Monthly Archives: September 2011

Court Favours Haji Sultan

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The Ipoh High Court’s ruling naming Haji Sultan Abdul Kadir as the legitimate President of the Perak Indian Chamber of Commerce was hailed by its members. The court’s decision was announced to the media at a Hari Raya open house hosted by the chamber and held at the Ipoh City and Country Club recently. “The high court’s decision will remove all doubts regarding the legitimacy of my presidency and that of the Perak Indian Chamber of Commerce,” he told reporters. It ended the long-drawn battle with another namesake which is being helmed by one B.K. Kumar. Haji Sultan will file a damage claim against plaintiffs B.K. Kumar and P.S. Archary amounting to RM500,000.  “The court is calculating the cost incurred during the long trial,” said Haji Sultan.

On the chamber’s future plan, Haji Sultan alluded to the 30-acre site in Keramat Pulai given by the State Development Corporation. Shop and industrial lots will be built on the land. The chamber has purchased a building in Jalan Sultan Iskandar, Ipoh, at a cost of RM420,000. The building will house the chamber’s headquarters and will be ready for occupation once renovation works are completed. Haji Sultan thanked the Menteri Besar for his assistance in acquiring the building and the vacant land.

RM

Halt the “Political Circus”

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Malaysians generally are a forgiving lot. But can Perakeans continue to condone the idiosyncrasies of their elected representatives at their behest?

Nothing can be more disturbing than to see our august State Assembly turning into a house of ill repute. No, not in the true sense of the word but literally. That is what it implies if events unfolding, prior to and during a sitting, are anything to go by. Each sitting is being characterised by a shouting match between opposing benches which ultimately ends in a walkout by the Opposition. This has been the trend ever since Barisan Nasional wrested control from Pakatan Rakyat on February 6, 2009.

The latest sitting on Monday, August 15 was no exception. It started at 10.00 a.m. and ended at 12.30 p.m. – the shortest in the annals of the Perak State Assembly. Within a period of 150 minutes, the only issue of substance debated, which elicited some very heated exchanges of words and expletives, was the controversial RM5.8 billion Liquefied Natural Gas in Tanjung Hantu, Manjung.

The Opposition’s ire was aroused over questions as to how a project of such magnitude is being awarded to a “company with no records of business dealings and no contact numbers”. The company “with a paid-up capital of RM100 suddenly had RM5 million in its kitty when a report was lodged with the federal anti-corruption commission”.

Nothing can be achieved if those we elect to office are only interested in going after each other’s throat rather than debate on issues of common interest. Democratic principles are being subverted for reasons of incompatibility among the lawmakers. Malaysians generally are a forgiving lot. But can Perakeans continue to condone the idiosyncrasies of their elected representatives at their behest?

The supposedly two-day sitting ended abruptly when the Opposition walked out after protesting vehemently that Speaker Ganeson was biased. “Whenever it’s our turn to speak our microphones are switched off but BN assemblymen are allowed to speak without disruption,” said former Menteri Besar and Opposition Leader, Dato’ Seri Muhammad Nizar Jamaluddin.

The walkout was prompted by the non-acceptance of a motion by Ganeson to recuse himself from the Speaker’s chair. The issue which the Opposition found wanting was the suspension of Khalid Idham Lim Abdullah (Pas-Titi Serong) which, according to Ganeson, was debated and passed during the April 15 sitting.

Although many may question the sincerity of the opposite bench there is an element of complicity involved here. Barisan Nasional’s propensity for rushing through an assembly sitting and blaming their opposite number, whenever the inevitable happens, only helps to accentuate the misery.

A compromise needs to be reached if our elected representatives have the interests of the rakyat at heart. But will such a situation occur when both sides are continually at logger heads?

There are many issues that need to be discussed and debated in a civilised manner. After all, this is to be expected of a civil society that upholds democratic values and principles.

Over a hundred and fifty questions, posed by all 59 representatives, were being slated for deliberation. Unfortunately, none saw the light of day. The questions ranged from the contentious to the absurd. Most had to do with developments and funding of projects in both rural and urban areas. One which I found amusing is, why two roads in Greentown Business Centre are being turned into a one-way thoroughfare.

