Monthly Archives: June 2012

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Majestic Theatre Goes Under The Hammer


The Majestic Theatre partly demolished

The Majestic Theatre located on Jalan Chamberlain is being demolished.

The interior of the theatre

Ipoh Echo was alerted of the demolition work on Monday by a caller who complained that the notice board notifying of work being done was absent adding that the safety requirements, boarded up barriers and such was not adhered to.

Notice board and barriers to cordon off the work area are missing

A subsequent visit to the site confirmed the callers concerns. At the same time MBI Officers from the Buildings Department had coincidentally arrived onsite and called on the contractor to immediately stop work explaining that a ‘license for demolition work had not been applied for”.

MBI officers inspecting the site and informing the contractor to stop work.

A call to Encik Syahril Muhammad, MBI’s Assistant Director of the Buildings Department, confirmed that that the license to demolish had not been issued.

Syahril explained that the full details of the demolition work had to be furnished before approval was granted while commencing demolition work without first obtaining approval will be subject to a fine.

The Majestic Theatre was built in the late 1940’s and screened Chinese movies until the 80’s after which it screened multi lingual movies. It closed down in 1998.

The design of the theatre is described as ‘Art Déco’ and is one of several art déco theatres dotted around Ipoh Town all of which were designed by Danish architect BM Iversen. The other art déco theatres are the Lido, Cathay and Rex theatres.

According to Mohd Taib, the Chairman of the Perak Heritage Society the Majestic Theatre is not a heritage building but has been ‘identified’  as one of 140 buildings by MBI listed in the 2005 Heritage Act to be gazetted for preservation.



God’s Little Acre 2012


God’s Little Acre, Batu Gajah

The annual remembrance ceremony at the Anglican cemetery, Batu Gajah (better known as God’s Little Acre) is to honour those who gave up their lives during the Malayan Emergency (1948-1960).

Veterans remembering their comrades

It is a solemn occasion where veterans from among planters, miners, the Police Force and Commonwealth troops pay tribute to their fallen comrades.

(L) 2nd from left,Tan Sri Yuen Yuet Ling with fellow Police personnel (R) MPOA Members

This years’ ceremony saw over 37 wreaths being laid by representatives on the cenotaph.

(L) Penang Veterans with Dato Carl Bek-Nielsen (R) L-R/ Martin Bek-Nielsen and far right H.E. Simon Featherstone

British High Commissioner, His Excellency Simon Featherstone was one of those present at the service.

Also present were former CPO of Perak, Tan Sri Yuen Yuet Ling and former OCPD of Batu Gajah Dato R. Thambipillay. Both were instrumental in organising the first remembrance ceremony at the site in 1980.

The Bek-Nielsen brothers, Dato Carl and Martin were notably present and represented the planters when laying the wreath.

The event at Batu Gajah was organised by the Malaysian Palm Oil Association..

The Malayan Emergency was triggered when Communist guerillas shot dead three European rubber planters at Sungai Siput on June 16, 1948.

Bagpipers greet HE Mr Lekah Nath Bhattarai

Another memorial service was held on the same day at the Gurkha Cemetery located within Camp Syed Putra, Tambun Road. The event here was organised by the Wira Association of Malaysia with the assistance of the 2nd Battalion Royal Ranger Regiment.

‘The Last Post’

His Excellency Mr Lekah Nath Bhattarai, the Acting Ambassador of Nepal was present at the ceremony as were the representatives of the British and Australian High Commissions.

(l-r) 2nd from left, H. E. Lekah Nath Bhattarai. At extreme right is Dato R Thambipillay

Upon arrival the guests were greeted by bagpipers from the 2nd Royal Ranger Regiment and the Royal Gurkha Rifles from Brunei.

The day’s ceremonies ended with a sumptuous luncheon at the Royal Ipoh Club.



Ipoh’s Hit Musical to Reflect an Integrated Malaysian Society


Shiny Black Gold - malaysian musicalThe successful locally produced musical play, “Shiny Black Gold”, is to be turned into a series to reflect the integral Malaysian society of the pre-Merdeka era.

Perak Society of Performance Arts’ (PSPA) president, Datin Rosalina Ooi-Thong, told Ipoh Echo that there were many stories in the play that can be expanded upon and highlighted into a series.

“The production as a series will enable the stories of the sacrifices and efforts by individual sectors of our community to be exported to other cities,” she added. “If there is sufficient support, we may even turn it into a feature movie.”

