Tag Archives: Ipoh Echo Issue 150

Empowering Women Through Education


Perak Women For Women Society (PWW)Some 50 participants at the Women’s Health and Wellness Seminar held at St Mike’s Bistro Restaurant, Ipoh took home some invaluable tips on ways to stay healthy and young. The seminar was organised by Perak Women For Women Society (PWW) as part of its effort to help and empower women through education.

The three topics covered were “Skin & Photo-Aging”, “Breast Cancer” and “Botox and Fillers”. President of PWW, Dr Sharifah Halimah Jaafar delivered the first and third topics while Dr Sumithra Sivasuntharam covered the second.

Dr Sharifah explained the functions of our skin, the largest organ in a human body. It was then followed by definition of Photo-Aging. It means to look older than one’s actual biological age. There are many causes which lead to this but in Malaysia the main culprit is the harmful effects of ultraviolet rays from the sun. Fortunately, most of these could be prevented, like using suitable skincare products, appropriate sunscreen and external sun block apparatus like a hat and an umbrella. Dr Sharifah also taught us the beneficial ingredients that we should look out for in skincare products available in the market.

Dr Sumithra shared her experience as a Consultant General Surgeon and the breast cancer cases that she has handled. Unfortunately, there are no preventive measures to take to stop breast cancer from afflicting us, but early detection is the key to surviving this debilitating disease. It is the most common form of cancer in women in Malaysia. It even affects men. However, the two major risks are age and being of the feminine gender.

Dr Sumithra stressed the importance of self examination and the need to see a doctor should physical changes happen to the breast. Breast cancer is a “silent killer” as sufferers do not experience pain or symptoms.

The third and final topic on Botox and Fillers by Dr Sharifah was just as interesting. In layman’s language, she unraveled the differences between Botox and Fillers commonly used in aesthetic medicine, and the uses of Botox or Fillers in the different parts of our face. In her slide show, she also presented ‘Before and After” photos of celebrities who underwent Botox treatments. She, however, cautioned that some people may experience complications which would worsen one’s looks.


MBI Must Get Date Right


First I must say that I am not nitpicking on a typo error. The signboard concerned is in front of the pick-up area of passengers in the railway station and in a strategic location. The railway station is one of the main gateways to Ipoh.

The signboard in front of the passenger pick-up area giving particulars of the project being carried out in the field opposite the station states that the completion date is July 15, 2012; the same date is given on the signboard placed in front of the Town Hall. Only ground work is being done and maybe the year must be wrong.

Passengers waiting for transport have nothing to do and read the signboard which is in front of them. I also read it while waiting for transport and another passenger standing beside me pointed out the error as well.

This error may be considered insignificant, but it gives a bad impression of MBI to tourists and visitors on how they manage their projects. It shows the calibre of people they employ. The error should be corrected immediately and the correct completion date given. MBI staff must be more alert and prevent embarrassments like this.

I feel bad when outsiders point out these things to me.

A. Jeyaraj

Fire Guts Home


On the night of Saturday, August 25 at around 9pm an electrical malfunction set ablaze the home of widow Roshayati Abdullah, 43, and her family. The house was located in the centre of Sitiawan behind the mosque.

The blaze could be seen from a distance, as the smoke billowed into the night sky. The fire department was alerted and the firemen worked relentlessly for over two hours before the flames were completely put out.

Roshayati has three children and a grandson. The fire victims were visibly shaken, as the house was completely burnt down. The family fell into hardship after the father developed renal failure and died.

Political parties’ officials and some good Samaritans are mobilising relief aid for the family. A representative from the District Welfare Department also provided some rations and temporary accommodation.

Members of the public who wish to contribute towards the welfare of the family may contact Roshayati’s son, Raja Ahmad Aizat, 21, at 012-5091394.


‘30 Hour-Famine’ Event in Ipoh


Three hundred young adults and students participated in World Vision’s annual 30-Hour Famine which was held at St Michael’s Church Hall on August 4 and 5 recently.