The questions, simple though some may be, are indicative of the rakyat’s desire for answers and actions from the authorities. But this is not to be as the assembly, due to the insensitivity of some, is more apt to make a nuisance of matters relating to the rakyat’s welfare.

President Obama miffed by his opponents’ attempt to derail his economic recovery plans, called on the Republicans in the US Congress to “halt the political circus”. I feel the political circus in the Perak State Assembly should be halted as well.

Ipoh, My Home Town: Reminiscences of Growing Up in Ipoh, in Pictures and Words

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Penned by 47 different authors, all of whom spent some or all of their childhood days in Ipoh, this is a book like none other. Here they share their memories of their beloved “Home Town”, good and bad, which together provide a rich tapestry of sights and sounds of days gone by. The writers have reminisced about growing up in Ipoh, in 64 different, heart-warming and absorbing tales, the earliest from a young man born on Market Street in 1920 and the youngest just turned 13.

The stories range across a wide spectrum of subjects – from food to fashion, geese to girlfriends, opium to opera, schools to squalor, toilets to Towkays and rubber seeds to rocking horses. Indeed the book seems to cover every aspect of what growing up in Ipoh was all about and how life changed as the years rolled by.

The list of authors, many of whom live overseas, is also impressive for there are representatives from all the major races of Peninsula Malaysia, plus a couple of Europeans and even an Iban, born in Ipoh. Truly “Bangsa Malaysia”, they come from all walks of life, Captain Ho Weng Toh, a “Flying Tiger”, Professor Wang Gungwu, a Greentown boy before the war, Malaysia’s most famous ‘Kampung Boy’ Lat (who has also written the Foreword), a famous Towkay’s daughter, well-known representatives from stage, screen and radio and successful businessmen and women, housewives and mothers, but no politicians.

Obviously a book like this needs an editor and compiler and here is another surprise for no one would guess that this exceptional book is the work of an expatriate, Commander Ian Anderson, who has adopted Ipoh as his “Home Town”. But then again, Anderson is an exceptional person who plays a greater part in Ipoh than many locals. He is the man behind www.ipohworld.org, Tenby Schools Ipoh’s history project. He is clearly dedicated to Ipoh and its history, as this book demonstrates.

But this is not just a collection of stories for each one is backed up by photographs, many never seen before. Around 450 in all and there is an added bonus for Lat’s own story which has original cartoons to illustrate his piece.

Hard bound, with 276 pages, beautifully laid out with tasteful pastel colours that enhance the overall feeling of enjoyment, the book sells in all the normal outlets for the surprisingly economical price of RM100. Worthy of a price tag significantly higher, the publisher has set this on a “Non Profit” basis in the hope that this will allow more people to enjoy this unique venture.

I thoroughly recommend this book as an important and significant work, a book for all ages, even if you do not come from Ipoh. It is for those who have already grown up and love to look back to their happy days when a cardboard box, home-made toys, a few rubber seeds or a matchbox and a spider could become the nucleus in the making of a champion. But it is also for those who are still growing up to find out that walking an hour to school and back was quite normal, 5-cents pocket money was enough to survive on and girls were just for looking at.

Published by Media Masters Publishing Sdn Bhd, based in Ipoh. Available at major bookstores, online at www.ipohworld.org and Ipoh Echo. Tel: 05‑2495938 or e-mail: info@mediamasters.com.my.

SFCK

Toastmasters’ Muhibbah Nite

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The ballroom of Traders Hotel, Taiping was abuzz with activity recently presenting Muhibbah Nite. Division H Toastmasters rose to the occasion, arriving in elegant batik shirts, saris and cheongsams.

In July of each year, the Toastmasters community worldwide elect new leaders to chart the path for their respective clubs, divisions and districts. Division H, which spans most of Perak and Seberang Perai, had their various clubs’ Joint Installation Dinner that evening with some 150 guests, from as far as Kuala Lumpur and Penang, in attendance.

Muslims and non-Muslims alike broke fast together in a true muhibbah spirit. The evening’s agenda was peppered with interactive games and lucky draws. SMK Gunung Rapat Gavel Club kept the crowd entertained with the Muhibbah Guessing Game, which had guests scrambling to identify photos of local celebrities and landmarks.