“Shiny Black Gold”, which was staged last year, gives an insight into the lives and hardships of people, particularly Chinese immigrants, during the glorious days of the tin mining era in Perak. The script was written by Datin Rosalina and music by Christopher Tse.

Although it was PSPA’s first performance, using a completely original script and music performed by local talents, it was a big success. “We feel we are now brave enough to do our own production using our own scripts and our own local talents,” stressed Datin Rosalina.

“As it is, the play is about our own community, which fascinated the audience, especially the scions of the original tin miners, who were able to experience a bit of history visually, of the glorious tin mining days of their forefathers in the Kinta Valley. The show was further supported by original artifacts collected by Mr Ian Anderson”.

“Though we did not claim it to be an historical project, the life and hardships of those who lived then, as presented by the performance, became real when told in story form.”

Some of those in the audience were even in tears as the realities of the hardships endured by some of their ancestors were portrayed.

Datin Rosalina said there was a request for “Shiny Black Gold” to be produced in Chinese. “I would love to do so if I am certain the essence of the story can be retained, especially the earnest desires of our forefathers to gain “A Better Tomorrow” she explained.

Asked why she was planning a series to reflect an integrated society, Datin Rosalina said that the play was not all about the Chinese community. It is about how the Chinese were part of the larger community too.

“We need to reflect it. It is important to me because when I grew up I did not see skin colour. My friends were friends, classmates, Malays, Indians, Chinese or others. Unfortunately, I think this is not happening anymore,” she stressed.

“We need to integrate. And I would very much like to convey to the young people how wonderful it was then… and it can still be that way today! Our childhood days were shared with all races. We sat together, we played together and we ate together. And so we grew up without seeing skin colours. We respected each other whether I go to the chapel to pray or my fellow class mates go ‘sembahyang’ or ‘puasa’.” Like the phrase in Shiny Black Gold…We were different yet the same!

She hopes the play will develop into a feature film. “It will be marvelous if one day the film can be screened on-flight so that tourists can have some knowledge of Malaysia even before they land,” she said.

On the development of the performing arts in the city, she said PSPA has come a long way since it was formed 15 years ago. Last year, PSPA organised its first festival of performing arts. Although PSPA aims to organise various genres of performing arts events like musical plays and concerts, PSPA’s main aim is to provide opportunities for young talents to expand and develop.

Although the efforts to promote performing arts in the city are making progress, it is being impaired by the lack of an art centre in the city where the various related organisations could be housed to provide trainings and hold performances. “Maybe it could one day be like the well-known Juliard College of Arts in New York,” said Datin Rosalina.

Currently, there is no suitable venue in the city for performances. Taman Budaya (Cultural Centre) has only about 250 seats. “If we are to bring in a foreign troupe to perform here, even at full capacity we will not be able to meet the expenses. Unless, the tickets are priced at RM500 each,” she said.

There is a need for a suitable auditorium. Even PSPA’s founding president & advisor, the late Dato’ K.K. Lim, who was a true visionary, had initiated many efforts to raise awareness of performing arts in our city and explored the possibilities of a centre for arts to be established in the city.

A fund called “A Home for PSPA” has been launched for this purpose. “We’ve also written to the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports and they had sent their officials to meet us,” said Datin Rosalina. ”If everything goes well, we should be expecting a positive response by next year.” She hopes the state government will start the ‘ball rolling’ by allocating a piece of land for the proposed arts centre. A project paper was sent to the MB and the state exco for Youth and Arts.

Jerry Francis

Cleaning Ipoh – A Joint Responsibility


By James Gough

Ipoh City Council - MBI - Ipoh's cleanliness

Ipoh Garden East

Ipoh Echo has been going on for years about litter throughout Ipoh. Some may still remember our ‘Dirt Vigilante’ column which used to highlight illegal rubbish dump sites ar

ound town. Undoubtedly there has been some improvements but based on the complaints received, apparently, the perception amongst the general public is that not enough is being done. However, instead of rate payers complaining about the rubbish, there must be a paradigm shift in the attitude of the residents in disposing of garbage. It takes two hands to clap and it is high time that the public joined hands with City Council and take responsibility for their part in keeping Ipoh clean.

llegal Dump-Sites and Irresponsible Dumping is the Main Problem

Just recently, Perak MB Dato’ Seri DiRaja Zambry Abdul Kadir, remarked that more should be done to improve cleanliness in Ipoh. He made the remark while on his Ipoh Green City bicycle ride through town on the way to Pengkalan Pegoh. Zambry’s observation was indeed spot on.

