Monthly Archives: November 2011

Is Ipoh Too Big To Be Managed Efficiently?

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By Jerry Francis

When I read about Kuching South City being awarded a United Nations-backed “Tourist City Award” recently, I turned green with envy. Why can’t our city, which was once known as the cleanest in the country, attain such international or national recognition?

Kuching was the joint winner in the category – alongside Xining, in Qinghai, China – at the second World Cities Scientific Development Forum held in Chengdu, China. It is also the only Malaysian city accredited the United Nations’ Healthy City status.

The global competition was organised by the United Nations, World Cities Scientific Development Alliance and the Sister Cities International. More than 200 city officials from 30 countries took part.

It has always been my fervent desire to see Ipoh continue to be maintained and developed as a clean and beautiful city. Ipoh is my “adopted” hometown since I moved here with my family in 1973.

As a journalist, I have seen it grow from a municipal council under the Seenivasagam brothers into a city council. It was then a people-oriented municipal council with two councillors on duty daily to deal with the problems of ratepayers. It also provided efficient health and recreational facilities.

However, after it was upgraded to city status 23 years ago, it began to decline and lost even its image as the cleanest city in the country. Recreational parks (there were then the Taman D.R. Seenivasagam, People’s Park and Children’s Park in the city centre) had also lost their attractions, while thousands of illegal rubbish dumps and clogged drains are all over the city.

This is the reason, not because of being anti-establishment as I have been accused by some, that I have been highlighting the failures of the city council in the last two decades.

Perhaps we should consider dividing Ipoh into north and south, as in the case of Kuching, so that the council could provide efficient service and better amenities to the residents and restore its image and as well as giving Kuching South City a “run for the money”.

Ipoh has grown too big since it was declared a city in May, 1988. It covers 642.57 sq. km. north of the Kinta District, extending from the edge of Bukit Kinta Forest Reserve in the East to the Kledang Saiong Forest Reserve in the West, and from Khantan in the North to Changkat in the South with a population of well above 711,000.

As a result, the Ipoh City Council has to provide services and amenities as well to various towns, such as Tanjung Rambutan, Chemor, Meru, Lahat, Menglembu, Bercham, Gunung Rapat, Manjoi, Pengkalan and a number of villages and new growth areas.

No wonder the Mayor, Dato’ Roshidi Hashim, had conceded that the city’s jurisdiction has grown in size to such an extent that the city could not be expected to be as clean as during the era of the Seenivasagam brothers.

Recently, he also admitted that the drains in the city were poorly maintained as there were insufficient workers. He proposed to out-source the service.

However, since Ipoh attained city status, its manpower has also increased from just a few hundred to about 2,700 employees with much of its maintenance works being carried out by contractors. And yet the city council can still not cope with the workload. It appears the city council has been extended “a bridge too far” to have the capacity to provide efficient services and better amenities to its ratepayers.

Its area is now bigger than Kuala Lumpur, which covers 243 sq. km and has a population of 1.4 million. And even bigger than Kuching South City, Kuching North City and Kuching District put together, which have a combined area of 431.01 sq. km. and a population of 980,000.

With “Visit Perak Year” just around the corner, the city council needs to deal with all its problems fast. It has to carry out beautification projects, clean up the illegal rubbish dumps and clogged and stinking drains.

Otherwise, the city may even lose its top selling point, the delicious hawker food, as tourists will shy away from eating at many of the restaurants and food-courts, which may be considered by them as, dirty.

It is important that the influx of tourists expected during the “Visit Perak Year” have a good impression and a pleasant memory of the city after their visits if we are to consider our tourism efforts to be a success.

Pre-schoolers _Graduate_

Pre-schoolers ‘Graduate’

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Some 100 pre-schoolers received their graduation certificates from Encik Aznan Hj Alias, Deputy Director of Education Perak during a concert held in their honour. They were students of Tadika Kinderjoy, Ipoh who had put up a superb show of on-stage talent for the benefit of parents and guests, numbering over a thousand. The end-of-term show was held at the SMJK Perempuan Perak Ipoh hall recently. Aznan, in his opening remarks, stated that children who were exposed to high-quality preschool teaching tend to be more successful academically than those who were not. Ms Looi, the principal, echoed similar sentiments and stressed on her kindergarten’s commitments to provide a solid grounding for children while in their formative years. This is Kinderjoy’s 15th consecutive graduation ceremony.

