Tag Archives: ipoh echo issue 129

Book Review: The Dulang Washer


Irishman Paul Callan and his Ipoh-born wife, Eve, shuttle between their homes in London and Kuala Lumpur. Paul is the author of first-time novel, The Dulang Washer, which tells the often troubling tale of suffering, hardship and brutality 19th century Chinese immigrant labourers had to endure while working the tin mines of Kinta Valley and beyond.

In a hard-hitting portrayal of their lives and times, Paul tells a fascinating and captivating story through the eyes of dulang washer, Aisha, a beautiful young Malay girl striving to support two families, while carrying a dark and terrifying secret.

Fook Sin, the mine’s treacherous, thieving proprietor, sees Aisha as his ultimate prize: the most desirable object he can add to his secret hoard of already ill-gotten treasures.

Aisha also becomes the object of obsession of the lonely, isolated and homesick Donald Redfern, an English overseer and only European at the mine. The human contact she offers him during language lessons she gives him, and the small gestures of compassion she shows him, fuel his desires for the dainty maiden.

Meanwhile, Hun Yee, an ambitious young Hakka miner shakes off the opium addiction that has insulated himself, and all his fellow miners, from the harshness of their daily struggles. He seeks to win Aisha over by attempting to start a mine of his own.

But the most disturbing of all is the dulang washer’s own feelings for those close to her. When events at the mine move towards their shocking conclusion, she is forced to re-examine her life.

Confronted with the love of a man prepared to turn his back on his country for her, will she finally seize her chance at happiness?

In an enjoyable page-turning read, The Dulang Washer is a book that is hard to put down.

The most difficult part about the book, according to Paul, was trying to write about tin mining without getting technical. Paul admitted to being a “technical dyslexic”. “I am hopeless in technical matters,” he says.

When researching for the book Paul had to travel regularly between Kuala Lumpur, where he lives, and Perak for two years. The journey has been painful but it was worth the effort. His next book is about Tamil Indians. “It’s a love story set in an oil palm plantation and will be available next year.”

The Dulang Washer (ISBN No: 978-967-5997-55-6) is published by MPH (Malaysian Publishing House). This 357-page book, priced at RM39.90, is sold at MPH and Popular outlets all over the country.


Housing Lots for Ex-Servicemen


Perak is the only state in the country that provides housing lots to ex-servicemen (Military and Police) on a regular basis. The housing lots are sold at a premium of RM500 only. Successful applicants can make use of the lots to build houses of their own design.

To date 7,000 lots have been given out in areas designated as Rancangan Perumahan Tersusun or Planned Housing Programme. The programme, according to Menteri Besar, Dato’ Seri DiRaja Dr Zambry Abd Kadir, will be extended to all districts in the state soon.

An additional 3,700 lots have been identified and will be parcelled out as part of Phase One of the on-going programme, which will be launched in the near future.

The Menteri Besar said this at a press conference following the opening of the Ex-Servicemen Association (Perak Chapter) Conference recently at the Banquet Hall of the State Secretariat Building, Ipoh.

Zambry gave the title to Wisma Pahlawan, the Perak Ex-Servicemen Office in Taman Meru, to the Perak Chapter’s president.

Present at the ceremony was association president, Datuk Muhammad Abdul Ghani. Muhammad Ghani urged members of the association, numbering some 348,000, to register themselves as voters and participate in the voting process. “The choice of political parties is not the issue here. What matters is your commitment,” he remarked.


Street Name Remains


Reader Sundralingam’s comment on Ipoh Echo’s website regarding Ipoh City Council’s propensity to change street names at the drop of a hat had elicited a response from the council. Sundralingam’s fear was the likelihood that Jalan Caldwell would undergo a name change.

William John Caldwell was a tin miner and co-founder of Sengat Estate in Kampung Kepayang, Ipoh. Caldwell was also an agent for the Straits Trading Company, established in 1886 dealing with tin-smelting business in Ipoh. He had, therefore, contributed to the growth of Ipoh in the early years.