Ipoh City Council - MBI - Ipoh's cleanliness

Greentown Business Centre

In housing estates it is common to see piles of uncollected rubbish, some overgrown with grass, which shows how long they must have been lying there. Similarly at commercial shop house areas, whether in town or housing estates, back lanes are littered while the front of the shops have black bags and plastic bags of waste food awaiting collection.

Even the prestigious Greentown Business Centre is not spared with shabby frontage and littered back lanes. A check on who should be responsible for keeping Ipoh clean revealed that it is a joint responsibility by both the authorities as well as the rate payers.

To verify IE’s finding we checked with several of Ipoh’s councillors for Canning, Buntong/Silibin, Bercham and New Town. The councillors all responded that the three times per week garbage collection is very good. The problem experienced by all was the issue of illegal dump sites or what the authorities categorise as ‘sampah haram’.

Illegal Dump Sites

Ipoh City Council - MBI - Ipoh's cleanliness


An illegal dump site is created when ‘someone’ places a plastic bag of rubbish at a junction or anywhere along the road and other passers-by add on to it. The ‘add-ons’ could be anything from general rubbish bags, tree branches to old mattresses and even discarded furniture, a case of anything goes.

The Councillor for Buntong/Silibin, Sabramani Appadurai, lamented the irresponsible attitude of the public testifying that he personally was so satisfied to see an illegal site in his zone cleared in the morning only to find a new batch of furniture placed at the same site in the evening.

A check with MBI’s Community Section in charge of cleanliness advises residents to call their Buntong depot which handles the removal of garbage dumps (sampah longgok) at phone number 05-2555570. Callers have to provide the address and location of the dump site after which a report number will be provided. According to the spokesman at Buntong office, the reported site will be removed within seven days after the report is made.

Ipoh City Council - MBI - Ipoh's cleanliness


Community Affairs

The overall cleanliness of the town is handled by the Council’s City Community Affairs Department. Their scope covers three areas of public cleanliness: sweeping roads (removal of debris and leaf litter and such) garbage collection, which occurs three times per week; and cleaning drains. When interviewed, a spokesman for the department confirmed that all of the three activities have their Standard Operating Procedures.

While garbage collection has been outsourced and is running smoothly, it is the clearing of illegal dump sites, which spring up all over the city, that is a serious problem. Unless a paradigm shift occurs, residents will throw rubbish everywhere. Some even throw their rubbish in front of their neighbour’s house. Furthermore, placing garbage bags outside for scavenging dogs, cats and even cows two days before collection dates is irresponsible.

Ipoh City Council - MBI - Ipoh's cleanliness

Silibin / Lim Garden

Procedures for the clearing of illegal dump sites state that this has to be done twice a month for each zone. With Ipoh’s 22 zones there are not enough lorries to maintain the procedure. Hence residents are encouraged to call MBI’s Buntong Depot to request for garbage removal services.

Commercial Areas

At commercial areas, the back lanes are strewn with litter while at the front of the premises black bags are awaiting collection. Meanwhile at the Greentown Business Centre litter can be seen in broken flower pots while the back lane is consistently littered.

While the responsibility to clean the sidewalks and back lanes inclusive of the illegal dump sites of Ipoh still lie with Ipoh City Council there is a limit as to how much the council can do.

Ipoh City Council - MBI - Ipoh's cleanliness

Greentown Business Centre

When IE asked if more enforcement should be taken, Ipoh Mayor Dato’ Roshidi Hashim responded that “we have already done that but the problem keeps recurring,” citing the case of illegal dump sites.

However, Roshidi added that “we need to train the public to co-operate to keep Ipoh clean”. Interestingly, his statement was earlier echoed by several of the councillors. Which meant that the solution for a clean ipoh was through a joint effort by the public and authorities.

Public Education

The council is already practising public cleaning and enforcement with limited success.  Hence, in order to enhance the level of cleanliness it is timely that the council initiate a public education initiative through an anti-litter campaign and simultaneously implement  stricter enforcement.

