Casuarina Trees

I like to draw your attention to the casuarina trees beside the Ipoh Padang that were brought down last weekend. The PTA of St Michael’s Institution wrote to the Mayor, Dato’ Roshidi and copied Councillor David Lai our concerns regarding the health of the trees. We requested the city’s authorities verify the health of the trees and to take appropriate action to prevent any tragedy that may arise from an unhealthy tree. Earlier this year a number of trees were blown over and it was fortunate that they fell onto the Padang and not towards our school or the mosque next door.

It is sad that these majestic Casuarinas, that had defined the image of Ipoh Padang and St Michael’s Institution, had to be brought down but we fully support the action taken by the city’s authorities as the safety of our children can never be compromised. I thank the Mayor and Councillor David Lai for their prompt decision and action.

I hope that the city’s authorities will immediately replant the perimeter of the Padang with trees again but to do so within the Padang and not at the same spot where the Casuarinas were removed.

Joseph Michael Lee
PTA President
SM St Michael’s Institution

Of Veterans and Losing Faith


By Fathol Zaman Bukhari

Of veterans and losing faith - editor's desk

If the 2009 Australian eavesdropping episode on its Asean neighbours is anything but deliberate then I stand by my conviction that their dithering is for a reason. Insofar as Malaysia is concerned, I feel it is not for reasons of security per se, but more to do with the prevailing political climate then following the two vociferous Bersih demonstrations clamouring for a free and independent election.

Despite the demand for an unconditional apology from Tony Abbott, the newly-minted Prime Minister of Australia, the response has been lukewarm, to say the least. I wonder why Tony has not brushed aside the Indonesian President’s insistence with a mere, “I wasn’t the Prime Minister then, Kevin Rudd was” reply typical of how politicians in a quandary would have reacted.

Or resort to elegant silence, as a golden rule of thumb for someone in the pits. But in a Western society, of which Australia is one, such behaviour is deemed unethical and will earn the wrath of the nation and the international community.

My rambling is not aimed at placing Australia in the spotlight for its wrongdoings. Far from it, my allusion is merely an opener for a matter of lesser significance than what is ongoing in the Oceanic region. Politics, however, is not the issue here.

I respect the Aussies for one innate quality which we Malaysians find wanting. It has much to do with their attitude towards military veterans, especially their own. Australians, since the Second Boer War (1899 to 1902), have been fighting wars not in their backyards but on foreign soils.

The only time they were forced to do the inevitable was when Japanese planes bombed Darwin and their midget submarines sneaked into Sydney Harbour in an attempt to sink Allied warships at the onset of the Second World War in 1942. Otherwise, Australian troops were in harness for duties abroad all of the time.

An Australian infantry division was in Malaya propping the weak British defensive perimeter before the Japanese invasion in December 1941. They were here again during the Malayan Emergency (1948 to 1960) providing ground and air support for counter-insurgency operations. Their troops were recalled when President Sukarno of Indonesia decided to confront newly formed Malaysia, claiming it to be a British colonial stooge in 1962.

Those who died in these conflicts were being interred in a number of cemeteries located throughout the length and breadth of the country, including Sabah and Sarawak. And remembering their dearly departed has become an obsession with those who had served in the same outfits as the dead and the maimed.

These war-weary veterans and their families make annual pilgrimages to Taiping, Batu Gajah, Terendak, Sandakan, Labuan and Kuching to honour their kinsmen who had made the ultimate sacrifice, not for their country but the country that they had the misfortune to serve. Nothing can be more honourable than to remember these brave soldiers who died in the prime of their youth while fighting a war in a far-flung country whose affiliation they were never certain.

I had the privilege to attend one such service on Sunday, November 24 at the Esplanade in Penang. The Penang Veterans’ Association organised the morning service dedicated to fallen heroes of the Great War (1914 to 1918), Second World War (1939 to 1945), Malayan Emergency (1948 to 1960), Indonesian Confrontation (1962 to 1966) and the Re-Insurgency Period (1968 to 1990).

The association, under the presidency of Major Sivarajan KM Ramathan (Retired), has been doing so without fail for the last 12 years. Quite unexpectedly, I was honoured with the responsibility of laying a wreath on behalf of retired Royal Ranger Regiment officers and men. I was touched by the gesture, which I thought strange considering my abhorrence for officialdom.