SMK Gunung Rapat Gavel Club is part of an outreach programme by the Perak Toastmasters community to affect good English communication and leadership skills among teenagers.

The highlight of the night was the installation ceremony, where club officers were sworn into office before their peers. Club presidents took their oaths of office while holding up a gavel, the Toastmasters’ symbol of authority. The dinner ended on a high note, as office bearers returned home with a new found determination to lead their respective clubs to greater heights in the year ahead.

If you are interested in keeping up with future Toastmasters events in Division H or to find a club near you, please give Phang (012-5200399) or Mohan (012-9242740) a call.

Mohan

Mariah’s Kuih Bangkit and Bahulu

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Who would have thought that behind the mouth-watering kuih bangkit and bahulu is a story of hardship and struggle by one gutsy lady.

Mariah Dollah, 60, from Kampung Pulau Pisang in Malim Nawar became the sole breadwinner after the death of her doting husband over a decade ago. Not wanting to trouble her relatives with her problems, she struggled alone without much help from anyone. “I decided to eke out an honest living to raise my three daughters,” she told Ipoh Echo.

Mariah’s forte is baking Malay cookies the traditional way, a talent she acquired from her late grandmother. The income she obtained from the sale of her cookies has enabled her not only to put food on the table but to educate her three daughters until they were capable of standing on their own two feet.

Mariah has carved a niche for herself, as her cookies are being sought after by those in the know. She receives orders from near and far. Mariah bakes her cookies all year round to keep a constant supply in the market.

“The demand is greater during Hari Raya, weddings and on special occasions.” In spite of her tight schedule she manages herself wonderfully. She employs two helpers whenever the going gets tough. Otherwise, she is all by herself. “I work better alone,” she quipped.

Her white fluffy kuih bangkit is made from flour that has been fried without oil. The dough is then mixed with coconut milk and sugar before being baked. Her bahulu is golden and spongy but crispy when eaten. A container of 50 bahulu and kuih bangkit is sold for RM11 each.

Call 05-4773309 to  order.

SH

Jaipur National University Campus in Perak

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Jaipur National University plans to build a campus here in Perak. This noble intention is being realised with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the university’s local partner, Perak Educity. The signing ceremony was held at Syuen Hotel, Ipoh, recently and was witnessed by Menteri Besar, Dato’ Seri DiRaja Dr. Zambry Abd Kadir.

Chairman of the Jaipur National University Board of Director and Chancellor, Sandeep Bakshi signed on behalf of the University while Perak Educity was represented by its Chairman, Dato’ Abdul Rahman Ghani.

The campus will be built at a cost of USD50 million (RM150 million). A possible site is along the Ipoh-Seri Iskandar corridor. The signing of the MOU marks a watershed in the state government’s drive to make Perak an educational hub of the country.

Institutions of higher learning which are in varying degrees of development are the Segi University College in Menglembu and the Quest International University Perak in Gua Tempurong, Gopeng. “Education is set to enhance the economic development of Perak,” said Zambry to reporters. “We can’t be dependent on foreign direct investments alone to develop the state,” he added.

The university is keen on expanding worldwide and has picked Perak as its first foray outside of India. Jaipur National University has had twinning programmes with established universities such as Lincoln University, University of Central Lancashire and London School of Business Management.

Before construction works begin, a temporary campus will be built in Ipoh and will start taking students in July 2012. “Our enrolment target is between 2,000 to 3,000 students, the majority being locals and the remaining foreigners,” said Sandeep.

RM

Chee Kong’s confinement noodles

SeeFoon goes ‘grazing’ in Chemor

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“to graze – to eat a variety of appetizers as a full meal” (dictionary.com)

Food stalls all over Asia are a natural grazer’s delight and particularly in Ipoh where there is a cornucopia of available outlets. All one needs to do is gather a group of friends, hop into the car and whizz off, not having to contend with stressful traffic jams, park with ease along the roadside and graze from outlet to outlet.

I did this recently with my usual group of Foodie friends led by the indomitable Ginla Foo who somehow manages to ferret out some of the most obscure but delectable places where hidden culinary treats await.