Ipoh City Council - MBI - Ipoh's cleanliness

Greentown Business Centre

Creating a clean and litter free environment involves everyone and to achieve such a wide reaching goal involves not just the people and public but the private sector of corporations and institutions.

The message that needs to be conveyed to the public is to keep their surroundings clean and not rely on cleaners to clean up after them but rather participate to keep the environment clean. Offices, schools, industry as well as government departments should all participate in the anti-litter campaign to keep their premises and immediate surroundings clean.

Coffee shop owners associations and hawker associations amongst others, should be made aware of their roles to promote cleanliness. ‘Litter Free’ banners and posters should be displayed prominently to educate Ipohites on how to dispose of their rubbish responsibly.

For a start, the council should immediately start with “Litter-Free Public Events”. The upcoming Ipoh Star Walk 2012 would be a good example. During the event the emcee could continually remind the multitude of participants to dispose of their litter responsibly.

Ipoh City Council - MBI - Ipoh's cleanliness

Ipoh Garden East

The event organisers on their part would make bin facilities available for proper disposal of rubbish while displaying ‘Keep Clean’ banners.

This form of joint-corporate participation with authorities reaches out to a wide community and wil have positive long term responses towards creating anti-litter awareness.


As for the enforcement part, the anti-litter laws are in place and would just require stricter enforcement. Although Mayor Roshidi has mentioned many times that he was serious about nabbing litterbugs and has shown figures to back his action, litter is still abundant.

Perhaps the Council should review its strategy to enable a more effective deterrent which probably would include stricter enforcement. After all it has been proven to be a key strategy to maintain public cleanliness.Ipoh City Council - MBI - Ipoh's cleanliness

Ever Ready MBI

MBI on its part must be ever ready to support the anti-litter effort. Cleanliness being a long-term goal perhaps  a task force could be created to ensure continuous progress in meeting its goals?

MBI has been talking of cleaning up Ipoh for a long time. Possibly the time has come for the residents to see some results and in the near future too. Hopefully public education is the solution to ensure Ipoh earns back the title of “Cleanest Town in the country”.

see foon chan-koppen - food review - ipoh restaurant

SeeFoon uncovers treasures from a ‘long time ago


musings on food - food reviewsBy See Foon Chan-Koppen 

When I first saw the signboard Lama-Lama of this restaurant in Falim (coming from Jalan Menglembu turn into road that leads to the Lumut Highway and from Lumut Highway, vice versa) I thought I was walking into a restaurant catering to Tibetan Buddhists as the name Lama is an honorific given to recognised teachers in that tradition. I soon realised that it had more to do with the Bahasa word for long time and translated from the Chinese expression of forever.

see foon chan-koppen - food review - ipoh restaurantsee foon chan-koppen - food review - ipoh restaurantsee foon chan-koppen - food review - ipoh restaurantsee foon chan-koppen - food review - ipoh restaurantsee foon chan-koppen - food review - ipoh restaurantPutting aside my fascination with names, I sat down with friends to enjoy a most delectable feast; as usual recommended by my foodie friend, Ginla Foo who blazes a trail across the length and breadth of Ipoh and its surrounds in search of good eats.

The dishes on offer at this restaurant are extensive. Proprietress Madam Leong makes the recommendations and details all her signature dishes some of which required a second visit for me to do justice to the wide choice.

Ubiquitous Dishes

On my first visit we had dishes which I would classify as more ubiquitous: Asam Sotong, fragrant, tangy not too spicy with generous sized portions of sotong (squid) cooked with ladies fingers RM12; live Tilapia steamed with spicy bean paste, soft flaky flesh that just comes off the bone, RM18; chunky portions of bean curd first deep fried and then lightly braised with Si Gua (a type of vegetable marrow), RM8; French beans sauteed with salted egg, RM8, and an interesting deep-fried pork patty redolent with the fragrance of salt fish which is ideal as an appetizer while having drinks waiting for the rest of the dishes. Their Kon Tseen Kai (dried fried chicken) with a coating of dark soya sauce, was delectable and even the breast meat which is usually dry and hard, was succulent and tender, RM12.

Heavy Artillery

The foregoing dishes were merely the foot soldiers in this battle for gustatory supremacy. The  heavy artillery came in the next two dishes which came in heaping big tureens. First the ‘wusou’ chicken (whiskered chicken…a favourite breed amongst the Chinese who prefer its meat) cooked in homemade yellow rice wine and flavoured with a variety of herbs; a post-partum delicacy that has caught on as a regular item on many menus. The one served here was perfect, not too sweet as is often the case, the chicken tender and the wine and herbs fragrant, RM28 for a large tureen.