Feelings aside, I was somewhat perplexed by the conspicuous absence of serving officers from Headquarters 2nd Infantry Division, which is stationed on the island. The state government and the Police were well represented and so were the High Commissions of Australia and New Zealand and the Nepalese Embassy, including the Thai Consulate-General in Penang.

If these foreign dignitaries could make an appearance I see no reason why the local army commander could not. He could at least send a senior officer to represent the division. After all, wasn’t this an occasion to honour military personnel?

The reason is obvious. It has to do with religious belief. Since the Islamic Revolution of Iran in 1979, which led to the ouster of Shah Pahlavi and his decadent royal entourage by Ayatollah Khomeini, the country has been overwhelmed by religious fervour that is second to none. Today paying homage to a cenotaph is considered taboo as the action would, in the words of the learned clerics, cause one to lose faith in Islam or more succinctly, hilang akidah.

If I were to go strictly by this dictate I would have been a Christian, a Buddhist, a Hindu and a Taoist many times over, as I had stood in reverence to an obelisk, not once but several times in my lifetime. In spite of all this my faith in my religion has never once fluttered.

Malay Muslims should be more circumspect about ceremonies to honour fallen heroes than to submit selflessly to fatwas which are man-made. I rest my case.

Coronation Cup Race 2014


Coronation Cup Race 2014

Representatives from 43 charity and non-governmental organisations received cheques from the Perak Turf Club following the completion of the Coronation Cup Race on Sunday, November 24, the fourth day of the Ipoh meet.

Amounting to a total of RM197,000, the biggest beneficiary was Persatuan Pemulihan Sultan Azlan Shah with RM10,000. Others included Perak Society for the Promotion of Mental Health, Noah’s Ark and Vision Home. The donations were part of the Club’s tradition of reaching out to the poor and the needy in Perak.

Besides financially assisting charitable and non-governmental organisations in Perak, the Club also responds to disasters at home and abroad. It too lends a helping hand to deserving individuals who walk or write in to the Club.

The Coronation Cup Race was passionately cheered on by hundreds of avid horse-racing fans. It was won by horse No. 7, Taichi Master, ridden by Jose de Souza and trained by Richard Victor Lines. Taichi Master is owned by Tivic Stable.

Coronation Cup Race 2014

The Coronation Cup is the most prestigious annual classic race for Class 1 Malaysian thoroughbreds. It carries the Club’s largest purse of RM700,000 along with a golden challenge trophy.

Run over a long course of 1600 metres, it is open to horses aged three and older. The race was inaugurated in 1985 to commemorate the installation of HRH Sultan Azlan Shah as the Sultan of Perak.


Thyroid Eye Disease

Resident Consultant Ophthalmologist, Hospital Fatimah Ipoh
Dr S.S. Gill

Eye Health

By Dr S.S. Gill

Ipoh Echo’s EYE HEALTH series continues with Consultant Eye Surgeon Dr S.S. GILL talking to us about Thyroid Eye Disease.

The Thyroid gland is an organ that is found in the front of the neck. Thyroid hormones are released by the thyroid gland into the bloodstream as “chemical messengers” which are essential for managing the metabolism in our bodies. As with most organs in the body, when the thyroid gland functions well, it goes unnoticed but when it starts producing too much or too little hormones, it causes a lot of problems to the body. The eyes get affected when the gland becomes hyperactive. When this happens, it is termed as either Thyroid Eye Disease or Thyroid Orbitopathy, Graves’ Ophthalmopathy, Ophthalmic Graves’ Disease or Thyroid Ophthalmopathy.

Who Gets Thyroid Eye Disease?

Thankfully this is not a very common condition. In every 100,000 people, approximately 15 women and 3 men are affected by Thyroid Eye Disease. Most of the time it affects the middle age group. There is a genetic link, making those in some families to be more predisposed to suffering from Thyroid Eye Disease.

What Happens To The Eyes In Thyroid Disease?

Thyroid eye disease - S.S. GillIn Thyroid Eye Disease, the eye muscles and fat that surrounds the eyeball gets inflamed (swollen). The two eyeballs may or may not be affected equally, giving rise to the following symptoms in the eyes:

  • Eyes protrude or bulge out of its sockets – an appearance that the person is staring! Thyroid Eye disease is the most common cause of protruding eyes (proptosis).
  • More of the cornea (transparent part of the eye) and the conjunctiva (white of the eye) get exposed because the eyelids may not fully close over the eyes well enough (eyelid retraction).
  • The eyes may ache, with intermittent sharp pain when the cornea dries out especially   when the person is concentrating on something for long as in reading.
  • Some people get diplopia (double vision) because the eye muscles are unable to move properly due to the swelling of the eye muscles.
  • Blurring vision in some patients.