In a letter to Ipoh Echo, dated August 22, the council had this to say. Here is the English translation:

“The changing of street names is subjected to existing council by-laws. It is also based on the needs of the area in question. Jalan Caldwell shall remain Jalan Caldwell, as an application for a name-change by the street naming sub-committee was rejected by the council on June 15.”

Ipoh City Council’s action to allay the fear is appreciated. Let us have more of this, MBI.


Taxi Parking Bays Needed for Railway Station


When I went to pick up my friend from the Railway Station, two taxis, without the drivers, were parked in the pickup area for passengers. A long row of cars were queuing behind the taxis waiting for their turn, not knowing that the two taxis were parked permanently. This caused additional congestion.

There is no dedicated parking area for taxis in the railway station. Taxis are parked all over the place. MBI must reserve four parking bays in front of the pickup area for taxis. A signboard must also be placed indicating the fare to various destinations from the station as is being done at Medan Gopeng bus terminal. The taxis are charging a minimum of RM10 for a journey.

A. Jeyaraj

Ipoh Also Got Talent


If you feel you have the talent to sing, dance or even act then you may want to take part in YMCA’s “Ipoh Also Got Talent” contest.

The preliminary will be held on November 19 and 20 with the finals on December 3. It is open to all contestants from the ages of 10-30. Contestants can perform in the language of their choice. There is a RM10 entry fee.

According to YMCA’s Organising Chairman, Daniel Lim, the contest is being organised to reach a larger group of young people between the ages of 10-30. This replaces its Ideal Teen Contest which the YMCA had organised in previous years.

Details of the contestants will be posted on a Facebook page. Judging will be similar to the Idol format, that is, 30% voting via Facebook and 70% by the judges. The closing date to submit entry forms is October 15.


Micro-Credit Makes Faizul’s Day


For five long years Muhammad Faizul Karim laboured on the five-foot way to earn a living mending shoes for his customers. Today he operates from a rented shop lot in Pekan Razaki, Sungai Rokam, Ipoh. Although he is shielded from the elements, it is still not enough. “What I really need is a shoe-stitching machine which will help improve my efficiency,” he told Ipoh Echo when met recently.

The economy of skill that comes with the machine is the underlining factor. Faizul could heave a sigh of relief, as his application for a micro-credit loan was approved by Yayasan Bina Upaya Darul Ridzuan sometime ago. He received the RM6,000 loan in late July, just before the fasting month. “I’ve placed an order for the said machine from its manufacturer in Taiwan and am awaiting its arrival,” he said.

Faizul is appreciative of YBU’s efforts in lifting the living standards of the poor and the marginalised in Perak. “I wonder what would’ve happened if there’s no such scheme in place?” he enjoined.

With a shoe-stitching machine, Faizul can double his efforts at repairing shoes. He has a steady stream of customers who use his services and despite his shortcomings, keep coming again and again. “I charge them accordingly. I guess their repeat appearance is testimony of the quality of service I render,” he said.

All said and done, YBU has one satisfied customer on hand who appreciates what the foundation does for people like him. Faizul has started repaying his loan. The low interest rate charged is a plus factor. “Paying RM170 a month is not a burden to me,” he added.


SMJK Yuk Choy Ipoh Principal Retires


SMJK Yuk Choy’s principal Mr. Lee Hah retired last month after 32 years of service. He started as a teacher in SMJK Ayer Tawar, Dindings, and SMJK Menglembu, and later as a lecturer at Ipoh Hulu Kinta Teachers Training College. Besides that he has served as principal in SMK Methodist (ACS), Sungai Siput (U) and SMK Bercham, Ipoh. During his tenure at SMJK Yuk Choy, various programmes to instil discipline, co-curriculum activities and academic excellence among students were carried out. SMJK Yuk Choy Cadet Police Corp has emerged champion in the Inter-School North Kinta District this year and produced the best Perak State SPM 2010 student.

Among those present at the farewell were representatives from State Education Department, Encik Ahmad Shaker bin Lazim; North Kinta Education District, Tuan Haji Abdul Aziz bin Mat Jais; Chairman SMJK Yuk Choy’s Board of Governors, Mr Leong Foh Sen; Chairman of Parents and Teachers Association and Chairman of SMJK Yuk Choy Old Boys Association.