Similarly for the Pig’s Trotters cooked in black vinegar, yet another post-partum dish (not that any of us at the table were in that condition!) that is cooked to perfection here – according to my taste buds that is – not too sweet and not too tart, the pig’s trotter chunks tender and succulent, informed by the fragrance of ginger and garnished with Mok Yee (wood ear fungus), RM15.

Signature Dishes Worth Second Visit

By this time, I had already made up my mind that I had to return to savour their other signature dishes, a task I performed with alacrity two days later at lunch. Here I will only mention the dishes which impressed me beginning with their Wu Tao Fish Head, a bubbling tureen of well braised viscous taro, permeating the fried fish head chunks with their inimitable fragrance and lending a perfect coating to their otherwise dry surface, RM25.

Another dish of note is their ‘Puppy Duck’ a name made famous by the restaurant Ming Feong, essentially a recipe that consists of braising cut  pieces of duck in ginger, dark soya sauce and spices and chillies (which was how they used to cook dog meat in days of yore). This was as good as what I remember of the its eponymous dish in Pusing; in fact the duck pieces were meatier here and more tender here and the saucing perfect. S/M/L RM12/15/20.

Next came the Rendang Chicken, again the Wu Sou Kai smothered in a rich ‘lemak’ sauce redolent of lemon grass, turmeric and all the wonderful spices that make rendang such a delicacy, RM23. We ended the meal with a plate of their Shanghai Noodles, Sang Meen (egg noodles known for their ‘al dente’ quality) fried with small prawns, bean sprouts, eggs and fried dried squid which was absolutely delectable. RM5 for one portion enough for two or three especially after a heavy meal.

Makanan Laut Lama-Lama Restoran
#12,14 Laluan Perusahan Menglembu 1
Taman Falim Indah, 31450 Menglembu, Perak.
Tel: 05 2821031
Open: 11am-2.30pm & 5-10pm
Closed: Not often; usually either Tuesday or Thursday
GPS: N 04 34 736  E 101 03 502

Ipoh Echo Issue 145 Supplement

Wedding Traditions


By Louise Sim

Ipoh Echo Issue 145 SupplementPlanning for a wedding can be an uphill task. Coupled with the strict traditions newlyweds have to follow, it can be a daunting experience. Ipoh Echo through its wedding supplement hopes to let you breeze through your once-in-a-lifetime event. We have compiled from two wedding planners and a feng shui consultant who will enlighten us on the various traditions observed by newlyweds. Following are the stories…

Wedding Planners take all the headache out of the occasion

Ipoh Echo Issue 145 SupplementIpoh Echo Issue 145 SupplementIpoh Echo Issue 145 SupplementIpoh Echo Issue 145 SupplementIpoh Echo Issue 145 SupplementIpoh Echo Issue 145 SupplementIpoh Echo Issue 145 SupplementMALAY WEDDING CEREMONY IN PARTS

Zaha Wedding Planner chief executive officer Zaid Sulaiman said there are two parts to the ceremony, the akad nikah (marriage contract), which is the legal and religious part and the bersanding (enthronement), which is a family cele-bration.

Adat Merisik

Zaid said when a man was ready to get married, a bride would be identified or he could suggest to his family who he would like them to consider. The man’s family would then visit the woman’s family to get an idea as to whether their daughter would be interested in the match, said Zaid. “Adat merisik is not a formal proposal but after this visit, both sides can ponder the possibility of a marriage,” he noted.

Adat Bertunang

After both sides decide to marry, Zaid said an engagement date would be set and the adat bertunang was usually held at the bride’s home.

Akad Nikah

The proper wedding is the akad nikah ceremony before a religious official and accompanied by prayer.

“The groom signs the marriage contract and agrees to provide the bride with a mas kahwin (marriage gold in form of money or goods or anything requested by the bride) to show that he is willing and prepared to build a family with her,” he added.


The actual wedding day is the bersanding where the couple seat on a (wedding) dais and are blessed with yellow rice and scented water by family members, relatives and guests.

“As the ceremony customarily takes place in the afternoon, the groom entertains guests at his house in the morning. The ceremony begins with the groom’s procession with friends, relatives, musicians and people waving bunga manggar (palm blossom) to meet the bride,” he said.

