Tag Archives: Ipoh Echo Issue 150

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.


Constitution is for Everyone


Chan Kok KeongThe Federal Constitution, although extensively amended, is still the supreme law and is, arguably, the most important document in the day-to-day administration of the country.

Constitutional expert, Chan Kok Keong spoke at the Kinta Rotary Club recently and said the Federal Constitution embodied the ideals of the nation as exhorted by first Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman, namely Malaysia as a Constitutional Monarchy, practising parliamentary democracy and protection of fundamental liberties such as life, equality, religion and liberty.

The Proclamation of Independence on August 31, 1957 gave the Constitution its legitimacy, said, Chan. Therefore, the Constitution should be taught to schoolchildren, as they have to swear allegiance to the Constitution when they grow up.

“It is an invaluable working document and should be understood by one and all, young and old.  It should not be the property of lawyers, politicians or government ministries only. It’s for everyone,” said Chan. Unfortunately, there is no text book on the constitution for secondary school students.

“Although drafted by foreign experts, namely, Sir Ivor Jennings, there was considerable input given to the making of the Constitution by the Alliance Party, led by Tunku Abdul Rahman,” Chan added. “The drafters of the document adopted a balance formula.”

Among the articles in the Constitution which adopted the balance formula is the one on freedom of worship even though Islam is the official religion.

“Malay as the national language of the country but statutory recognition was given to other languages by prescribing that Malaysians, whatever race or creed, have a legitimate and fundamental right to preserve their own language script and culture,” Chan remarked.


Raya Roundup


Dato’ Hamidah Osman

On the first day, at the home of State Exco for Industry and Tourism, Dato’ Hamidah Osman, at Batu Gajah it was a quiet yet warm gathering together with the members of the Osman family which included Dato’ Hamidah’s parents, sisters and brother together with their families.

Each family was dressed colourfully coded in their baju raya. Hamidah’s family chose pink. Also present that morning was Gopeng MCA Chief Albert Chang and Ipoh Councillor Kok Pak Foo. I was privileged this year to to be in time to view the family “bersalam and memohon ampun” from their parents after which the family allowed me to take their family photo.

The Raya lunch spread was delicious but Hamidah’s signature laksa meal is something to look forward to at Raya.

MB’s Open House

The annual Hari Raya crowd numbering over 15,000 thronged Perak MB Dato Seri DiRaja Zambry Abdul Kadir’s and Datin Seri Saripah Zulkifli’s state level open house celebration on the first day of Syawal.

The usual Raya delicacies were available as were the usual long queues for their plates to be filled.

And, as in previous years the warm smiles and joys of the event overcame the humidity and the heat of the afternoon with most visitors possibly distracted by the delicious spread of Raya delicacies, interesting events and shows put up by the organisers such as the joy of meeting ‘Upin and Ipin’ that evening for the younger rakyat.

VVIP’s Raja Muda of Perak Raja Dr Nazrin Shah and Raja Puan Besar Tuanku Zara Salim were in attendance.

Also present was Raja DiHilir Raja Jaafar and Raja Puan Muda Raja Nor Mahani, State Secretary Datuk Abdul Puhat Mat Nayant, State Exco members and Ipoh City Councillors.

During the event Raja Nazrin presented duit raya to orphans from three orphanages.

Dato’ Seri Ahmad Husni Mohamad Hanadzlah

The Hari Raya open house by Dato’ Seri Ahmad Husni Mohamad Hanadzlah, the MP for Tambun and the country’s Second Minister of Finance was held at the idyllic village setting of Kg Sungai Rokam. Held on the second day of Raya from 10am, the event saw a steady stream of citizens said to number close to 10,000, city councillors, and community leaders arriving to greet Husni and his wife.

Notable visitors included Datuk Nadzri Ismail, the State Representative for Manjoi and Ipoh City Councillor for Kuala Kuang, Shahul Hamid Mydin Shah.

Datuk Abdul Rahim Mohd Ariff

Ipoh City Council Secretary Datuk Abdul Rahim Mohd Ariff’s open house saw Ipoh City Councillors, his hockey fraternity and council staff gracing his open house on the second day of Raya. Delicious menu but the cooling cendol was my favourite of the day.

James Gough

Perak International Xplorace 2012


Perak is set to become the first state in the country to host the internationally acclaimed exploration race named Xplorace 2012. The race will bring together participants from all over the world. Ten teams will compete for the top prizes of USD30,000, USD20,000 and USD10,000, respectively.