Ed

Colorectal Cancer – A Preventable Condition Often Diagnosed Late

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Community Outreach Education

By Dr M.S. Thas

By Dr M.S. Thas, PMP  FRCS(EDIN), AM(MAL)
Consultant General  Surgeon & Colorectal Surgeon,
Pantai Hospital Ipoh.

Q:  What is colorectal cancer?

A:   Cancer in general is a group of cells growing together in an uncontrolled manner, invading and damaging healthy tissue. Over time these malignant or cancerous cells will spread to other areas in the body.

Colorectal cancer can occur anywhere in the large intestine and the rectum. It is the commonest cancer in males and the third commonest cancer in females after breast cancer and cervix cancer. About 1 million cases are reported annually worldwide. Almost all colorectal cancers begin as polyps. These are benign or non-cancerous growths which if left untreated can evolve into a cancer.

Q: What are the risk factors for developing colorectal cancer?

A: No one knows for certain what causes colorectal cancer. However, we do know some of the risk factors that increase a person’s risk of developing this condition. Amongst them are:

  • Age above 40 years.
  • Family history of colorectal cancer.
  • Certain genetic conditions.
  • Personal history of colorectal polyps.
  • Certain chronic illnesses like Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative colitis.
  • Diet rich in red meat and animal fat, and low in vegetables, fruits and fibre.
  • Obesity and lack of physical exercise.
  • Alcohol and smoking.

Q:  What are the symptoms of colorectal cancer?

A:  Symptoms of colorectal cancers just like most cancers are often vague in the early stages. However, one should be wary of the following symptoms:

Change in bowel habits such as increasing constipation, frequent stools, alternating constipation and diarrhoea and incomplete sense of emptying bowels.

  • Passage of blood or blood streaked stools.
  • Stools that are narrower in calibre than usual.
  • Vague abdominal discomfort or a ‘rumbling tummy’.
  • Unexplained weight loss and loss of appetite.
  • Unusual tiredness and lethargy.
  • Swelling in the abdomen.

Q:  How can colorectal cancers be detected early?

A: Awareness is the key to early diagnosis. Various methods of diagnosing the disease include:

  • Detailed history and examination by a doctor.
  • Testing of stools for evidence of bleeding.

Colonoscopy – in this examination a long, slender and flexible tube is used to inspect the entire large bowel. This procedure is quick, painless, accurate and safe. Polyps and early cancers can be removed during this examination and any doubtful lesion biopsied.

Q: What are the treatment options for colorectal cancers?

A:  There a few methods of treating this condition.

Surgery is the gold standard in the management of colorectal cancer. The nature of the surgery is dependant on the location and stage of the disease. A portion of the large bowel is often removed by the surgeon and the bowel reconnected. At times a stoma (colostomy or ileostomy) is created.

Radiotherapy:  In this, high-energy radiation similar to x-rays is used to destroy cancer cells at the site of cancer. It is often used after a surgical resection.  Modern day radiotherapy is effective and fairly safe.

Chemotherapy:  In this, cytotoxic drugs (drugs designed to destroy cancer cells) are used to destroy cancer cells in circulation throughout the body. Side effects occur because healthy cells are sacrificed along the way. It is often used as a supplementary therapy. However, at times chemotherapy alone is used depending on the situation.

Q: How can one reduce the risk of developing colorectal cancer?

A: Certain healthy life styles may help reduce the risk of developing this dreadful disease.

  • Avoid food rich in red meat and fat, particularly saturated fat.
  • Consume plenty of fresh fruits and vegetable and food rich in fibre.
  • Food such as broccoli, cabbage and sprouts are encouraged.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Do not smoke.
  • Reduce consumption of alcohol.
  • Consult a doctor early if you have any bowel symptoms.
  • Get yourself screened regularly if you are in the high risk group.

Q:  What is your message to the community?

A:  Unlike many other cancers colorectal cancer is largely a preventable disease.

  • Screening tests allow treatment of precancerous conditions such as polyps, thereby reducing the occurrence of cancer. Early detection is also the key to successful outcomes.
  • Despite many awareness campaigns colorectal cancers are often detected in their advanced stages and due to this the death rate from colorectal cancer is almost 50% within the first five years of treatment.
  • Another major pitfall, especially in this part of the world, is people often attribute all rectal bleeding to haemorrhoids (piles) without proper medical consultation or investigations. This should be avoided.
  • Self diagnosis and therapy can be dangerous and at times disastrous.