After the ceremony, the couple and their guests will attend a feast called the makan beradab (formal meal) which involves the bride and groom feeding each other sweetened rice, added Zaid.


Prayers play a pivotal role in Indian weddings especially Hindus, wedding planner Priya Vivek said. She said prayers are held before and during a couple’s wedding to bless their matrimony.

For the couple to become husband and wife, their parents need to determine the couple’s compatibility by checking with priests. “The priest will then go through the couple’s zodiac signs,” she said.

When the date is confirmed, a three-day special prayer will be held prior to the wedding. “During the three days, close relatives will be invited to preside over the ceremony and bless the couple,” said Priya, adding that a pole would also be erected in the couple’s home to inform the neighbourhood that there was a happy occasion in the house.

On the day of the wedding, the bride and groom will enter the wedding hall separately and sit on the “mandap” – a four-pole canopy erected at the centre of the stage. “After prayers are conducted on them, the bride and groom will change into their wedding attire and the ceremony proper will start where the groom will tie the wedding chain – thali – on the bride,” added Priya.

Traditional or Reception, Simple or Lavish

Nowadays, couples either choose a traditional or reception wedding, said Priya. “For those who choose a traditional affair, the ceremony will be held in a temple and vegetarian meal served,” she said.

For those opting a reception wedding, Priya said it could be a normal event or a lavish one. “An Indian reception wedding can cost anything from RM5,000 to RM100,000,” she said, explaining it was due to the bridal accoutrements and the event organisation. “Some may opt for a Bollywood theme wedding hence the higher cost,” she said.


Lillian Too’s Feng Shui Symbols of Good Fortune noted that a couple who wish to tie the knot should have their eight character charts examined to ensure compatibility.

“According to the Book of Rites, the exchange of gifts is to express mutual wishes for fidelity, protection and the successful procreation of children from the union. An auspicious number of gifts is eight. Amongst which should be:

  • A piece of gold jewellery for her hair
  • A gilt mirror to protect her from bad chi and evil spirits
  • A box of chocolates or sweetmeats to wish her a sweet life
  • A length of red brocade or silk for her material happiness
  • A gift of money (coins and notes) for her brothers and parents
  • A painting with child and fish to signify successful childbirth
  • A bunch of peonies for material happiness
  • A sandalwood fan to signify she will have his protection all her life.

Auspicious Dress

Too said in Chinese weddings, the bride is usually elaborately made up and dressed in a red qua or ceremonial wedding dress. “This is the ceremonial wedding dress and it is usually decorated with beads, crystals and sometimes even precious stones,” she said, adding that the dress would have elaborate embroidery featuring the auspicious dragon and phoenix or peonies and other symbols of good fortune.

“Wearing the qua is very significant and very auspicious for the couple and especially for the bride,” she noted, advising Chinese brides, no matter how modern they are, to get married in a qua. Too reminded the bride not to wear black as it is too yin for what should be a yang occasion. “It could cause a senior relative to succumb to serious illness that could prove fatal,” she warned.

Red Car and Auspicious Symbols

In the old days, Too said the groom’s party would come and collect the bride in a red marriage sedan chair that would be elaborately decorated with auspicious symbols like lanterns and firecrackers.

“In this day and age, the sedan chair is outdated but the red colour continues to have its significance. Thus it is a good idea to get married in a red car,” she said. If this proves difficult, Too recommended that some effort be made to decorate the car with auspicious symbols.

“Use red satin ribbons to tie an endless knot that symbolizes eternal love or use a double happiness decal to decorate the two sides of the car,” she said.

Tea Ceremony

“Newly-married couples, dressed in their wedding finery, would kneel in front of their parents and offer a cup of tea each, after which the parents would bless them and offer them a red packet filled with money,” said Too. The tea offering signifies respect for the parents and an expression of filial gratitude, she added.

In the old days, parents of the bride often presented gold to their daughter after the performance of the tea ceremony, said Too. “This was deemed to be an auspicious offering although in modern times this offering has been replaced with a red packet of cash,” she said.

Tea must also be offered to every member of the family one generation above the couple as an indication of respect to family elders, added Too.

“Do not do away with this ceremony no matter how modern you are because it brings good luck to you,” Too advises.