Eight teams representing Asia, North America, South America, Europe, Australia and two from Malaysia will partake in the race. Each team will consist of two participants. The teams will transverse the state passing through the ten districts. They will compete in an endurance test at 14 designated locations throughout the 3-day race beginning on September 14 and ending on Malaysia Day, September 16. The theme is along the lines of the popular TV reality game of the same name. This was revealed to the media by Dato’ Hamidah Osman during the event launch at Impiana Hotel, Ipoh recently.

“The objective is to showcase the many touristic spots in Perak and to further promote Visit Perak Year 2012,” said Hamidah. The race will begin in Tanjung Malim on September 14 and end at MBI Square, Ipoh on September 16.  Among the tests the participants will undergo is working in an anchovy-processing factory on Pangkor Island and trekking in Gua Tempurung.

As an additional attraction a Perak Royal household exhibition will be held at the MBI Square on the final day. “The exhibition is an integral part of the Malaysia Day celebration which will be the finale of the Perak Arts Festival,” said Hamidah.

Transformation Centre of Ipoh


If plans by the Finance Ministry come through, Ipoh will be the third city in the country to have an urban transformation centre. Similar in concept to the ones in Kuala Lumpur and Malacca, it will be a one-stop centre for dealings involving the business community and government agencies. The benefits are obvious – to enhance interactions and reduce bureaucracy.

“I am glad that Ipoh has been chosen as the site for the centre. It’ll definitely have an impact on the growth of the city,” said Dato’ Roshidi Hashim to reporters. The mayor was on a site tour of the proposed centre, the Super Kinta shopping mall in downtown Ipoh recently. He was accompanied by a senior official from the Finance Ministry, Bukhari Hassan.

“The Federal Government is serious in implementing this project considering the economic vibrancy of Ipoh,” said Bukhari. He gave his assurance that the centre would not affect the running of the wet market presently in operation at this once popular shopping mall. “The size of the complex is most appropriate. Its location at the centre of the city is ideal,” Bukhari added.

The Finance Ministry will consider all factors, costs being a major consideration before embarking on the project. The centre, once completed, will not only benefit Ipohites but all Perakeans and those who come to do business in the capital city.


Snakes Killed for Medicine


wildlife poachingOne of the traditional medicine sellers in Down Memory Lane flea market has a pile of snake skeletons. The snakes were killed for medicinal purpose. The medicine man was reluctant to talk to me and was suspicious and did not say much. There was a Thai newspaper cutting with a man holding a snake. He did not want me to take photos.

I am not sure whether the medicine works or not or whether it is safe. I am concerned about the killing of so many snakes. Every animal has a place in the ecological system. If we go on killing the snakes, they would become extinct.

Enforcement officers from Ministry of health and WWF should initiate action to stop this. We cannot go on killing animals indiscriminately and have no right to do it.

There are other medicine men selling all sorts of medicine to be taken internally. How safe are they? Are the vendors licensed? The medicines are sold publicly. Who is responsible to monitor them?

It looks as if  all  animal parts have medicinal value, except for human beings that is.


Healy Mac’s Irish Bar and Restaurant

Musings on Food – SeeFoon Goes Pubbing in Greentown


musings on food - food reviewsBy See Foon Chan-Koppen

Sitting in the Ipoh Echo office in Greentown, I observed one day that a new sign was going up across the road with the name Healy Mac’s Irish Bar and Restaurant emblazoned across its corner shop frontage. I dismissed it as yet another of the locally-run pubs masquerading as Irish or Scottish or English and serving the usual run-of-the-mill beer on tap with nondescript pub fare thrown in to fill ravenous beer bellies.

I was finally persuaded to hop across the road one lunchtime to sample their fare when Ramesh, our marketing manager, told me they had a coal fired pizza oven on the premises and that I had to try their pizzas.

Healy Mac’s Irish Bar and RestaurantCool Comfort

Floor Manager Kamal was on hand to greet us and immediately showed us to a table and handed us the menus. It was a scorching hot day and I was sure I was going to have a melt-down as the whole pub is open air but to my surprise, the air-conditioners were on and the bank of air-curtains surrounding the inside combined with the mist-blowing fans on the outside pavement, kept the place cool and comfortable.

Outside on the pavement, tall barrel tables with seats made to the right height for comfortable eating and drinking, provided a cocoon for the interior.