The 30-Hour Famine is a global movement against hunger and poverty where participants go without food for 30 hours to experience the dire conditions that children and families endure every day. Their experience also raises funds to care for the needy both locally and globally.

World VisionThe participants ‘famine’ started in Ipoh at 10am on Saturday and ended at 4pm at Stadium Melawati Shah Alam the next day where close to 17,000 Malaysians had gathered for the countdown to break their fast.

This year’s 30-hour famine event in Ipoh was jointly organised by Persatuan Belia Faces and Malaysia Fenion Chinese Club. The event was officiated by former MCA President Dato’ Seri Ong Tee Keat.

Co-organiser Patrick Ng of Persatuan Belia Faces said the Ipoh camp collected RM24,000 from the event. One of the beneficiaries of the fund is Yayasan Sin Chew Retirement Village which is open to homeless seniors and self-sponsored seniors.


The Rising Cost Of Living


By Louise Sim & See Foon Chan-Koppen

Ipoh, the city which tin built, has lost its lustre as a town with low cost of living. The price of everything, ranging from edibles to non-edibles, has gone up and appears to be on the increase. Gone are the days where one could get a decent meal at a low price here. Some even complain prices in Ipoh are on par with cities like Kuala Lumpur and Penang. So how do people cope?

 Eating out is oftentimes more economical than cooking at home

Retiree K.S. Lim, 70, said he spends about RM50 daily to buy meat and vegetables for his small family of seven. “Sometimes the RM50 is not enough for our lunch and dinner,” said the grandfather of two. Lim said that due to supply and demand of foodstuff, some foods tend to be more expensive than other types of edibles during certain times.

Citing fish as an example, Lim said river fish will be highly sought after when fishermen don’t go to sea due to bad weather. “Consumers can expect to pay a high price for river fish if they insist on eating fish during monsoon seasons,” he explained. When such situations arise, Lim said he would change to other types of meat like poultry or pork. “But if on days all meats are expensive, we will have vegetarian meals,” he quipped.

Ipoh Not Cheaper than Penang

Private sector employee, who wished to be known as M. Kaur, 36, said she used to think cost of living was lower in Ipoh prior to her transfer from Penang. “So you can imagine my shock when I found out it was the opposite after I relocated here,” she said. The mother of one said food formed a major part of her budget. “Due to my work schedule and having a toddler to take care of, I seldom cook and my husband and I normally eat out,” she said.

“I can attest to you it is not cheap to eat out in Ipoh, contrary to claims by people otherwise,” she added. Besides food, Madam Kaur also complained about the high cost of public transport within the city. “Recently my mother, who came to visit me from Penang, had to take a taxi from town to my house in Meru,” she said. “Can you believe the taxi driver charged her RM18 for the journey?” she exclaimed. “And I thought it is more expensive to take taxis in cities like Kuala Lumpur,” she smirked.

High Cost of Taxis

Echoing Madam Kaur, her friend Reena Raj, 28, said a taxi ride from the railway station to her home at Taman Tinggi, which is next to First Garden, cost her RM13. “It is a mere 6 km drive but it cost me RM13 for the ride,” she said. “I vowed never to take taxis after that expensive experience,” she added.

Reena also noted that food costs are high in Ipoh. “I normally spend between RM20 and RM30 daily for my breakfast and lunch,” said the Kuala Lumpur lass. “And mind you, those places where I eat are not high class places,” she added.

Besides transport, Reena also complained about the high price of houses in Ipoh. “Prior to moving to Ipoh, I thought I could get a double storey house for RM200,000,” she said. “Imagine my shock when a 20’ by 75’ double storey house at First Garden is sold at RM330,000,” she said.

A. JeyarajHomecooking for Jeyaraj

For Ipoh Echo’s correspondent Jeyaraj, he says that home-cooked meals are his preference. “It must be noted that in home cooking, good grade rice is used, fresh and expensive vegetables are bought, expensive fish, good quality oil is used, ingredients are clean, masala may be homemade or bought from people making it at home, no colouring or preservatives are used and there is less salt. We can remove chicken skin and excessive fat from mutton and the food is cooked hygienically. Food is freshly cooked and stored properly. This for me is a healthy diet.” With his wife making her own masalas and hand grinding some of the ingredients, Jeyaraj reckons that he spends an average of RM990 a month for his family of two.