This time, the general locale chosen was Chemor. We began with Tanah Hitam, at Kampung Tersusun at a local coffee shop named Chee Kong. Tanah Hitam is well sign posted along the road leading from Chemor to Tanjung Rambutan. Coming from Chemor look for a large Chinese arch beside the Tanah Hitam Police Station and turn in. Follow that road and within less than one kilometre, the restaurant is on the right.

Confinement Noodles

The specialty of this outlet is its confinement or post-natal noodles. They also serve a variety of other noodle dishes but as we were grazing, we went only for the Yuet Por Fun or confinement noodles. This culinary tradition dates back to historical times when food was the only medicine and women who had just given birth required nourishing food to restore vitality. What sets this dish apart from regular noodle soup is the ingredients that go into it: oodles of fresh liver (full of vitamins and source of B12 and folic acid), small intestines (same), pork and fish slices, prawns and a minced pork omelette redolent with ginger (Chinese panacea for many things!). And I must not forget the key ingredient: a small bottle of Chinese Shao Tsing rice wine mixed with their home brew is placed on the table for you to help yourself. Although 11.30 a.m. was a tad too early to be imbibing, I nevertheless, in the name of research (sic) put in a splash and found it enhanced the taste of the soup to greater heights. RM5 per bowl with choice of noodles. Another outlet in Bercham run by the son also serves the same dish.

Kanthan Secrets

We then headed back towards Chemor turning right at the traffic lights when we hit the main road of Jalan Kuala Kangsar till we came to yet another Chinese arch right beside the Kanthan Baru Police Station when we turned right, then left and at the corner of Kanthan Baru 14, we came to Restoran Chong Chew.

We came here for their Hakka Yeong Liu, and as it was a Saturday, their Lui Char (available only on weekends), their Tsai Kwei and their Chee Cheong Fun with pig skin and/or wild boar curry. Their Yeong Liu were very generous sized pieces of tofu, brinjals, bitter melon stuffed with a fish and pork paste and fried. Worthy of particular mention is their stuffed tofu, big chunks of a very tasty tofu stuffed with a paste that had a lingering aftertaste of coriander. No sauce was needed for their Yeong Liu as every morsel was well seasoned. RM1.30 per piece for the large tofu and RM1 for all others.

Weekend Lui Char

Next came the Lui Char, served only on weekends because of the very complicated preparation involved: rice topped with a mixture of chopped greens, peanuts, choi po (preserved radish) long beans, and served with a bowl of thick hot green ‘tea’ which is a blend of basil, mint, sesame seeds, sweet potato leaves, dried shrimps and other secret ingredients known only to the Hakka Hor Por chefs who make this specialty – RM3.20; large RM4.00. Proprietor Chong Kee Kew swears that all the ingredients are completely natural and no MSG is used.

Disappearing Tsai Kwei

There were so many other temptations here that we ordered one of each to taste. The Tsai Kwei, glutinous-rice steamed dumpling, another of their specialties, comes in pink, stuffed with a choice of ham choi (preserved Chinese cabbage), sengkuang (yam bean, a kind of turnip), peanuts, (slightly sweet), garlic scallions and kow choi (chives) were all tasty, my favourites being the yam bean, preserved Chinese cabbage and the chives. Unlike other places where I’ve tried this fast disappearing delicacy, these were not dripping in oil and felt a lot healthier – RM0.70 each.

Next to come was the Chee Cheong Fun which came served with a choice of curried pig skin with long bean, RM2.60; their mushroom sauce, RM2.10; or the Wild Boar curry, RM3.80. Their homemade Lo Mai Kai (steamed glutinous rice with mushrooms and pork and chicken) is well worth tasting – RM2.40.

By this time, although we only ordered one portion of everything and shared amongst six people, we were stuffed to the gills and had to give up on our plans to graze a bit further so we abandoned plans for a third location which will be covered in the next issue.

Kedai Makanan Chee Kong
(N 04 43.560 E 101 08.653)
201 Kampung Tersusun, Tanah Hitam
Tel: 016-5212649 (Mother, Kwai Lan) 6.00 a.m.-12.30 p.m.
Bercham Outlet: 89, Bercham Itaman Satu (From Tesco Express past the police station on right); Tel: 010-2205121 (Son, Kevin) 7.00 a.m.-1.30 p.m.

