By Mariam Mokhtar
Many of our young people have decided to seek their fortune in bigger cities like Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Malacca. Others who left to study did not return and are now in Singapore or beyond.
Ask anyone why they left and the reasons are the same. There is nothing in Ipoh. No jobs. No opportunities. Nothing to do after work. There is nowhere to go to at the weekends. It is boring.
Work and Leisure Balance in Ipoh
But are they right? As far as most of us can see, we have most things that we need here in Ipoh. Many of us have chosen to live here because Ipoh does give us the work-life balance that most of the bigger cities may not provide.
Ipoh is cheaper and who says there is nothing to do here?
We may not have the beach at our doorstep as in Penang, but Lumut and Pangkor Island are both a short drive from Ipoh.
We have our rivers for adventures; our hill resorts and our jungles for more active recreation.
Cultural Delights Aplenty
Those who think we lack more cultural pursuits have not searched hard enough.
The Perak Performing Arts Festival has a variety of activities lined up for Ipohites.
First, we were entertained by the German Youth Choir in June and the Kinta Valley Wind Orchestra has a programme in July, called Around the World in 80 Minutes. There is the Perak Dance Festival which has activities lined up on two days in July. Lovers can be serenaded with a variety of romantic songs in an ‘International Ensemble’, in August. Later, in September, Perak’s top marching bands will display their skills.
For those who like books and reading, we also have ‘Northern Writers’ where writers from various disciplines; playwrights, scriptwriters and poets read to an audience and later, have an exchange of ideas with the assembled crowd.
The avid reader can follow his interest and develop his hobby or craft, in any way he pleases – be it for pleasure or for more serious pursuits. The venue is in Garden Villa in Jalan Gopeng. No experience is necessary, only an interest in books and reading.
Learn Public Speaking
People who feel that they would like to improve their public-speaking have ample opportunity at one of two venues; the YMCA Ipoh Toastmasters Club in Jalan Anderson and the Ipoh Toastmasters Club in Jalan Chung Thye Phin.
Friends who have been to the Toastmasters Club say that they have renewed confidence and are better able to engage with others when in group discussions at school or at work. A few said they managed to overcome their shyness after going to a few of these sessions. And some say that they have managed to improve their career prospects whilst one lucky man, said that after going to Toastmasters International, he met his wife, after he plucked up the courage to speak to her. Perhaps Toastmasters did not envisage matchmaking to be one of its aims.
Ipoh may not have the gleaming skyscrapers of glass and concrete, or endless miles of clogged-up roads.
It is true that our kids are so used to the electronic nanny that they do not know how to interact with humans. Many would prefer to be entertained by computer games. Others would prefer to watch a film rather than read the book with the same title. And the handphone has made conversation a dying art. Text messaging means children cannot spell properly and isn’t it sad when two people in a queue talk into the handphone instead of to each other?
So to the person who says that Ipoh is boring, we say, look again. If you search properly and are not afraid to ask around, you will find almost everything you want.
If you can’t find what you want, why not gather a few of your friends together and start a club to pursue your interest.
Ipoh boring? Never.