a former time in one’s life, to one’s home or homeland, or to one’s family and friends; a sentimental yearning …

  8. Felica, I just walked to Patrick Street ( Persiaran Bijih Timah). The signboard on the Ipoh City Council’s low cost flats on Persiaran Bijih Timah shows Pasar Jalan Patrick. I found many stalls selling various items and things. The place is not very clean, and I wonder what is DBI doing about it? By the way who was this gentleman Patrick? Any idea where is Piper Road?

  9. Found your article very interesting and as a regular visitor to Ipoh I went to PATRICK STREET so has that street had a name change since last year?

  10. Road names were changed in a misguided frenzy during Mahathir’s time to break off from our colonial past and instill patriotism through introduction of local historical figures. In doing this, the contributions of those whose roads bore their names are forgotten, notably Sir Hugh Low.

    If not for him, rubber would not have been introduced into Malaya. If not for his able administration, the Chinese would be too busy fighting among themselves rather than mining tin. He laid the earliest plans to make Perak prosperous.

    By erasing their names, a tremendous tourism opportunity was lost when the historical link with the UK was severed. Singapore kept the colonial road names and till this day, descendants of those whose names were honored make visits to Singapore to see the roads concerned. When they return to the UK, they tell their friends and kinfolk, who may also visit Singapore.

    The local council continues to rename roads that existed decades ago. Ironically, many of the younger generation still use the colonial road names despite being born after the road names were changed. Many people still refer to Brewster Road, Hugh Low Street, Chamberlain Road, Cockman Street, Anderson Road, etc.

    One reason is that Malay road names can be a mouthful to say especially for people who hardly speak Malay. I would like to suggest that road names bear the current name with the old name in brackets below.

  11. The streets of our town are part of the historical character of IPOH. The names of these streets are the hallmark of our local history. But in reality, most of these street’s names are changed, due to the hollow mindset of our local planners who lacks the values of history. I grew up in Birch Garden, off Connolly Road. Used mostly Brewster Road, Douglas Road, Belfield Street, Cockman Road, Leech Street, Hugh Low Street, Cowan Street, Hume Street, Leech Street, Fair Park and etc etc…. these names are all gone in the wind. But
    its still in the minds and memories of the people who use to patronize all these streets, these street and road are still there, but the names are missing in action. Pause…………………………………!

  12. Thank you Yeun, for the information on Foo Choong Yit.

    The way to remember our past is through our heritage. Street name is a good way to mark a life lived, but we should name new roads, not change them.

    Just for interest, The addresses of properties and places associated with our historic personalities can draw visitors and benefit tourism players. The better the stories, the greater its power to attract.

    Please, Yeun, more stories on other personalities who lent their names to our streets. Thanks in advance.

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