 As a community outreach, our General Surgery & Colorectal Surgery Clinic will be having free consultation  for colorectal & ano-rectal problems on December 10 and January 14, 2012, at 8.30 a.m.-1.00 p.m. Call: 05-5405668 for an appointment.

 

Penyampaian cek untuk Pusat Dalam Komuniti Perak Tengah (PDKPT) daripada Mohd Zaim (kiri) kepada Abd Rahman.

Touching Base with the Handicapped

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The Perak Tengah Community Rehabilitation Centre in Parit was a hive of activity recently when staff of Yayasan Bina Upaya Darul Ridzuan (YBU) and members of the Malaysian Association of Youth Clubs (MAYC) Parit Chapter dropped by unexpectedly. Their appearance was for a good reason – to conduct a joint gotong-royong for the well-being of the Centre.

The cleaning-up programme was led by the Adun for Belanja, Dato’ Mohd Zain Abu Hasan. Present during the 2-hour cleaning operation were Khairul Shahril Mohamed, MAYC Parit Chairman and Parit Umno Youth chief, Abdul Rahman Syed, the Centre’s head and YBU’s Community Unit chief, Isfarina Mohd Bali.

The rehab centre caters to the physically handicapped within the District of Perak Tengah. “We can’t abandon these unfortunate souls as they are part and parcel of society,” said Dato’ Mohd Zain when launching the programme. “The fact that well-wishers have donated in kind without a thought for personal gain is indicative that society, on the whole, is supportive,” he said. Mohd Zain appealed to corporations to continue helping the poor and the marginalised in line with the state government’s objective to eradicate poverty.

Responding to Mohd Zain’s call for help YBU made an on-the-spot donation of RM1,000 to the Centre. The money was for the purchase of basic necessities.

RM

Tin Mining Living Museum

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I am inclined to agree with Jerry Francis that an allocation of RM5 million of tax payer’s money to promote Kellie’s Castle is rather misplaced (IE issue 131). Ipoh came into existence in the 1820s and gained great prominence because of its tin resources. The money allocated may be better used to recreate a ‘living museum’ of Ipoh as a tin mining town i.e. a tin mining town setting with tin dredges, Kopitiam, how tin is processed, activities to encourage visitors to participate, for example, dulang washing, etc. (too many to list)…more importantly effectively promoting it.

This brings to mind another place, similar yet different, which I have fond memories of. Sovereign Hill in Ballarat, Victoria, Australia was a gold mining town in the old days. When the gold ran out, the Ballarat Town Councils, with the help of the Victorian government, decided to re-enact the nostalgia of the gold mining town with many interesting exhibits, costumed folks, and visitors’ participation. Today, it attracts 450,000 paid visitors each year and employs 350 with 250 volunteers who help bring the Outdoor museum to life. Do visit their website to get the creative juices flowing – www.sovereignhill.com.au.

We are not expecting the Perak Tourism Board (PTB) to re-create a live museum of a tin mining town with tin dredge in large scale. It may be started on a smaller scale and gradually grow bigger. I would personally love to visit and re-live those days in the early 1900s when tin mining was at its peak. I am sure the younger generation, who can only read about the nostalgic days when Ipoh was a booming tin town, will thoroughly enjoy the experience of such a place.

This will be timely for VPY 2012. No doubt historians specialising in tin mining and its era will be of great assistance to the PTB. There will be challenges but I have absolute confidence in PTB to effectively put in place an action plan with KPIs to successfully promote Perak, especially Ipoh (I am biased, being an Ipoh gal myself), in 2012.

Kim Ching Low

In Aid of Thalassaemia

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Raja Nur Mastura (right), 14, and her brother, Raja Aznan Shah, 12

Pertubuhan Thalassaemia Perak (PTP) organised a charity sale at SJK(C) Yuk Choy recently, as part of its fund-raising campaign. Funds are in short supply to aid Thalassaemia patients, especially children, to meet their medical expenses.

Thalassaemia is a disease of blood cells and can only be diagnosed by a blood test. It is attributed to either one of the parents who is a carrier.