In his speech, Lee urged the students to be courageous and contribute back to the school. He hopes that SMJK Yuk Choy will continue to perform with excellence in the years to come. He managed to raise RM22,000 for the new five-storey building fund and handed over the mock cheque to the Chairman of the Board of Directors.

Unfettered Development in Canning


By Fathol Zaman Bukhari

Two wrongs don’t make a right. It is illogical for one to commit not one or two but many wrongs and yet be considered right by the authorities…

Just as the furore over the proposed columbarium in Ipoh Garden East subsides, another issue pops up which will give City Council some anxious moments. This has nothing to do with the dead or the maimed or the disabled but has much to do with the living. It is about the way some very arrogant residents go about doing their business without a thought for the feelings and safety of their neighbours. It is about the insensitivity of some whose only concern is their bloated egos. It is about the “tidak apa” attitude of the authorities and about some pitiful souls being given the run-around.

Canning Garden is synonymous with the growth of Ipoh. The wealth of its populace is often associated with the areas they live and work. If you live and commute from Thompson Road (Jalan Tun Dr Ismail), Tiger Lane and Jalan Golf Club you are from the privileged class. If you are from Canning Garden and Ipoh Garden you are next in line and if you are from Buntong and Kampong Kepayang, well, you are nowhere near those from Thompson Road and Tiger Lane. This is a norm and although no longer relevant in this time and age, the lingering doubt is never easy to erase. Ask any Ipohite. Chances are he or she will cringe if you say you are from Buntong and lights up when you say you are one of those from the gated communities of Meru Valley.

Built in the late 1950s, Canning Garden is located in a preferred zone with easy access to downtown Ipoh and the commercial centre of Greentown. It has all the facilities that a resident would wish for – hospital, clinics, boutiques, salons, market, post office and most of all, hawker centres that cater to the gastronomical needs of the masses. I am referring to Hollywood and Woolley, where the food happenings are.

So being a resident of Canning Garden is something to gloat about. Like they say, if you cannot have the best, the next best is desirous. I know of many who would give an arm and a leg to be in Canning. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs best describes the ascending needs of humans. When one need is being satisfied it no longer motivates the person, the next higher need takes its place. Having an abode in Canning may be self-actualization, the apex of Maslow’s Theory of Needs, to some.

Now let us move to the issue in hand. Residents of Canning are up in arms, literally, over the propensity of the moneyed to renovate their properties beyond the norms. Renovation in Canning Garden terms is not about building a decent porch or extending the living room or the kitchen. It defies logic when one builds a three-storey building that obstructs residents’ views and reshapes the whole neighbourhood. Greed, and maybe vanity, could be the underpinning reason. But it is downright outrageous for some to turn their backs on their friends just because the person down the road has built a mansion for himself. It is an open season for completion. Unless the authorities step in, there is no telling what will come next?

The Local Government Act 1976 and, to some extent, the Town and Country Planning Act 1976, are explicit about provisions regarding the renovation of properties, collection of levies (assessment), the prohibition on development without permission and the ensuing penalties. I wonder why Majlis Bandaraya Ipoh (MBI) does not come hard on those who contravene these by-laws with impunity.

Could ignorance be the reason? Or is there an element of complicity involved? I will not delve into the nitty-gritty. Suffice to say that little or nothing is done to correct the wrongs. Two wrongs don’t make a right, as the proverb goes. It is illogical for one to commit not one or two but many wrongs and yet be considered right by the authorities.

The ball is now at the feet of those wronged (by the actions of the few) to take up the issue with MBI. Take a cue from the residents of Ipoh Garden East. They made their woes known and in the process reaped the harvest. Keeping mum is not an option. The responsible and concerned few should take the lead. Period.

Alumni-Owned Cyber Café


Mindful of the problems students of Polytechnic Ungku Omar (PUO), Ipoh face whenever in need of computers and the Internet to complete their written assignments, members of the polytechnic’s alumni chipped in to build a cyber café within the campus. This is the first ever cyber café to be built in any polytechnic in the country.