A dog is not just for Christmas


By Mariam Mokhtar

thinking allowed - mariam mokhtarStray dogs are a nuisance but catching them will not solve the problem. The authorities have limited resources but more important, it is also the responsibility of dog owners and dog breeders. To resolve the stray dog issue, we should find out why there are stray dogs.

Has a stray dog survey ever been done? How do present results compare with older records? Who takes cares of the strays? How qualified are the staff in the pounds? What percentage of the total (of stray dogs), is put down if they are unable to be found a home?

The inhumane killing of dogs has sparked public outcries in Ipoh, but with the ban on shooting, the number of stray dogs has increased to worrying levels. If a solution is not found soon, the conflict between dog lovers, animal welfare groups and the authorities, who are acting in the interests of the public, may escalate again.

The story of Spunk, the companion and therapy dog to a 77-year-old lady from Ipoh, is still fresh in our minds. Spunk was killed in late 2010 by council dog-catchers who shot him dead when his owner left him unattended, at their house gate, for a few minutes. Ipoh City Council (MBI) enforcement officers “mistook” Spunk for a stray.

The cruel death of this licensed dog, forced the authorities to review their stray animals policy. After meetings with animal welfare and animal rights groups, the MBI secretary Abdul Rahim Mohd Ariff announced an immediate ban on the shooting of dogs in Ipoh.

At the time, many pet lovers wondered how long this “amnesty” would last.  Recently, a new stray dog problem has been highlighted in the mainstream papers.

Last month, traders and ordinary residents reported an increase in stray dogs in areas around markets, hawker centres and residential areas. Many children and adults were afraid to walk in the vicinity of their homes, because of marauding packs of dogs roaming freely in their neighbourhood. Others feared for their children’s safety. Issues of health and hygiene have also been highlighted.

The Perak Malay Hawkers and Small Traders Association president Omar Ahmad claimed that the problem had worsened over the years. He has demanded immediate action from the authorities, namely the MBI and the health ministry.

Omar said, “Previously, we used to see them only near the food courts and markets. Now, they’re everywhere, including residential areas. Something should be done fast by MBI to resolve the matter before untoward incidents occur.”

In one incident in Gunung Rapat, a teenage boy fell off his motorbike, when he was pursued by a stray dog, He panicked and hit a parked car. He sustained bruises and needed stitches for a head injury.

People in various residential areas such as Ampang Baru and Taman Cempaka, are increasingly worried about these stray dogs. No human has been attacked but these residents would like the MBI to do something about the dogs before serious problems arise.

They refer to the health hazards caused by dogs rummaging through litter bins scavenging for food and the unsightly scenes of litter strewn around dustbin sites.Afraid of their children being attacked, parents have, as a precaution, stopped their children from playing outside their homes.

The council has issued a statement claiming that catching the dogs was not as effective as shooting them. They claim that the dogs run away, to evade capture, whenever there were attempts to round them up.

On June 5, the MBI announced that they have sought professional help to resolve the stray dog problem. Mayor Roshidi Hashim announced that a tender had been awarded the previous month, to a company which would be paid RM45 for every stray caught unharmed.

Roshidi said, “The council received an increasing number of reports on stray dogs requiring immediate action. Since we can’t shoot the dogs, we have awarded a tender that will carry out the humane way of dogcatching.” Reassuring the the public, he said, “In cases involving public safety, I will take the blame,” and said that the council would act should any dog be injured or pose a public threat.

Perhaps, one of the ways to resolve the stray dog problem would be for the MBI to conduct a “Stray Dog Survey”, for each of the districts served by the council. That might show us the true extent and severity of the stray dog problem.

Most of all, dog owners must act responsibly if the problem of stray dogs is to be effectively managed and dogs spared from being killed. Malaysians are well aware of irresponsible people who own pedigree dogs just to show off.

As responsible dog owners know, one of the most effective ways of reducing the number of strays is to neuter their dogs to prevent unwanted and unplanned litters. Having their dogs microchipped and tagged are also essential so that dog and owner can be reunited easily in case they are separated.

Resources, the availability of dedicated and trained staff at aninal welfare groups and NGOs are limited and the MBI can only do so much. Capturing the dogs should not be seen as the best or only way of preventing the stray dog menace. The most effective way is by a concerted campaign of education, public awareness and a responsible attitude to dog ownership and breeding.