This may happen along with other features such as irritability or nervousness (mood disturbances), preference for cold environments, increased sweating, insomnia (sleeping difficulty), palpitations (a rapid heartbeat), tremor of the hands, weight loss, frequent bowel movements, unexplained fatigue or weakness of muscle, difficulty in conception and irregular menstruation.

How Is It Diagnosed?

If a doctor suspects that you may be having Thyroid Eye Disease, the following tests are usually done:

  • Thyroid Function Test (blood test): This will measure hormone levels in your body which includes TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone), T4 which is the principal thyroid hormone and another thyroid hormone T3, plus Thyroid Stimulating Immunoglobulin Test (TSI). The other blood test that may be done is the RAIU test             (Radioactive Iodine Uptake) – which helps to evaluate the Thyroid gland and to find out the cause of increased production of thyroid hormones (hyperthyroidism).
  • Thyroid Scan – to determine the shape and size of the thyroid gland and to pick up any thyroid nodules that may be benign or cancerous.
  • MRI Scan of the Orbits – to determine the amount of proptosis (bulging forward of eyes) and the amount of inflammation of the eye muscles within the eyeball sockets.

More on Thyroid Eye Disease prognosis and treatment in the next issue.

For more information, call Gill Eye Specialist Centre at Hospital Fatimah (05-545 5582) or email


A Quality Lifestyle in the Heart of Ipoh


Fancy rubbing shoulders with the elite in Ipoh? Waking up to bird calls and the serenity of nature and still be at the shopping malls and supermarkets in mere minutes? Walking or jogging to the Polo Ground, going for a dip at the Royal Perak Golf Club and finishing off with a game of golf later in the day? Then, SE7EN @ Tun Dr Ismail is the residential address for you.

For those who are looking for something exclusive, SE7EN will be setting a new benchmark for luxurious living in Ipoh. With just 37 exclusive units in a low density 5-storey building on 1.55 acres of freehold land, SE7EN offers unparalleled quality living in the heart of Ipoh.

Each unit is painstakingly designed to ensure comfort and privacy. A fully-equipped designer kitchen with the assurance of German precision in their TEKA appliances, provides you with the option to cook up a storm. Other quality fittings include Daikin air-conditioners for full air-conditioned comfort, Hansgrohe bathroom fixtures and Hager light switches.


A choice of 1,400-3,500 sq. feet units all with 12-foot high ceilings await the discerning few while security keycard access and 24-hour security service will afford peace of mind to SE7EN’s residents.

While recreational facilities may appear to be limited, SE7EN offers an irresistible package that includes individual transferable membership at the Royal Perak Golf Club for every purchase of a unit. This membership not only gains you entry to one of the most prestigious golf clubs in Perak but with its international affiliations to the Royal Selangor Golf Club in Kuala Lumpur, the Singapore Island Country Club and the Royal Hong Kong Golf Club, access to recognition and acceptance is but a flash of your card away when you travel.


With the Sultan Azlan Shah International Airport a 5-minute drive away and daily flights to Singapore offering you a world of connectivity, SE7EN is ideally situated for a quality lifestyle. And in the unfortunate event  of a health emergency, private hospitals like Perak Community Specialist Hospital, KPJ Ipoh Specialist Hospital, Pantai Hospital Ipoh and Hospital Fatimah are mere minutes away to cater to your healthcare needs.

SE7EN is ideal for those considering settling in Malaysia under Tourism Malaysia’s Malaysia My Second Home Programme.


SeeFoon goes from North to South in her Foodie quest

Musings of Food

By SeeFoon Chan-Koppen

The one lament I have about being introduced to ‘Tai Chau’ (literally translated to mean ‘big fry’) restaurants is that the dishes in each are, as the Americans would put it…‘same old, same old’. Meaning that they all serve the same dishes and have similar items on their menus. The only variations are in the preparation styles and the skill of the ‘wok’ person in the kitchen and the flavours he/she coaxes out of the food. And that is what separates the wheat from the chafe. And what brings in the customers like myself and my foodie friends.