The café has 25 desk-top computers equipped with colour printers. They have high-speed broadband connection, something rarely seen at run-of-the-mill cyber cafés. The cost to build the café came to a staggering RM78,000. “This effort by former PUO students is to help enhance the academic excellence of the polytechnic,” said Mazealan Mansor, president of PUO Alumni. “It has helped to improve students’ preparedness and safety. They no longer need to leave the campus to get to the nearest cyber café,” he said.

Students pay a RM50 fee upon graduation to be life members of the alumni. This was revealed to Ipoh Echo by former PUO Director, Mohamad Jayus Bunasir, the man behind the formation of the ex-student association.

“Presently, there are over 10,000 members registered with the association,” he said. Older students who were not registered have to pay RM100 to be life members. “It’s hoped that the formation of the association would help instil love and attachment for the alma mater by former students, just like other premier schools in the city,” remarked Mohamad Jayus.

The in-house cyber café is open for business from 8.00 a.m. to 8.00 p.m. daily. It charges users RM1.50 an hour, much cheaper than the privately-run cafés in Taman Cempaka.


Perak’s Own Home Grown Brand – Making a Mark in Education


By See Foon Chan-Koppen

Tenby Schools which started as a small international school in Ipoh, is now a rapidly expanding group of integrated schools comprising an international and a Malaysian private school on each campus. With the opening of Tenby in Miri, Sarawak, together with Tenby Schools in Penang, Setia Eco Park in Shah Alam and its parent in Ipoh, Tenby Schools can proudly stand tall as one of the largest educational groups in

Malaysia offering an international education with an affordability factor to make it accessible to many more young people.

Tenby Schools Setia Eco Park, Shah Alam
Tenby Schools Setia Eco Park, Shah Alam

“A United World At Peace – Through Education”

Tenby Schools’ origins lie in a small kindergarten opened in 1960 in the church hall of St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Ipoh, Perak. The school was founded by Mrs Dorothy Nelson-Doig to cater to children of British planters, miners and soldiers. It was named Tenby after her hometown, a small fishing port in Wales.
Over the years, what started as a kindergarten evolved into an international school for both primary and secondary students and by 2001 a private Malaysian school was established to operate alongside the international school on the same campus. In July 2011, their first batch of A-level students achieved outstanding results.
The concept of an integrated school was not only well received by the local community; it is also the source and inspiration of the school’s vision of creating “A United World At Peace – Through Education”.

Tenby Schools Ipoh
Tenby International School, Miri

Rapid Growth
In 2005, Tenby Schools spread its wings to Penang when it took over the ailing Sri Inai School. The steady improvement and development of this school, culminated in the move to a new campus at Tanjung Bungah in August 2011, providing quality international and local education to the community of Penang.
The highly successful Tenby Schools Setia Eco Park in Shah Alam is the first purpose-built school within the group. In less than two years since its establishment in 2008, the school has become one of the most popular and dynamic schools in the Klang Valley. Today, the school hosts a student population of around 1,400 from Early Years to Secondary and is set to open a Sixth Form in 2012.

Shell Chooses Tenby
The latest addition to the Tenby Schools family is Tenby International School, Miri in Sarawak. One of the oldest international schools in Malaysia, the school was established by Shell for the children of its expatriates. When Shell made the decision to open the school to a wider range of students, it invited 13 providers of education both Malaysian and International, to present their operational qualifications and track records.
As testimony to their winning educational formula of an international education coupled with affordability, Tenby was chosen and in September this year, welcomed their first batch of Secondary students. The commitment from Tenby was to expand and take in both Malaysian and other expatriate children aside from Shell employees as well as to open a brand new campus in two years time.
A school planned for Johor will, on its opening in 2013, make Tenby the largest educational group in Malaysia.

‘Beacon’ Schools
The Tenby Educare group was founded by the late Dato’ K.K. Lim, a successful entrepreneur who was passionate about education reform and had dreams of “A United World at Peace – Through Education” which became the Vision for Tenby Schools. He wanted Tenby schools to be “beacon” schools, shining their light on dark areas of the educational system in Malaysia. This is reflected through its mission and actions, which are geared towards developing global citizens of the future who are culturally sensitive and respectful towards others. Tenby students are also groomed to be effective communicators and internationally minded lifelong learners.