‘Spirit of Ireland’

They had been opened for more than two months and business at lunchtime was not brisk. So I sat down at a big table on the inside section and looked around. If not for the heat outside, I could have been in Ireland! A large wooden board on the street front with the name Healy Mac’s Irish Bar and Restaurant proclaiming Guinness as the ‘Spirit of Ireland’ beckons passersby while inside, at the long bar, a bank of long pull handles named with the particular draft beer each releases, provided more temptations of spirit to one’s spirit. And I not being much of a beer drinker, preferring other libations, actually order a Kilkenny.

‘Method in Magners’

Liam Healy the proprietor and an honest-to-goodness authentic Irishman happened to be there and sat down with us to talk about the Pub. He promptly persuaded me to try his Cider, a special brew which he imports directly himself called Magners Original Irish Cider. At RM29++, ‘there’s certainly method in the Magners’ as its slogan proclaims. Made from Irish apples, the alcohol content is the same as beer and for cider lovers, this is one tipple worth forking out the money for. And it is only available here at Healy Mac’s.

Special promotions are ongoing here for their beers, which they proclaim as Happy Hour “All Day, all Night, Everyday” with six draught beers of Tiger, Guinness, Heineken, Kilkenny, Paulaner and Strongbow and eight bottled beers including Corona, Hoegaarden, Budweiser and Victoria Bitter. The draught beers go from the lowest of RM18.50 for the Tiger to the highest of RM26 for the Paulaner and Strongbow and the bottled beers go from RM16 to RM22.

Wines too feature strongly here as Liam has also started to import some special reds and whites from a winery in Spain which is not available elsewhere.

Healy Mac’s Irish Bar and RestaurantHealy Mac’s Irish Bar and RestaurantHealy Mac’s Irish Bar and RestaurantFood Glorious Food

But what about the food, you dear readers may ask. After all, this is a food column and why am I raving on about the beverages? Well, firstly, I am writing about a pub and most people go to pubs to drink. One seldom goes to a pub for food and that is where I had to be persuaded by Ramesh before I agreed to go, having always had the opinion that the usual pub fare tends to be mediocre at best and appalling at worst.

Coal Fired Pizzas

I was delightfully surprised. Their on-premise coal fired pizza oven with the chef in a glass cage in full view, putting in and taking out the pizzas is a sight to behold and their choice of pizzas is impressive. The 12-inch pizzas come with a choice of thick or thin crust and more than ten options ranging in price from the simple Margherita of tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese at RM18 to the ‘Create Your Own’ pizza with the same basic sauce and cheese plus three toppings of your choice. Other than asking for my pizza to be browned more, the ‘Everything-on-It’ pizza that I tasted with thin crust was scrumptious and worth a revisit.

I asked Liam, who owns two bars and restaurants in Ireland, one in Alicante, Spain and four pubs in Malaysia, (2 in KL, 1 in Penang, Ipoh being his fourth), what his food philosophy was and how he maintains quality given that he is so spread out.

Food Philosophy

“I have a head chef who travels around and spends two days in each location in Malaysia. He works with the head chef in the local kitchen and controls quality with them. We also have a menu where we have 20 fresh cooked dishes per day. Our ingredients are often imported directly for taste and authenticity, such as our mozzarella cheese and we have a strict policy on freshness of ingredients,” he revealed.

I can certainly vouch for the freshness of the dishes as I tucked into the marinated Organic Pork spare ribs, sweet melt-in-mouth, served with truffle oil mashed potatoes, sweet corn and Guinness barbecue sauce – RM38; Irish Beef or Lamb Stew – RM33; Shepherd’s Pie – RM28; Chicken Panini – RM24.

Brother Vincent Corkery, who happened to be there on the same day and a true blue Irishman if there ever was one, made the remark to me that it was one of the best Irish stews he had ever eaten.

Healy Mac’s Irish Bar and RestaurantPièce de Résistance

The pièce de résistance on the menu has to be the Organic Pork Knuckle. At 1.3 kilos for RM58 and 1.7 kilos for RM78, the pork knuckle is slow cooked, roasted in a special oven and served with sauerkraut and roasted potatoes, with a choice of black pepper, apple or red wine sauce. Our pork knuckle arrived with crisp crackling and meat falling off the bone. Just the smaller portion of 1.3 kilos was sufficient to feed two people and the large one definitely enough for four although on the menu it says enough for two. Especially when you combine it with the large selection of salads and other tasty treats on the menu.

Extensive Menu

The menu at Healy Mac’s is extensive and with enough variety to suit most palates from fish to meat to pasta and paninis. Of special mention is the Spaghetti Bolognese which arrived topped with a generous helping of Bolognese sauce. Having eaten spaghetti at many an establishment in Ipoh purporting to serve pasta Italian style and being terribly disappointed, I found the spaghetti here done just right…al dente, each strand of pasta cooked to the perfect degree of resilience; pliant yet springy on the bite and not soft like other establishments catering to the local tastes. A hearty entrée – RM28.