For eat we must and daily. And while our eager group will check out any small nook and corner with any new opening bringing one or two of our curious ones to check it out, on the whole, we end up returning to some perennial favourites or adopting some new ones that we discover. While some of these may have been operating for years, like Lo Tian Seafood Restaurant which is in the north of Ipoh close to Jelapang, serving folks from Silibin, First Garden and Taman Rishah, some others like Restoran Likarli are relatively new, catering to up-and-coming communities like the burgeoning one in Seri Botani in the south, close to the Simpang Pulai toll.

In this review, I shall cover both outlets in one go as the menu items are similar and I will highlight only those items that impressed me.

Restoran Likarli 1Restoran Likarli

This is a two-shoplot restaurant with well spaced out tables and one side fully air conditioned. The service is brisk and friendly and they are happy to make recommendations.

One of their specialties here that they recommend to everyone is their Mun Cheong chicken, a 90-day old (most market chickens are slaughtered at around 40-45 days) bird of the Wu So Kai or ‘whiskered’ chicken variety. This is steamed and served with a ginger/scallion paste. As the chicken has had sufficient time to grow, the meat is more hearty and voluptuous without descending into stringy toughness which some old birds are prone to do. At an average size of 3kg and above, the serving is huge and it’s advisable to request for half portions if the group is smaller.

Restoran Likarli 5

The homemade pumpkin tofu served with tung fun or bean thread noodles and garlic had a velvety texture and was scrumptious, as were the green peppers and black beans, the peppers still crisp on the bite with the black beans lending its smoky saltiness to the dish.Restoran Likarli 3

Venison Kway Teow or flat rice noodles was delicious, the venison well seasoned and tender, imbuing its gamey flavour to the bland white noodles and raising it to culinary heights. Similarly, the salted egg yolk added to the batter of the fried sotong or fresh squid, lifted this ubiquitous denizen of the depths to another  dimension.

Restoran Likarli 4

Restoran Lo Tian 1Lo Tian Seafood Restaurant

This is another one of my foodie friend, Ginla Chew’s peripatetic finds and considering that its so close to where I live I will be eternally grateful. Apparently, this is a coffee shop that has been open for quite some time specialising in river fish and white pomfret which is always available. As white pomfret is one of my favourite fish, I shall certainly consider making it my local ‘canteen’.

The night we went, we had the wild river fish head which came in a claypot and was absolutely mouth-watering fresh and certainly a dish I would recommend. Next came the soft shell crabs fried with salted egg yolk-crispy and umami morsels that just melt in the mouth.

Restoran Lo Tian 3

Restoran Lo Tian 4

The Dong Por Yoke or pork belly braised in dark soya sauce was wobblingly delectable albeit a tad too sweet for my palate. However, the next dish of Ikan Bilis Szechuan style made up for it with its sizzling spiciness tempered by the tofu cubes, long beans and onions.

The Salt Baked Kampung Chicken was average with the smokiness overpowering the subtle flavouring but the wonton noodles fried with chunks of roasted pork was tasty and excellent value at RM10. As was the Tom Yam Fried Rice. For a finishing touch we had fried Umeji mushrooms and pea pods or ‘mange tout’ embellished with crispy bits of dried sotong or squid. One dish that we didn’t get to try was their Hot Plate Har Gao or dumplings on a hot plate which I promised to return to sample on another day.

All in all, Lo Tian with its very friendly lady proprietor Choong Poh Foong, is one place I shall frequent.

Restoran Lo Tian 2

Restoran Likarli
44 Jalan Lapangan Siber 10, Bandar Cyber, 31350 Ipoh.
Tel:  016 529 0298
Business Hours:  noon-2.30pm; 5.30-10.30pm
GPS:  N 04° 32.528’ E 101° 06.543’

Restoran Lo Tian Seafood Restaurant
11, Jalan Raja Perempuan Mazwin, Taman Rishah, 30100 Ipoh.
Tel:  05 528 3575
Madam Choong:  012 556 6557
Business Hours:  5pm-midnight
Closed every fortnight Wednesdays
GPS:  N 04° 36.6’ E 101° 03.32’

Pengkalan Hulu


Formerly named Kroh (or Keroh), Pengkalan Hulu, a small town located in Perak’s northern most district of Hulu Perak, is more popularly known as the gateway to Thailand’s paradise town, Betong.