President of Baiduri, Datin Seri DiRaja Saripah Zulkifli who graced the event, praised the society for its efforts in aiding Thalassaemia patients, especially the young and the poor. Baiduri contributed RM2,000 towards the fund.

Society President, Chin Yoon Fook, expressed his gratitude to sponsors and donors for their generosity. He said a large amount of money is needed to help the patients, as they have to undergo blood transfusions once every three weeks.

Raja Nur Mastura, 14, and her brother, Raja Aznan Shah, 12, have been receiving aid since they were 9 months old. Both were full of praises for PTP. Besides assisting them in medication and treatments, PTP also took them out on vacation trips and other activities.

SH

More Upgrades for Little India?

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I refer to the report ‘Deepavali bash strengthens ties’ (NST, Nov 5, 2011). It is stated that MB Dato’ Seri DiRaja Dr Zambry Abd Kadir presented MIC Ipoh Barat branch RM100,000 to upgrade Dataran Little India. Only about a couple of years ago MBI spent RM1.8M to upgrade Little India, including the Dataran. The traders are complaining that the acute parking problem and frequent flooding in the area have yet to be solved. This is tax payers’ money and MIC Ipoh Barat has no right to unilaterally carry out any so-called upgrading. They must call for a public hearing and gather suggestions from the people. They should not repeat making stupid mistakes like building the public toilet in the centre of Little India. They must be transparent and inform the people beforehand what they are going to do. The money must be spent wisely to the satisfaction of all people.

 

A. Jeyaraj

Rape of the Polo Ground

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I am a resident of Ipoh who enjoys a bit of nature by way of some brisk walking at the Polo Ground and regular climbs up Kledang Hill where we can still be blessed with some fresh air and greenery and a suitable place for sweating it out after a long day of work and fatigue.

But sadly this faint bit of luxury and leisure seems to be fast diminishing, which brings me to write this letter to our dear Ipoh Mayor, c/o Ipoh Echo.

I strongly believe it is high time our Mayor and his council come to one conclusive decision as to whether he wishes to keep the Polo Ground as a place for exercise and relaxation for Ipoh folks or as the latest hawking centre for Visit Perak Year 2012? I dearly wish that the Mayor and his councillors can take some time off their busy meeting schedules to observe the goings-on at the Polo Ground at different hours of the day.

I have it up to my neck by now and I just have to voice some of my observations and indeed grievances. The hawking activities at the Polo Ground have spread like a disease uncontrolled. Firstly, there is the obvious hawking by the roadside, van after van, with tables, chairs and stools, even huge shade umbrellas, all springing up like the wild lalang weeds after the monsoon rains, depriving genuine exercise-lovers of precious parking space, attracting drive-by customers who would double-park to eat or even to ‘tapau’ some. Then, there is also hawking in the Polo Ground itself, with ice-cream hawking, balloon hawking, kite hawking, soap-bubble tube hawking, toy hawking, kuih-muih hawking, kacang-putih hawking, syrup drink hawking, T-shirt hawking, etc. etc. As if that is not enough, even at the public toilet, the attendant is hawking some kind of medicated oil or stuff like that in bottles of different sizes and shapes…OMG!

And so, along with all these hawking activities, the whole park compound is littered with plastic containers and spoons, polystyrene plates & bowls, soft drink cans, plastic bags of all shapes and sizes and of course unfinished food of all types and lots of used tissue paper. Some are left on the park benches, some on the children’s playground, some are left hanging from the poor, under-nourished  trees, some are simply being kicked around till they eventually become a part of the park landscape. The ones who have a bit of conscience throw the polystyrene into the dustbins which are forever overflowing. And huge black garbage bags by the tens of them form a permanent temporary feature of the Polo Ground, being nicely and strategically placed every 10 to 15 feet apart. And not forgetting the aroma of exercise sweat mixed with rancid oil and spoiled food permeating around the so-called green lungs of Ipoh. How about including this as a special on The Sights and Sounds of Ipoh for Visit Perak Year 2012?

And I have yet to mention the unnecessary traffic congestion arising as a result of all these hawking activities!