Robert Lloyd, Director of Education

Man at the Helm
I spoke to Robert Lloyd, Director of Education for Tenby Schools and the man at the helm, on the explosive growth and his plans for the group. Robert, a veteran educator with a Masters degree in Education from University of London, first came to Malaysia in 2001 as head of the Garden International Secondary School in Kuala Lumpur. He joined Tenby in 2008 initially to set up the Tenby School in Shah Alam. Now as head of the group, his mandate is to develop the brand and establish as many Tenby schools throughout Malaysia as is viable.

International Education
Robert’s interest in international education began when he was Principal at Hendon UK, a government school with a wide range of children from different cultural backgrounds and different mother tongues. A twinning programme with a school in Malaysia brought him out regularly and when the offer to join the Garden International School came, Robert took the job with alacrity.
Joining Tenby provided Robert with the springboard to turn his ideas into reality. “Tenby schools occupy a unique niche in the education scene in Malaysia. On one side are the International schools staffed by a preponderance of expat teachers, charging very high fees, most of which paid by the companies who employ expatriates and on the other extreme, much cheaper private schools staffed entirely by Malaysians offering an international curriculum. Tenby is in the middle with affordable fees staffed by a teacher mix of ⅓ expatriate and ⅔ Malaysian with both an international and national curriculum,” he said.

Corporate Team (L-R): Kelvin Leong (IT Administrator), Jasmine Ooi (Corporate HR Manager), Michelle Chan (Group Financial Controller), Dr. Goh Kok Keng (Director of Staff Training & Development), Robert Lloyd, Denise Sinclair (School Improvement & Development Manager), Edwin Tan (Business Development Manager), Emily Thong (Accounts Executive), Yeun Yin Fong (Senior Marketing & Communications Executive), Faye Chin (Administration Assistant)

Stranmillis College Link
“I believe training is vital to our success and we put a lot of resources into training our teachers. We have links with Stranmillis College, a part of Queen’s University in Belfast where Professor George Beale comes out for a month each year to monitor and evaluate the quality of our teaching programmes. The rest of the time, the experienced expat teachers act as trainers and role models for the local teachers under the guidance of Dr. Goh Kok Kheng a former principal and experienced educationist from Penang who is responsible for training across the group. We even send some of our local teachers to the UK for intensive training,” he added.

Happy children learning through play

English Speaking, Global Minds
But why would parents pay to send their children to Tenby Schools for the national curriculum albeit the fees being lower than those for the International, when the local schools are free? “We currently have 60% of our students enrolled in the International curriculum and 40% in the Malaysian. Our classes are small with a maximum total of 25 per class, compared to the local schools where classes are much larger. Where it’s a Malay or mother-tongue speaking environment in local schools, ours is all in English which helps to raise the level of English for those in the Malaysian curriculum. Consider also the priceless advantage of raising children in a multi-cultural setting where they’re rubbing shoulders with expats from all over the world. Our students learn to think globally and from a young age are taught to evaluate the consequences of their actions on other individuals, the community and the environment. If you’re preparing a child for the world stage when they leave school, be it for a foreign university or an international work assignment, then this is the kind of education you’d want for your child,” he enthused.

Mdm Lee Yam Sei, Director of Tenby Schools Ipoh

Improving Quality
What of plans for the future? “We have begun to accelerate our drive for improved quality and have recently hired Denise Sinclair from the UK as School Improvement and Development Manager. Her designation says it all. We have also introduced Baseline testing for new students which are used by many international schools. This tests for Literacy, Numeracy and IQ, and will be the first time in Malaysia that it is used for children following the Malaysian curriculum.”
He explains that it is Tenby Schools’ aim to make international education and the opportunity for developing global citizens accessible to as many young people as possible by means of affordable fees and the provision of scholarships.
Well, if I had young children, I’d be rushing to get places for them.