Little is known about Pengkalan Hulu’s tourist attractions. Therefore, in this issue of Perak Tourism Newsletter, we will attempt to unravel places of interest, both known and unknown, found in this quaint, hilly provincial town, which is covered in thick fog in the morning and where the air is always fresh and invigorating.

Pengkalan Hulu 1


Nolee Ashilin Radzi,  State Executive councillor for Tourism, Health and Culture
Nolee Ashilin Radzi,
State Executive councillor for Tourism, Health and Culture

Visit Malaysia Year 2014 is soon upon us in the blink of an eye. It will be launched with a bang in Kuala Lumpur during the first week of January.

Meanwhile, we in Perak have been very busy with promoting our state and working extra hard, especially these past two months, including distributing promotional materials such as buntings and CDs to hotels and travel agents, to assist in their promotional efforts.

Not only are we trying to entice domestic travellers, we are also ‘selling’ our tourism products to the international market. In November, we participated in Travel Malaysia Exposition 2013 in Singapore and World Travel Mart 2013 in London.

In Singapore, we also took the opportunity to hold a corporate presentation. It was a platform for buyers and sellers to meet. Over 40 travel agents from Singapore and six product owners from Perak participated in this event.

While in London, we had our own booth at the Malaysia Pavilion to promote Perak. Hosted by the Malaysian Ministry of Tourism and Culture, we were quite successful in introducing Perak to travel agents from Europe. They were particularly interested in the Royal Belum.

Also, it is with pleasure to announce that our mobile application, TravelPerak, is ready for downloading at Google Play and iTunes. Yes, it is available for both Android and iOS platforms! We look forward to your feedback on ways to improve it.

We have also revamped our online presence with a new website which is accessible at, and boosted our social media presence. Connect with us on Facebook (Perak Tourism), follow us on Twitter (@PerakTourism) or contact us at our email:



Driving from Ipoh, take the North-South Expressway, exiting from Kuala Kangsar. From there, get on the trunk road to Gerik and continue north to Pengkalan Hulu, following the sign boards by the left side of the road. This stretch is uphill and winding all the way, as Pengkalan Hulu is some 380m (1250 ft) above sea level. So drive carefully, especially when it is raining. About 190km from Ipoh, this road trip takes approximately 3 hours.

Pengkalan Hulu 2 


As said, Pengkalan Hulu is a small town, encompassing only 873.70 km² of land. Despite this, there are about ten motels, hotels, rest houses and chalets for visitors to choose from. Popular among tourists is Chalet Air Panas (Hot Springs Chalet), just 2km from Betong. VIP chalets range from RM85 per night for four persons to RM162 per night for one person. Budget-friendly accommodation is also available in the form of normal chalets and dormitories.

There are two hot spring pools here. Although some claimed the water is too murky, well, that is its natural state.


For further information, contact Chalet Air Panas at:

Tel: +604-4770579
Fax: +604-4778422
Office hours: 8am – 9pm (Monday – Friday)
& 8am – 5pm (Saturday & Sunday)

GPS Coordinates: N 05° 43.423 E101° 00.888’



Pengkalan Hulu 3

Gua Gendang (Cave of Drums) is Pengkalan Hulu’s most unique tourist attraction.

This limestone cave is located in Kampung Tasek, some 9km from Pengkalan Hulu town. Together with Gua Itik, a smaller adjacent cave, these caves make for serious jungle trekking and cave exploration activities for hardcore outdoor buffs.

Surrounded by lush tropical forest, Gua Gendang is believed to be used as a hideout by communist terrorists during the Malayan Emergency (1948 to 1960).

Those who brave the trail down to the cave, descending some 120 steps, will be rewarded with the best that Mother Nature has to offer.

Besides the opportunity to check out the formations of amazing rock textures, stalactites and stalagmites, the roaring water cascading into the cave from the seven nearby waterfalls simultaneously beating against the interior walls of the caves is like a wondrous drum performance, hence the name of the cave.     Turn off your torchlights, close your eyes and feel the beat of the drums. It is so ecstatic!

But that is certainly not all that Gua Gendang has to offer. Imagine exploring a cave that is half submerged in water, and at some points, you may even have to “commando crawl” through some of the narrower stretches inside the cave.

A good nature guide is required, and safety precautions have to be taken, because the final part of the cave requires one to dive underwater before emerging in Kedah, the neighbouring state!