Rising Cost Of Living
The Kumar family

Other Family Food Expenditures

For Marketing Manager Ramesh Kumar, he and his family of four rely on eating out and takeaways. Spending an average of RM16 on breakfast, lunch and dinner, his very conservative estimate is RM1,440 per month which allows for very little in the way of treats for his two children.

Leong feeds his family of four for about RM1,650, with no frills. This would include what he classifies as a normal breakfast for RM20 or RM5 per person; a normal lunch of economy rice at RM4 per person (without beverage) averaging

Rising Cost Of Living
Rosli & Sarah

about RM600 per month and the same for dinner. Special breakfasts of dim sum would bring it up to about RM15 per head. Lunch and dinner at a restaurant consisting of 2 meats, 2 vegetables and 1 soup would average about RM17 per person whereas a homecooked meal of 1 meat, 1 fish, 1 vegetable and 1 soup with meat works out to the same amount. By the time one factors in the time, labour and costs of gas or electricity, this means that it is oftentimes cheaper to eat out than to cook at home.

For newly-married couple Rosli Mansor and his wife, eating out is the main option which costs the couple about RM1,200 a month while single Ed Shahir, spends about RM500 for his meals.

Perak Consumers Association

Rising Cost Of Living, Perak Consumers Association
Abdul Rahman Said Alli
President of Perak Consumers Association

Perak Consumers Association president Abdul Rahman Said Alli when contacted, blamed the high cost of living in Ipoh on the Government’s plans of wanting to turn Malaysia into a high-income nation by 2020.

“Why must we be so obsessed with becoming a high-income nation?” he questioned. He claimed that by pushing the country towards high-income, traders also push to have higher income by increasing their prices.

He said the problem is more evident during festive seasons when the price of everything skyrockets. “And I am not talking about the controlled price items,” he said.

He said the association had been receiving calls from the concerned public daily, over difficulties in making ends meet. “Our advice to them is to try to look for alternatives,” he said, adding that many people are working two jobs nowadays just to ensure there is enough income for the family.

Chinese Arts Exhibition


An art exhibition showcasing the works of Perak’s well-known Chinese artists was held at the Sokkakai Association building at Jalan Pegoh on Saturday, August 25. Over 100 Chinese paintings and calligraphy were on show for the general public. The event was officially launched by Dato’ Dr Mah Hang Soon, Executive Councillor for Non-Muslim Affairs. Mah donated RM5000 to the Sokkakai Association towards ensuring that the week-long exhibition was a success. The artworks of 20 local Chinese artists were on display in the building’s makeshift gallery.


Lenggong Valley - UNESCO World Heritage Site

Lenggong Valley – UNESCO World Heritage Site


UNESCO World Heritage SiteOn Saturday, June 30 United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) declared Lenggong Valley as a World Heritage Site. Visitors accessing UNESCO’s World Heritage website on Lenggong http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1396 will be intrigued with the description of the site. It states, “The property includes four archaeological sites in two clusters which span close to 2 million years, one of the longest records of early man in a single locality, and the oldest outside the African continent.”

It features open-air and cave sites with Paleolithic tool workshops, evidence of an early Paleolithic technology. The number of sites found in this relatively confined area suggests the presence of “a fairly large, semi-sedentary population with cultural remains from the Paleolithic, Neolithic and Metal Age.”

The whole valley has so much to offer. Due to the number of relatively undisturbed sites, which are generally in good condition, the whole Lenggong Valley provides a wonderful testimony of a pre-historic site over a prolonged period of time in human history thus underlining its Outstanding Universal Value for both present and future generations.

The valley is surrounded by hills and limestone outcrops, Tasek Raban and bordered by the Perak River.

Its close proximity to a lake and river plus abundant flora and fauna, made it a suitable location to sustain “a fairly large, semi-sedentary population from early Stone Age (Palaeolithic) to Metal Age, through late Stone Age (Neolithic).”