Immaculately Clean

The one thing that struck me about Healy Mac’s was how immaculately clean the whole place was, from the bar counter to the glass shelves holding all the bottles. When I mentioned this to Liam, he was quick to point out that this is one factor he pays close attention to. He hires his friends from Ireland to manage all his pubs and he relies on them to ensure that cleanliness is top on the daily agenda. I verified this when I went to use the facilities and found them to be spotless. This being one of my ‘horrors’ when it comes to restaurants and pubs I found the attention to cleanliness a sign of good management.

Healy Mac’s is certainly one pub that I’ll be returning to in the future…both to quench my thirst as well as to assuage my appetite.

Healy Mac’s Irish Bar and Restaurant
#2 Ground Floor, Persiaran Greentown 4,
Greentown Avenue, 30450 Ipoh.
Tel: 05-2493627

Eye Health – More on Ocular Migraine

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

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

Ocular Migraine may be a terrifying experience when it happens to a person for the first time.  The person may actually feel as if they are going blind. Some have described Ocular Migraine as a feeling similar to having a stroke. The visual symptoms can often be quite dramatic and frightening. The good thing is, it usually lasts for only a short while.

Most of the time, it starts as a small, enlarging dark area (scotoma) in your central vision. The dark central area then usually enlarges to move across the entire field of vision and the person feels like he or she is losing vision quickly in the eye.

Although symptoms are in the eye, the actual seat of the migraine activity is in the brain located at the back of the skull (visual cortex). The blood vessels here go into spasm thereby causing the symptoms and later begin dilating causing the blood vessels to over-fill and result in a throbbing or “pounding” headache.

Eye Health - Dr S.S. Gill
Ocular Migraine

Some common causes:

  • Overtiredness, fatigue, lack of sleep, weather changes, stress and depression.
  • Hormonal fluctuations as in menstruation.
  • Some medications like oral contraceptives.
  • Foods containing MSG, alcohol consumption, caffeinated beverages, cheese, tea, coffee, chocolates, artificial sweeteners, meats preserved in nitrates.

What to do for an Ocular Migraine

  • WHEN DRIVING: If it occurs when you are driving, pull to the side until vision is clear.
  • WHEN OPERATING MACHINERY: Always move away from the machine!
  • Generally, ocular migraines do not cause any harm like a permanent visual or brain damage. Hence, it usually requires no treatment. Nevertheless, always consult your eye doctor when you have unusual vision symptoms to make sure that it truly is Ocular Migraine and nothing else.

Some home remedies:

  • Applying cold compresses over the head to relieve any nagging headache.
  • Closing the eyes to rest.
  • Retiring to a darkened room to relax and de-stress often helps.
  • Sleep adequately for at least seven to eight hours every day.
  • Hydrate well and drink plenty of water.
  • Avoid alcohol and limit caffeine intake as well.
  • Medication like analgesics may provide some relief should you have any headaches.
  • Medication that have effects on blood vessels such as cafergot and ergotamine can also be used for migraine relief.
  • It is important to take medication only on the prescription of a doctor. Avoid self-medication beyond a simple analgesic or a cool compress.

Should you require further information, please contact Gill Eye Specialist Centre at Hospital Fatimah 05-5455582 or email: gilleyecentre@dr.com.

Horrific and Unforgivable: another child dies


By Mariam Mokhtar

On August 15, the mainstream papers reported the death of a four-year-old girl. She had allegedly died after being abused by her mother’s boyfriend. The victim, J. Pavitra, had been brought by her 33-year-old mother to a 1Malaysia Klinik in Bercham, because she was ill. Clinicians confirmed that the child had died and subsequently contacted both the police and the Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital for a post-mortem to be conducted.

Tests confirmed that the cause of death was internal bleeding but her body bore evidence of constant abuse. At the time of her death, she also had fresh injuries on her chest, as well as many older bruises.

Pavitra’s father had died two years ago and she was the youngest of four children. Her older brothers, aged 13 and 15 years, were placed in an orphanage in Taiping whilst her youngest brother aged six, had been adopted by a relative. Pavitra lived with her mother and the mother’s boyfriend, a part-time security guard.