An expedition to Gua Gendang, first by a four-wheel drive vehicle, then jungle trekking, followed by cave exploration, is definitely not for the faint-hearted. But for those who seek challenges and thrills of this nature, Gua Gendang is the ultimate destination in Pengkalan Hulu.

GPS Coordinates: N 05° 38.736’ E100° 57.793’



Pengkalan Hulu - Gua Khalid

This still unexplored Gua Khalid near the development of PPMS Tanah Hitam, is also known locally as Gua Komunis because, like Gua Gendang, it is believed that the communist terrorists used the cave as their hideout during the Malayan Emergency years, 1965 to be precise, based on what had been written on the wall.

This cave, located some 10 minutes’ drive off the main Gerik – Klian Intan Road, is accessible only by four-wheel drive vehicle. Another 10 minutes of trekking over a treacherous trail is required before one reaches the cave.

Although some adventurous locals like to come by for a picnic, the exploration of this cave is more suited for those who wish to research on the Emergency period. There are many Mandarin texts found written on the cave walls. But Mandarin-speaking locals have not been able to decipher the real messages behind the writings.

GPS Coordinates: N 05° 36.985’ E101° 01.283’


Oldest & largest open-cast tin mine

Rahman Hydraulic Tin

Visitors to Pengkalan Hulu should not pass up the opportunity to visit the oldest and largest active open-cast tin mine in Malaysia, operated by Rahman Hydraulic Tin Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Malaysia Smelting Corporation Bhd.

The tin mine, situated in Klian Intan and encompassing a land area of 700 hectares, was started in 1907 by the British. It now has a staff strength of 700 people, producing 250 metric tons of tin ore per month.

More of an educational tour, visitors are first taken to the viewing deck for an overview of the mine pit. With Gunung Paku in the background, it is most scenic, especially in the morning before the thick mist clears.

Rahman Hydraulic Tin

Besides checking out the different stages of the mining process, the guided tour includes a stop at the plant nursery and fish pond, a major greening and land rehabilitation effort with assistance from the Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM).

Although the tin mine is open to visitors since 2006, only group visits are encouraged, with a minimum of 15 to a maximum of 30 persons per group. Prior permission has to be obtained from the management of Rahman Hydraulic Tin.

GPS Coordinates: N 05° 37.861’ E101° 01.818


Pong Dam & Hydro Power Station

Pong Dam & Hydro Power Station

Not much is known about both the Pong Dam and Pong Mini Hydro Power Station, except that they were built by the British circa 1924. The power station is some 40 minutes by 4WD from the Gerik – Klian Intan road, first passing through the Kg. Bukit Asu aboriginal village, before reaching Kg. Pong, a Siamese village. The dam is a further ten minutes’ drive away.

Today, both are properties of Rahman Hydraulic Tin. The dam was an ex-mining pond and it supplies water to the power station, which generates 11,000 kilowatts of power per day to the company’s tin mining operations in nearby Klian Intan.

GPS Coordinates (Pong Dam): N 05° 31.477’ E100° 59.195’

GPS Coordinates (Pong Hydro Power Station): N 05° 31.648’ E100° 59.709’


S.J.K. (C) Kung Li

S.J.K. (C) Kung Li

By itself, this Chinese primary school in Klian Intan is like any other school in a small provincial town. However, it is in the spotlight because it was built at the site that was used by the Japanese Imperial Army to teach Japanese language during the Japanese Occupation. Although the original wooden building had long been replaced by a concrete block, it is believed that the stairs with 288 steps that connect Jalan Besar to the school at the top of the hill are still the original ones constructed by the Japanese.

S.J.K. (C) Kung Li has a student enrolment of less than 40. It is open from 7am to 2pm from Mondays to Fridays only.

GPS Coordinates: N 05° 38.035’ E101° 01.219’




Bowling is a popular indoor sport here. The 12-lane Pengkalan Hulu Superbowl charges a flat rate of RM3 per game. So, it is not surprising to see families and groups of friends converging at the arena every evening.

Opened since July 2011, the arena has just kicked off the Pengkalan Hulu Superbowl Cup, a challenge trophy with a cash prize of RM200 for the winning team. Weekly mini tournaments are also held, where cash prizes of RM150 are up for grabs.

Rental of bowling shoes is RM1, while socks are RM2 a pair.