Lenggong Valley - UNESCO World Heritage SiteThe river was a source of raw material for making stone tools such as hand axes. “The undisturbed in situ Paleolithic stone tool workshops, located on the shores of a paleo lake and an ancient river, are an outstanding ensemble of lithic (stone age) technology.

Evidence of a hand axe dating as far back as 1.83 million years was discovered at Bukit Bunoh embedded in suevite rock, providing strong evidence of human existence at the time and earlier.

Suevite rock is formed as a result of a meteorite impact which occurred at Bukit Bunoh. The discovery of suevite at Bukit Bunoh is, currently, the only evidence of its existence in South East Asia. The stone tool workshops at Bukit Jawa date back 300,000 to 200,000 years, while the Kota Tampan workshop goes back 74,000 years.

At the limestone outcrop of Bukit Kepala Gajah, 20 caves have been identified. One of the caves, Gua Gunung Runtuh is where the Perak Man, dating back 11,000‑10,000 b.p was discovered in 1990.

The Perak Man was buried in a foetal position and is the most complete human skeleton found in South East Asia. His remains had been dated to 10,120 BP. Another two caves at this karst outcrop, Gua Teluk Kelawar and Gua Kajang, have also revealed prehistoric burials.

At Gua Badak cave paintings adorn the walls of a rock face. Once a cave, it has since collapsed due to quarrying activities done earlier.

Over at Bukit Sapi one can see volcanic ash which was carried over from Lake Toba after a super volcanic eruption 75,000 years ago. A mapping survey done in 2007 revealed that the ash was spread over an area 70km wide with a depth of between 7 to 10 meters.

Visitors to Lenggong Valley are encouraged to visit the Lenggong Archaeological Museum located at Kota Tampan first in order to get an overview of the archaeological attractions of the valley.

The Gallery exhibits and explains the various archaeological projects that took place over the last 25 years, such as the Perak Man and cave paintings among others.

Behind the Gallery is the Kota Tampan dig site a 74,000 year old stone tool workshop, a Geology Garden and a 4-story tower for a tree-top view of the Valley

Lenggong Valley is located 100 km north of Ipoh. To get there take North-South Expressway and exit via the Kuala Kangsar junction.

After the toll gate take the trunk road leading to Grik. Along the highway keep a look out for signage to the Gallery/Museum.

Bukit Bunoh

Lenggong Valley, Unesco World Heritage SiteLenggong Valley, Unesco World Heritage SiteBukit Bunoh is one of the oldest prehistoric archaeological sites in the world outside of Africa. Evidence of a civilisation dating back 1.83 million years ago was verified after a rock embedded with a hand axe was dated.  Using the fission-track dating method, the result revealed that the age of the rock was 1.83 million years old and the rock was suevite stone.

Suevite stone is formed upon impact by a meteorite which causes native stones to melt forming a new stone suevite.

The discovery of the hand axe embedded in the suevite stone indicated the existence of a prehistoric civilisation much earlier than 1.83million years.

Subsequent findings of stone tools made of suevite stone dating 40,000 and 30,000 years back indicate that this was the only Paleolithic site in the world that functioned as a workshop for making stone tools and continued to be used periodically.

The evidence at Bukit Bunoh also questions the Nomadic theory of the Paleolithic culture.

Lenggong Archaeological Gallery Kota Tampan

Lenggong Valley, Unesco World Heritage SiteAll visitors to Lenggong Valley are encouraged to visit the Lenggong Archaeological Gallery first. The gallery, located at Kota Tampan, was initially called the Kota Tampan Archaeological Museum. It houses a comprehensive display of historical photos of earlier archaeological digs around the Lenggong Valley and its findings such as cave drawings, types of stone tools, bronze findings as well as a diorama that shows prehistoric families going about their daily routines.

The Perak Man is given his own corner complete with a replica and details on his background.

The Kota Tampan dig site which is also the site of a prehistoric stone tool workshop dating back 74,000 years is located at the back of the Gallery.