Birthday Friends


What happens when two friends share the same birth date? Well another friend throws them a birthday party for them.

Sharmini and Rahman addressing Yap (seated in the foreground) and friends

That is what happened when Dato’ Sheikh Abdul Rahman, 90, the former State Legal Adviser and  Sharmini Tiruchelvam’s (age unable to be disclosed) birthdays came around, their common friend and philanthropist Dato’ Yap Lin Sen threw them a birthday party at his sprawling home.

It was a lovely evening made complete with old and close friends and a live band thrown in too.

Dato’ Dr Majumder, Tan Sri Jeyaratnam, former Judge N.H. Chan and so many more Ipohites were there to share in the relaxing event where even Datin Janet Yeoh rendered a song during the night. But then isn’t that what friends are for.


Mapex Bigger Than Ever

Mapex 2012 - REHDA

Dato’ Francis Lee

A Whopping RM992mil worth of properties will be on sale during Mapex 2012.
To be held from June 22 to 24, the exposition is organised by Ipoh City Council (DBI), Perak State Development Corporation (PKNP) and Perak Real Estates and Housing Developers Association (REHDA).

REHDA Perak chairman Dato’ Francis Lee said the properties to be on sale during the three day event are single storey terrace, single storey semi-detached and bungalow, double/three storey terrace, double/three storey semi detached and bungalow, single/double/three/four storey shop office and apartment/condominium. “Various incentives will be given during the exposition including free legal fees for the Sale and Purchase Agreement and cash rebates,” he told Ipoh Echo.

The exposition this year, added Lee, will play a greater role including the promotion of the initiatives of  both the Federal and State Government by way of ‘My First Home Scheme’, PR1MA housing and the “Satu Keluarga Satu Rumah”.
“In view of the laggard pricing of Perak properties and the present low interest regime, prospective purchasers should seize this opportunity to purchase a property of their choice,” said Lee.

Lee noted most financial institutions are currently offering end financing at 2.5% above the Base Lending Rate (BLR) of 6.6%, thereby translating as an effective lending rate of 9.1% on a reducing balance basis.

“For the purchase of a residential property valued at RM140,000 on a 100% end financing on tenure of 25 years, the monthly repayment is only RM751” said Lee.

“For a purchase of a RM280,000 residential property on similar terms, the monthly mortgage payment is RM1,502” added Lee. If the prospective purchasers have some savings and utilise their Employment Provident Fund for housing, the monthly repayment can be reduced by some 25%, he added.

The exposition will be held at Stadium Indera Mulia, Ipoh from 11am to 10pm. Held on an annual basis since 2003, it is one of the major activities of  DBI anniversary celebrations. To date, some RM500mil worth of properties had been cumulatively sold during the exposition period.

Zambry’s Cycling Diplomacy


perak menteri besar - perak chief minister

Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir and his entourage

Chief Minister Dato’ Seri DiRaja Zambry Abd Kadir has hit on a novel idea of meeting the rakyat in the most informal manner possible. He reaches out to them by cycling out to them, literally. His resorting to the humble two-wheeler has prompted other leaders to do the same.

The CM’s modus operandi is simple. He gets his team of cyclists organised, sets a date and off they go. It is normally on a weekend and the starting point will always be his official residence. The team will cycle its way through the city and into the fringes, stopping at odd places and at odd times to fulfill certain obligations – some programmed, some not.

“The rural areas are more accessible by bicycles,” he said. “I get to exercise and meet the rakyat, all at the same time.”
During a recent gruelling 50-km ride in Kinta District, the team cycled to Kg Ulu Chepor in Chemor and on its return trip stopped by at Kg Tengku Hussein, Kg Temiang and Kg Seri Kinta in Gugusan Manjoi. At the last two villages he approved the rebuilding of houses belonging to four poor families. The project will be undertaken by Yayasan Bina Upaya Darul Ridzuan (YBU).

Zambry stopped over at the council flats in Jalan Hospital and was totally ‘at home’ cutting onions in one of the flat-dwellers’ kitchen. He dispensed aid to the needy at Kampung Pasir Puteh before ending the day with a sumptuous jamuan rakyat (people’s dinner) at the said village. Over a thousand villagers joined in the feast.
Some RM30,000 will be allocated by the state government to Kg Tengku Hussein and Kg Pasir Puteh for infrastructure projects. Yayasan Bina Upaya is tasked to supervise the projects.