Business hours:
2pm – 12 midnight (Monday – Thursday)
3pm – 12 midnight (Friday)
12 noon – 12 midnight (Saturday / Sunday / public holidays)
Add:  Dewan Sultan Idris Shah II, 33100 Pengkalan Hulu, Perak.
Tel: +604-4778200
GPS Coordinates: N 05° 42.170’ E100° 59.858’



Pengkalan Hulu - Golf

The 9-hole Kelab Golf Pengkalan Hulu was opened to the public in the 1990s. It was formerly an airstrip used to resupply troops in the forward bases during the Emergency years.

Membership fee is RM2,000 for the public and RM1,500 for civil servants. Non-members are charged RM30 green fee a day. Current membership stands at some 100, from Perak, neighbouring states and even Thailand.

Said to be one of the more challenging golf links in Perak, the club hosts about four major golf tournaments annually. They are Piala OBJ Perak in May, Piala Presiden, Piala YDP and Club Championship in December.

The only golf club in the district of Hulu Perak, it has recently expanded to offer accommodation under the name of the Good View Motel. With 19 rooms, the motel can accommodate up to 40 guests at a time. Room rates start from RM70+ per night.

Add:  Jalan Pejabat, 33100 Pengkalan Hulu, Perak.
Tel: +604-4779663
Fax: +604-4778177
Golfing hours: 8am – 3.30pm
GPS Coordinates: N 05° 42.166’ E100° 59.704’


Dataran Gading/Tasek Takong

Pengkalan Hulu - Dataran Gading /Tasek Takong

A long time ago, when Pengkalan Hulu was ruled by Raja of Reman, a small pond was built to enable his elephants to bathe. The water was always murky, which was how the town got its name, Kroh.
This pond has since been developed into Tasek Takong, with a square at the entrance of the lake named Dataran Gading (Ivory Square).

This recreational park is well-utilised by the locals, especially in the evenings and on weekends. It is also the venue for the annual fishing and decorative raft competitions.

GPS Coordinates: N 05° 42.166’ E100° 59.704’


Eating out

Restoran Terapong

A popular eatery among the locals is a floating restaurant by the name of Restoran Terapong, just by the bank of Tasek Takong. Open from 4pm to 1am daily except Wednesdays, it serves a wide variety of local, Thai and western food. The dish to try here is the Thai-style seafood tom-yam.

Add: Jalan Padang, Taman Tasek Takong, 33100 Pengkalan Hulu.
Tel: +6019-5920732 (Razman)
GPS Coordinates: N 05° 42.174’ E100° 59.775’

Pengkalan Hulu - food

Restoran Terapung No. 2

Just a short distance away from Restoran Terapung, near Kelab Golf Pengkalan Hulu, is Restoran Terapung No. 2. Despite its name, these two restaurants are run by different owners.

Open from 10am to 2am daily except Saturdays, the signature dish here is “nasi goreng terapung” (floating fried rice).

Add: Jalan Tasek, 33100 Pengkalan Hulu.
Tel: +6019-5654539 (Akib)
GPS Coordinates: N 05° 42.044’ E100° 59.744’


Pengkalan Hulu map


Those interested to visit the attractions highlighted in Pengkalan Hulu, but do not fancy the hassle of arranging their own trip, may contact En. Haniff Faiz bin Misnan from the Pengkalan Hulu District Council (Tourism Unit). His mobile number: +6017-846 5346.


Why would you eat in a dirty restaurant?

Thinking Allowed

By Mariam Mokhtar

mariam mokhtarDo Malaysians really care about dirty restaurants or are they more interested in the taste of the food? We complain about dirty restaurants but some of us continue to patronise these places. Perhaps, Malaysians don’t care about hygiene as long as they can eat the food they are used to.

If you sit beside the smelly monsoon drain, which is blocked with rubbish, you don’t think about the drain and your proximity to it. You just want to be served quickly and savour the food.

The dirty rag which the waiter used to wipe a mess on the floor is then used to clean the table, and you think nothing of resting your hands and cutlery on the table. Very few of us request fresh cutlery, if the one we were given are encrusted with bits of hardened food. Others who find lipstick stains on the rim of the glass simply turn it around 180 degrees.

Diners who see a fly hovering over food, may find on closer scrutiny, that the fly has laid eggs – tiny clusters of pearly white lozenges, almost invisible to the naked eye. Have you ever wondered how many times the garnish adorning a dish has been used? You might wonder if the bread has been on parade in the bread basket.