Restoran Chong Chew
(N 04 44.538 E 101 07.173)
282 Kanthan Baru, 31200 Chemor
Tel: 05-2017616  8.00 a.m.-6.00 p.m.
(most items are gone by 2.30 p.m.)

Education Loan

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The National Higher Education Foundation has disbursed loans to 3,314 students amounting to RM5 million in Perak for pursuing higher education at the various institutes of higher learning in the country this year.

A total of 152 students from Manjung District received their loan cheques from the Minister of Transport and MP for Lumut, Dato’ Seri Kong Cho Ha. The money, about RM230,000 in total, was handed over to the successful applicants at a function held in Sitiawan recently.

The Minister told the recipients to value the assistance given by the government and to ensure that they complete their education with excellence. He reminded them not to shirk their responsibility of repaying the loan once they are employed and are in a position to do so. The money collected will be given out once more to other needy students.

SN

Eye Chat: Eye Stroke

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Dr Lee Mun Wai

Eye Chat with Perak’s Only Fellowship-Trained Retinal Surgeon, Dr. Lee Mun Wai

What you should know about “Eye Stroke”

Most people are familiar with the term “stroke” which refers to a blockage of blood vessel(s) in the brain resulting in partial paralysis, slurred speech and even death in the most severe cases. Not many people however, are aware that the eye itself can also have a “stroke”. The eye is like a camera; light is focused by the cornea and lens onto the “film” of the eye – the retina. The retina is responsible for converting light energy into electrical impulses which are transmitted to the brain and interpreted as images. That is how we “see”!

Like any other tissue in the body, the retina is dependent on nutrients and oxygen from a series of blood vessels comprising of arteries and veins. When blockages (occlusions) occur in these blood vessels, the result is a “stroke of the eye”.

Symptoms of Eye Stroke

People with eye stroke usually have little warning when it occurs. They could go to sleep with normal vision and wake up with loss of vision in one eye. There is no pain at all and some people notice a dark area or shadow which affects the upper or lower half of their vision.

Types of Eye Stroke

Blockages can occur in either the arteries or veins of the retina. The extent of visual loss depends on whether it is the central or branch artery (or vein) which gets blocked. Artery occlusions are usually caused by a clot or plaque (embolus) which breaks free from the major artery in the neck (carotid) or the valves or chambers in the heart. The embolus may be very small and not cause any significant interruption of blood flow in the larger arteries but when they reach the retina where the vessels are so fine, that’s where the occlusion occurs.

Vein occlusions are caused by a localized clot (thrombus) which forms as a result of hardening of the artery adjacent to the vein. The arteries and veins of the retina are crossing over one another and it is at these crossings where vein occlusions can occur.

Treatment

The occurrence of an “eye stroke” is often an indication of more widespread vascular disease in the body. The major risk factors are age, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and heart disease. A referral to the cardiologist to look for abnormalities in the heart as well as narrowing of the carotid arteries is often necessary. In vein occlusions however, raised pressure in the eye (glaucoma) can also be a risk factor. In artery occlusions, treatment in the acute stage may involve lowering the eye pressure with medication or sometimes by releasing fluid from inside the eye and ocular massage. This has limited success but may help to dislodge the clot and allow normal blood flow again.

In vein occlusions, depending on the amount of bleeding and swelling in the central retina (macula), laser treatment can be done. More commonly now, an injection of a medication which is an anti-VEGF, is given directly into the eye. VEGF is a growth factor which is found in abundance in a vein occlusion and is responsible for causing the retinal swelling and bleeding.

Prognosis

Eye stroke is a potentially devastating eye disease and is often related to other vascular problems in the body. It is therefore, very important that if you have any sudden vision loss, you should visit your ophthalmologist immediately. It is also vital that if you have any risk factors for eye stroke such as hypertension, diabetes or heart disease, that these conditions are well controlled.

For more information, contact:  Lee Eye Centre Ipoh

Tel: 05-254 0095 or email: enquiry@lec.com.my. Website: www.lec.com.my