Next to it is the Geology Park where suevite rocks from Bukit Bunoh are on display. Further up the hill is a 4-storey viewing tower for visitors to have a view of Lenggong Valley.

Lenggong Valley, Unesco World Heritage SiteBukit Sapi (75,000 years old)

Located at Bukit Sapi is volcanic ash deposited from the volcanic eruption that occurred at Lake Toba, Sumatra 75,000 years ago. The locals call this debu Toba or Toba Ash.

The Toba super eruption deposited ash throughout South East Asia. In 2007, a mapping survey of the Valley by University Sains Malaysia revealed that the ash was spread 70km around the valley and had a depth of between 7-10 metres.

Lenggong Valley, Unesco World Heritage SiteBukit Jawa  (200,000 years old)

The Bukit Jawa site dates back 200,000 years. The location was a workshop for making stone tools. The finding reveals evidence of the Paleolithic culture and technology during that particular period.

Gua Kajang

Gua Kajang is one of 20 caves at Bukit Kepala Gajah. It is a short tunnel cave that takes one through Bukit Kepala Gajah. This archaeological site was first researched in 1917 by I.H.N. Evans. A 10,000-year-old skeleton was discovered buried here in a folded state along with stone tools, food wastes and pottery.

At the other end of the cave is a wooden walkway that takes one to three other caves within the Bukit Kepala Gajah outcrop.

Gua Badak Cave Drawings

Lenggong Valley, Unesco World Heritage SiteLenggong Valley, Unesco World Heritage SiteAt Gua Badak the significance of this cave is its drawings. The drawings were made by the Lanoh Negritos using charcoal  who also scratched the drawings into the rock cliff walls.

The drawings were discovered as early as 1918 by Evans but was thought to have been lost due to quarrying until they were rediscovered in 1992.

They depict matchstick men hunting animals with bows and arrows, which was subsequently replaced by blowpipes.

Gua Gunung Runtuh

Lenggong Valley, Unesco World Heritage SiteLenggong Valley, Unesco World Heritage SiteGua Gunung Runtuh is located atop of Bukit Kepala Gajah. The existence of human settlement, dating some 13,000 years ago, was found in this cave. However, the most significant discovery is the Perak Man.

Dating back 11,000 to 10,000 years, it is the most complete human skeleton found in South East Asia. It is the only prehistoric human skeleton in the world with a congenital deformity called Brachymesophalangia Type 2.

He was buried in a foetal position together with stone tools and thousands of riverine shells. He was 154cm tall and aged between 40-45 years. Information about the Perak Man can be gleaned at the Lenggong Archaeological Gallery.

The discovery of Perak Man has provided a lot of information about life during that Paleolithic period such as beliefs, diet, technology, race, gender and disease.

Gua Harimau

Lenggong Valley - UNESCO World Heritage Site
Bronze Axe

Excavation work at Gua Harimau which began in 1987 discovered a human burial site dating between 5000-2000 years ago.

This is an important archaeological site because it revealed the discovery of burial goods which included pottery and a bronze axe dated around 4000 years ago not to mention the presence of bronze molds indicating the production of metal products

Gua Teluk Kelawa

Lenggong Valley, Unesco World Heritage SiteGua Teluk Kelawar is another cave found within Bukit Kepala Gajah. The findings indicate that the cave was used as a shelter some 10,000 to 6,000 years ago. Besides evidence of stone tools and food wastes, a female skeleton (GTK 1), buried 8000 years ago, was found here.



Lenggong Accommodation

The Lenggong Rest House
Located in Lenggong Town at Jalan Alang Iskandar.
Rates start from RM80-RM200.
Contact: 605-7678 702 / 6019-5793 414


Lenggong Perak MalaysiaTasik Raban Resort
Located along the Kulala Kangsar – Grik trunk road on the banks of Tasik Raban about 12 km from Lenggong Town.
Rates start from RM80-RM250.
Contact: 605-7512 799 / 6019-5763 414

UTAR Student Receives Murata Scholarship Award


Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR)Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) Faculty of Engineering and Green Technology (FEGT) student Lim Boon Kiat (pic, fourth from left) received the Murata Scholarship Award at an award presentation ceremony held in Batu Gajah, Perak.