I have seen rats scurrying up the curtain in a restaurant in Ipoh, but the patrons merely laughed at the “playful” rats, and carried on eating. Produce, like vegetables, is stored on the wet floor, next to the toilets but you shrug your shoulders and wait patiently for your meal. We have seen some hawker stalls in which dishwashing involves dunking dishes into a bowl of murky water, before being stacked up for re-use.

If the parts of a restaurant that you can see are dirty, what about the bits you cannot see? As a rough guide to the standards of hygiene, try and check the toilets. If the customer toilets are dirty, just imagine what the kitchens are like, where only members of staff are allowed.

Are government statistics available which tell us how many people fall ill through food poisoning every year, and in which establishments – school or staff canteens, stalls, restaurants or takeaways? How many people were admitted to hospital and how many died?

Out of all the cases of food poisoning, how many people actually file an official complaint? What was the outcome of the complaint? Is an apology sufficient? Should one be paid compensation as well? When does the Health Ministry get involved? Do the health inspectors ever perform surprise checks?

Does the Health Ministry inspect the premises following a complaint and verify that the restaurant kitchen is unhygienic, as was claimed? We know that bacteria are dangerous, but vindictive and spiteful people can spread rumours that are just as poisonous.

On 15 November, Ipohites were shocked to learn that their popular nasi kandar restaurant, Perniagaan Nasi Kandar Ayam Merah, on Jalan Yang Kalsom, famed for its “Nasi Ganja” had its operating licence revoked by the Ipoh City Council.

According to Mayor Roshidi Hashim, the joint raid was “part of a scheduled raid” and the operator “had scored insufficient points” and had been ordered to close for 14 days, by the health authorities. The raid was done at 5pm on Thursday November 14 and the order to shut immediately was issued then.

The allegations which prompted the closure were stated on Facebook by a woman, who called herself Ze Aida. She blogged that a nasi kandar outlet had put faeces in the food.

On Friday November 15, an outraged manager of Perniagaan Nasi Kandar Ayam Merah, Mohd Nihmathullah Syed Mustaffa, convened a press conference and denied the allegations of faeces in the food. His business has been operating since 1955 and he challenged the media and the woman who started the furore to provide evidence instead of making defamatory remarks.

By Saturday November 16, Ze Aida had retracted her allegation and issued a public apology. The authorities had also inspected the premises and had no objections to the store re-opening. On Monday, November 17, the restaurant was back in business to the delight of its customers, who said that they had not believed the allegations.

Why did Ze Aida start malicious rumours and begin three days of hell, for the ‘nasi ganja’ owner?

The manager, Mohd Nihmathullah should demand compensation from the authorities for acting in an unprofessional manner. Ze Aida’s allegation almost ruined his business and the livelihoods of the people he employs. The Health Ministry must learn to investigate allegations and not make knee-jerk reactions.


Closing of The Year of Faith

Bishop Sebastian Francis closing the Year of Faith

Perak’s Deanery which is made up of twelve parishes in the state congregated on the grounds of OMPH Church Ipoh Garden to celebrate the Closing of the Year of Faith on Sunday November 24, the last Sunday of the catholic calendar before advent, the Christmas season.

Priests (above) and Altar Servers from the various Parishes

Bishop Sebastian Francis con-celebrated the mass together with priests and 5000 parishioners from the twelve parishes. During the celebration 230 children received their first Holy Communion.


The Closing of the Year of Faith which was celebrated globally was started on October 11, 2012. It is a call to Catholics to study and reflect on the documents of Vatican II and the catechism so that they may deepen their knowledge of the faith.

Bishop Francis in his homily announced that the year of faith for his diocese was a success as the number of catechumens being baptized had doubled compared to previous years.

faith 1a

Francis, read the message from the Pope which said that “upon entering the door of faith take the next step into The Light of Faith which is capable of illuminating every aspect of human existence.” He added that the theme for 2014 is “Discipleship: Called, Chosen, Sent”.


The parishioners, consisting of Chinese, Indians, Orang  Asli and East Malaysians, made up the congregation and the mass was conducted in four languages. The offertory was led by the different ethnic groups who were dressed in their own cultural attire.

Sign language

Interestingly, with all the different ethnic groups and languages, Bishop Francis added another language, sign language, when he led the congregation in prayer.

The theme for 2014 “Discipleship: Called, Chosen, Sent”.