State Criminal Investigation Department chief, Senior Assistant Commissioner Mohd Dzuraidi Ibrahim said that Pavitra’s mother was arrested while waiting to claim her daughter’s body from the hospital morgue whilst the boyfriend was detained at their home in Kampung Tawas, later that day. The case has been classified as murder and both people were remanded in custody, pending investigation. In a plea for witnesses to facilitate with inquiries, Dzuraidi said, “We urge the neighbours, and others with information, to assist us.”

Undetected Abuse

When we read about Pavitra’s death, were we numb with shock, or numbed with indifference because it is yet another case of a child being abused? The beating which Pavitra suffered, at the hands of people who should have cared and protected her, is shocking. Her death is not the first, nor will it be the last, but how did her continual abuse go undetected by family members, neighbours and friends?

There are services which the public can call to highlight their concerns about child abuse. One of them is Talian NUR, telephone 15999. Are people not aware that such hotlines exist? Are people too scared to complain in case they are dragged deeper into something with which they want no connection? Sometimes, the system of reporting causes paranoia in the people who try to report the abuses.

Are people afraid of reprisals from the perpetrators of the crime? Are people so preoccupied with their own lives, that they can ignore a child’s screams? Were they so distressed by the pleas of the child that they shut out her cries for help? Were members of the family ashamed, so did not report the abuse?

A 4-year-old has died. Someone must have heard something or noticed something unusual.

A child who is repeatedly hit will show symptoms of abuse – physically, mentally and behaviourally. Unless she has been hidden away, family members like her grandparents or aunts and uncles, or the neighbours must have suspected something. If there had been early intervention to stop the beatings and the sustained abuse, Pavitra might still be alive today.

We may wonder why the mother did not do more to protect her child. Did she feel anger, frustration and sadness after the death of her husband and so could not cope? After her loss, her family was disbanded. Did this compound her sorrow?

Did she enter into an abusive relationship, with her boyfriend and became stuck in a vicious circle of hopelessness? As the country suffers an economic downturn, it is the women who suffer more, as there are fewer jobs on offer, the cost for child care increases and families have to tighten their belts further.

Public Awareness

Malaysians must show more concern at the rise in cases of child abuse and more should be done to protect children. Public awareness needs to be increased, and people should be empowered and encouraged to become personally involved and support families and parents. Contrary to popular opinion, children suffer the most abuse from people they know, like parents, relatives and babysitters. Not strangers.

Child abuse is an offence in Malaysia and is punishable under the Child Act 2001 and the Penal Code 1997. Offenders may be liable for a maximum fine of RM50k and a prison term of 20 years, or both depending on the offence. Offenders may also be whipped.

Older children fear the threat of more severe ‘punishment’ by their abusers and so very few cases are reported. Younger children do not have the ability to say that they are abused and many cases remain undetected.

The “Talian NUR” hotline (15999) is the 24-hour helpline, which enables the authorities to intervene, for victims of domestic violence and child abuse. Last June, calls to NUR through public telephone booths in schools were made free. Calls are handled by trained people and in four languages; Bahasa Malaysia, English, Mandarin and Tamil.

No one will consider you a busybody or hold you responsible for the break-up of a family should you report a child who is being abused or neglected; but you could end up saving a life.

Lenggong Kampong Chicken with Garlic Ginger Paste


By Pauline Chang

  • 1 Lenggong Kampong Chicken – 3kg

    Recipe by Pauline Chang
    Lenggong Kampong Chicken with Garlic Ginger Paste
  • Water – one pot just enough to cover chicken completely
  • 1 tbsp. Salt
  • ½ tbsp. Rock Sugar

Ingredients (A):

  • 1 pc (thumb size) Ginger – smashed
  • 1 stalk Spring Onions

Garlic-Ginger Paste (B):

  • 150g young Ginger
  • 15 pcs Garlic
  • 5 pcs Shallots
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • Some Cekor (‘lesser galangal’)
  • 1 tsp. Sesame Oil

Blend (B) and fry with oil till aromatic.

Chilli Sauce:

  • Blend together:
  • 10 pcs Red Chillies
  • 5 pcs Chili Padi
  • 3 inches young Ginger
  • Lime Juice to taste
  • Salt and Sugar to taste


  1. Put (A) inside cavity of chicken.
  2. When water boils, add in chicken
  3. Turn off heat and let chicken immerse in the water for 20-30 mins till cooked.
  4. Place chicken in a pot of tap water to cool (10 mins). Drip dry.
  5. Chop into pieces and place on plate.
  6. Serve with soya sauce, onion/sesame oil, garlic-ginger paste (B) and chilli sauce.
  7. Oyster sauce – 1 tbsp