Ipoh Perak Malaysia - J.W.W. Birch Memorial Clock Tower

Ipoh’s Virtues in Danger

Ipoh Perak Malaysia - J.W.W. Birch Memorial Clock Tower
Clock Tower where Ipoh’s virtues stand guard

As a small boy in UK I was brought up to try and live by the seven virtues, which my parents always assured me, the world cannot survive without. These are of course: faith, hope, charity, justice, loyalty, patience and fortitude. These seemed marvellous words to me and I could recite them whenever I needed to, but what exactly they meant I was not sure. And anyway the other famous seven, the seven deadly sins, sounded far more interesting to me. However, about 50 years ago I arrived in Ipoh for the first time and it was no surprise to me that the British Colonial Government (as we love to call them) had made sure that our citizens would always have four (known as the cardinal virtues) of the seven to look up to every day – justice, loyalty, patience and fortitude. No doubt they hoped that, like this small boy was supposed to, the people of Ipoh would be outstandingly virtuous in everything they did and not fall into the ways of that other seven!


Ipoh Perak Malaysia - J.W.W. Birch Memorial Clock TowerHowever, it is my duty to report that today, Ipoh’s justice is slipping downwards and is likely to crash to the ground at any moment. Not only that but the city’s fortitude is also showing major cracks and this does not bode well for the future. Surely fortitude cannot be allowed to follow justice down the slippery slope! Having made these observations I am happy to tell you that locally, loyalty and patience are both standing firm for the rakyat, but there is no forecast as to when that may change. So what can be done about this appalling situation in our city? Maybe Datuk Bandar or Menteri Besar himself could step in and put things right but of course that would be a political solution and in this case would not fit the bill. What we need is for a skilled monumental mason to be contracted to view the problem at close quarters and advise how the deterioration in our virtues can be halted and then put right.

Now I fear that some of you will wonder why a mason is preferable to a politician and in this case it is quite clear for the four virtues are statues at the top of the J.W.W. Birch Memorial Clock Tower and if one or more comes crashing down it might just kill one of the council workers currently renovating the surrounding garden. Worse still, it might hit a tourist or even our beloved tourism Exco if she is destined to reopen the gardens and tower.

So what to do? Well it is quite clear that we do need our politicians after all – to promptly demonstrate their virtue by placing an immediate contract on that monumental mason as a matter of extreme urgency. It will be inexcusable if someone dies through administrative inaction. And all of Ipoh’s virtues die with it.

Ian Anderson

5 thoughts on “Ipoh’s Virtues in Danger

  1. Dear Mr Ismail, perhaps some heritage concerned individuals and organisations should talk to the council and jointly identify the buildings to be gazetted as heritage buildings.

  2. Heritage is word interpreted quite differently to the rest of the world when it comes to the Mayor or general civil service in Ipoh, even the nation for that matter.

    With my advancing age, I see the virtues held fast by the old guard are being buried along with them. The current crop of administrators who are empowered to improve the quality of life have limited intelligence amd imagination beyond food courts, public toilets, concrete and glass.

    With their study tours over the years, it seems to me that not much has really been gained and implemented. A typical food court looks, smells and attracts as many flies as customers. What’s new ?

    It stands to reason that appreciation for the fast dimishing heritage buidlings and environment will only grow as their numbers decrease and are mutilated beyond repair.

    Unfortunately, this is the reality of it all.

    By the way, it was wonderful to see old pre-war buildings in Milan decked out in their glory and cherished by the local populace………. sigh, that’s Milan……………so continue, continue to bleed, Ipoh, my hometown at the hands of the new “intelligent” breed of leaders !!!!

  3. Mr.Ismail, something is not right in Perak. Are we really preparing for the UNESCO heritage listing or its just a silly joke? 2012 Visit Perak Year, here we are demolishing a heritage structure. However, I was told that the owner JAIP wants to turn it as a car park. When I checked it with the DBI, I was informed that the building was not gazetted! Jolly good fellows, they can build a car park, food court and further litter the whole vicinity. U are RIGHT Commander Ian, fortitude is at risk! The strength with heritage structures is weaker day by day. Now U see, now U don’t.

  4. Mayor, Datuk Haji Roshidi Hashim. What is really going on with the Bercham dumpsite. Recently there were a couple of press releases by some OFFICIALS who seem to care and turun padang that finally operations at Bercham would cease latest March 2012,or is it just NATO (no action talk only).

    Let me tell you that it’s hell here , all of us including kids have to inhale poison gasses throughout the night.Every night around 9.30pm till 7am hell breaks loose and the air reeks of burning rubbish and then fires are put off as though nothing ever happened.

    I would like to personally invite you and family to stay for a week at my place and maybe ,just maybe you would get our drift. Do something please.

  5. Mr Editor,

    Today i’m very mad n sad when i saw the heritage building beside the Kompleks Islam was demolished. Pls cud u shed a light weather the building is no longer safe?…last month i asked one of the security near by about the building and she told me they plan to build a food court!

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