Lim, a second year Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) Industrial Engineering student, received a scholarship award of RM30,000 from Murata Electronics (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd Managing Director, Mr Yoshihiro Tanaka (pic, left). The award presentation ceremony was witnessed by UTAR Vice President (R&D Commercialization) Professor Dr Lee Sze Wei, Dean of FEGT Dr Yap Vooi Voon, Head of Department of Industrial Engineering Mr Yang Chuan Choong, staff of Murata Electronics (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd and Lim’s family members.

According to Lim, who hails from Sungai Siput, Perak, the scholarship will greatly reduce his financial constraints. “Having gone through two stringent rounds of selection process, I am on cloud nine knowing that I am a recipient of this prestigious award,” rejoiced Lim, who will be bonded to Murata for three years upon graduation. Excited at the opportunity to serve a large, diversified conglomerate, Lim pledged to give his utmost dedication to the remaining years of his tertiary education.

Mr Tanaka congratulated Lim and hoped that the scholarship will drive more students to take up industrial engineering. He expressed hope to see more innovative ventures between UTAR and Murata in future.

Industrial engineering focuses on applying engineering principles to improve the performance of an integrated system involving man, material, method and machine in the manufacturing, industrial and service sectors. In short, industrial engineers help to improve productivity and quality.

Charity Musical Concert


Veteran singer and actor, Ho Fung, and his artiste friends from Malaysia and Singapore, took some one thousand guests down memory lane in a charity musical concert at the Kinta Riverfront Hotel recently. The event, which was organised by Perak Society for the Promotion of Mental Health, successfully raised over one hundred thousand Ringgit, which will go towards the society’s fund to build a multipurpose hall. Construction cost is estimated at RM200,000.

The hall will be available for rent for social functions in order to generate income for the society, which currently runs a halfway house in Tambun. It is home to a hundred psycho-social disabled women. Mental illnesses come in many forms like depression, anxiety and suicidal tendencies and could afflict anyone at any time.

At the function, Ipoh City Councillor Ir. Lai Kong Phooi, who represented Executive Councillor, Dato’ Dr Mah Hang Soon, announced an allocation of RM3000 to the society as a token of appreciation. Lai personally pledged his one-month councillor’s allowance to the society.

“Ho Fung and his Troupe”, including charity queen Datin Maylene Yong, Choy Weng, Helen Lim, Fong Choi Yan, Chu Ai Fong, Yip Yoke Heng, Phan Mei Yuen and Mary Fong rendered oldies in English, Mandarin and Cantonese. Even Ipoh socialite Datin Janet Yeoh, one of the advisers of the organising committee, was not left out of the action. She delivered two songs, one of them a duet with Ho Fung, to the delight of the guests.


Talk on Lenggong Valley


A talk on Lenggong Valley recently by Professor Dr Mokhtar Saidin, Director of the Centre for Global Archaeological Research, USM, received a very good response from government authorities and tourism stakeholders.

Lenggong Valley was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in June this year for having evidence of human occupation from 1.83 million years to 1000 years ago, one of the longest prehistoric sequences in the world.

At the Q & A later Mokhtar stated that an integrated management plan for the preservation of Lenggong Valley has been initiated and has to be submitted to UNESCO by 2014.

A committee has been established to draft the plan headed by the National Heritage Department who is working together in close collaboration with the State, Lenggong District Council and Town and Country Planning Department.

The Management Plan will look into all aspects of managing Lenggong Valley such as conservation and preservation, the dos and don’ts about conducting tours at an archaeological site as well as tour packages. Failure to submit the plan can place Lenggong Valley in danger of having its World Heritage Status revoked by UNESCO.

Currently the Lenggong Galery is being renovated to house the World Heritage Office. Lenggong Gallery already has its gallery of up-to-date exhibits of the whole valley, a service counter, brochures and in time to come tour packages. A current concern is the lack of tourist guides. Currently 20 are being trained and are due to receive their badges later this year.