And talking about vehicle traffic, why are so many motorbikes allowed into the Polo Ground compound? These young bikers ride into the compound along the walking paths meant for people who walk and they not only pose a threat to the latter’s safety but they are indeed also another source of air pollution! On the evening of October 24, my eyes nearly popped out when I witnessed a white Kancil, full of passengers, driving into the Polo Ground along the walking path all the way to the toilet area! What exactly is happening to the civic-mindedness of Ipohites? Something is indeed very amiss with our whole education system!

While this rape of the Polo Ground is being played out, I sincerely hope that the other green lung of Ipoh, Kledang Hill in Menglembu, will be spared a similar fate. We, as true sons and daughters of Ipoh, should do our best to prevent the hawking disease from blatantly spreading anywhere else. After all, we all know that there is a time and place for everything in life, including exercising and eating.

I rest my case for now. I pray that our Mayor and his team of councillors can and will find the time to look into this matter and make a firm decision as regards the future fate of the Polo Ground. By taking up this case, hopefully he can arrest the disease and prevent it from further metastasis.

Tan Hwai Chin

Innovation Day 2011

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The three-day Hari Inovasi Majlis Bandaraya Ipoh 2011 (Ipoh City Council Innovation Day 2011) held recently ended with the presentation of prizes to winners of a competition on innovative ideas. The competition was divided into nine categories. Winners received cash prizes and certificates of appreciation from Mayor Dato’ Roshidi Hashim.

The primary objective of the innovation day, themed “Inovasi Merealisasikan Transformasi” (Transformation through Innovation), was to obtain innovative ideas from the public and council staff. These ideas, in turn, could help the council serve the community better.

This is the first time that MBI has held such a day which saw keen participation from both Ipohites and council staff. The Council plans to hold the event annually, considering the interest it has generated.

EL

Andaman Group Fund Raising Concert

Andaman Group Fund Raising Concert

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The Jazzy Sounds of Teresa Teng concert, sponsored by Andaman Property Management Sdn Bhd (Andaman Group), played to a packed audience of more than 400 at the Bentley Auditorium in Kuala Lumpur earlier this month. The charity concert was part of Andaman Group’s corporate social responsibility objectives to give back to the community in the area of education, and this it did by raising RM100,000 for SMJK (C) Sam Tet and Yayasan Pendidikan John Moh.

Andaman Group Executive Chairman Dato’ Patrick Teoh, a Perakean and proud alumnus of SMJK Sam Tet Ipoh himself, said that sponsoring The Jazzy Sounds of Teresa Teng concert presented a good opportunity to contribute not only to his alma mater, Sam Tet School, but also to help promote the work of “some seriously talented young Malaysians”, referring to Leslie Loh, producer of the concert, as well as the performers Winnie Ho (soloist), Tay Cher Siang (pianist) and Roger Wang (jazz guitarist).

The concert in KL raised awareness for Sam Tet School beyond Perak, and paid tribute to Rev Brother John Moh, the dedicated and longest serving principal of the school (1959 to 1992).

Ipoh folks will have a chance to catch a second concert, also sponsored by Andaman Group, when it comes to town on November 25.  [Tickets are available at Friendly Music Ipoh, or contact Miss Man at 012-6288819.]

Lydia Chew...In The Mood for Love

According to concert producer Leslie Loh, this second concert, titled ‘In the Mood for Love’, will feature the same exciting new genre of Chinese jazz music as the concert before it.

“The two concerts appeal to both Chinese and English speaking audiences of all ages as the songs are perennial favourites performed in a contemporary jazzy style.

“Audiences can look forward to an entertaining repertoire by lead vocalists Lydia Chew and Z Yan, two talented local ‘discoveries’ who will thrill audiences with their smooth sultry vocals,” said Leslie.

All funds gathered from the two concerts will be shared equally between the two beneficiaries, Sam Tet and Yayasan John Moh, and will be used for school maintenance, upgrading of facilities, school activities and to provide aid to needy students. The all-boys SMJK (C) Sam Tet, a household name in Perak, was built in 1934. Yayasan Pendidikan John Moh, a private foundation, was formed by the alumni of Sam Tet School in 1995 to recognize and remember Brother John Moh’s tireless efforts and lifelong dedication to the school.

At press time, there were very limited seats left for the ‘In the Mood for Love’ concert, so hurry up and get your tickets today. Call Leslie Loh at 012-2083790 or 012-6288819 for tickets and further information.