The who’s who of Ipoh gathered at the Royal Ipoh Club on September 17 for the book launch of Ipoh, My Home Town, a 276-page coffee table book compiled by Scottish expatriate Commander Ian Anderson who has lived in the city since 1999.
Present for the launch was Tun Dr. Lim Keng Yaik, a former cabinet minister, and Dato’ Mohamad Noor Khalid better known as Lat, cartoonist.
In his address Anderson described the book as “unusual” as it had not 1 but 47 authors, while he was just “the editor and compiler of the book”.
There are 67 stories in all in which the authors describe their growing up years in Ipoh with a wide spectrum of topics of life from the early to mid 20th century.
Dato ‘Lat” contributed a reading from the book about the time when his dad shifted to Sungai Rokam Ipoh and described his experiences as a town boy at the time.
But probably it was Tun Dr. Lim who really brought the launch to life when he described his experience of growing up in Ipoh upon being sent to St Michael’s Institution boarding school at the age of seven from his hometown Tapah.
From the third floor of the school he learnt about the “boisterous mat salleh’s at the Ipoh Club on weekends”; how, feeling rich with 50 cents in his pocket, he could have the best rojak and cendol pulut and watch a game at Anderson Road padang or enjoy a wholesome murtabak at the Railway Goodshed near his school.
He also reminisced on “cycling everywhere around town, eating the best ais kacang at Cowan Street, buying Beano and Dandy comics from small bookshops, afternoon dances at the YMCA,” and repeatedly mentioned the beautiful girls in Ipoh then. Undoubtedly the joy that he had experienced growing up in Ipoh has been etched in his memory permanently.
Dr. Lim was however amazed that it took a foreigner, Ian Anderson, to come out with the book about ‘my home town’ a comment that drew a murmured acknowledgement from the 200-strong audience.
Then again, Anderson has a passion for Ipoh. Many would remember that in 2006 Anderson held an exhibition at Museum Darul Ridzuan entitled, “The Story of Ipoh: From Feet to Flight” which traced the history of transportation from boats and sampans to gharries, automobiles and aeroplanes. That exhibition was reported to have attracted over 5,000 visitors.
With his kind of passion, first an exhibition and now a book, Anderson certainly has earned the right to call Ipoh “My” hometown.
Ipoh, My Home Town is available at MPH (Kinta City), S.S. Mubarak (Old Town), Ariff Store (Canning Garden) and online at: www.ipohworld.org.