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


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.


5 thoughts on “Ipoh, My Home Town: Reminiscences of Growing Up in Ipoh, in Pictures and Words

  1. Ian,
    ‘Ipoh, My Home Town’ embodies the endearing growing-up experiences of many individuals. It is through your painstaking effort that these wonderful memories can be shared among all of us who still fondly call Ipoh our home town, no matter where we reside in currently.

    For those who are in their golden years, the book is a vehicle that transports them on a sentimental journey back to the formative years that were pivotal to their life. For the younger generations, this book is a treasure trove that mirrors the lifestyle of their parents and grandparents. These reflections from the past can bridge the gap between different generations and in the process, promotes better understanding among the young and old.

    I have to take my hat off to commend you on attempting this monumental task and without doubt, it is a job well-done. No one can dispute that you have make a positive difference in cementing the bonds among Ipoh folks. I am indeed thankful for the impact you have made to our home town and the outcome has exceeded my expectations.

  2. Dear Ian,

    Congratulations! Your book is wonderful, it has brought many tears to my eyes when remembering my life in Ipoh. I am so proud of being part of it and thank you for your fantastic initiative in making it reality! Ruth

  3. Thank you Sundra for your kind remarks. It was indeed a launch to remember with more than 200 guests in party mood sharing our day. With Tun Lim and Lat sharing their growing up secrets with us all I am sure the roars of laughter could be heard on the Padang.

    That will be a hard act to follow.

  4. I was there at the Royal Ipoh Club to witness the launching of Commander Ian Anderson’s compiled and edited book ” Ipoh, My Home Town”. He had toiled for the past 21 months, and today (17th Sept) it had bear its fruits. The launching event itself was like a get-together party, where people of all walks of life waited eagerly for the final countdown.

    Ian in his speech he noted how the idea derived to write a book about Ipoh. While on holidays in Turkey, his wife is the one who suggested the idea of a work about Ipoh.

    This book is a collection of personal stories of people experiencing growing up in Ipoh, inspired by memories of the past.

    Ian, is a special kind of man, like what Tun Lim Keng Yaik told in his launching speech ” we needed a Scottish to write our history”. Even tho it embraced most of us, the fact is, ” Ian cared more for Ipoh than most of us”. To me, I consider like ” Tan Sri Mubin Sheppard of Ipoh”. Ipohites are all grateful to u Ian.

    Bravo! more than 100 copies sold during the launch, terima kasih Commander!

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