Tag Archives: ipoh echo issue 161

Sunway’s Appreciation Night


Sunway's Appreciation NightSome 500 guests were treated to a sumptuous buffet dinner and non-stop entertainment during Sunway City Ipoh’s Chinese New Year PALS (Privileged Advantages for Loyal Supporters) Appreciation Night recently.

The event, held at the Mont Bleu Residence’s clubhouse, an exclusive gated residential development within Sunway City Ipoh’s integrated township, was in honour of the company’s loyal customers who have supported Sunway City Ipoh’s growth as a future township for Northern Malaysia.

The function, held in conjunction with Chinese New Year, saw an extensive line-up of activities, including an intriguing performance by Vincent the Illusionist, a “feng shui” talk by Master Chua and a lucky draw where attractive household electrical appliances were given away.

After a spectacular fireworks display, guests danced the night away, accompanied by live music provided by the Echoes Live Band.


Eric Lai

Wall Art Comes to Ipoh

Eric Lai
Eric Lai at work

The wonderful wall art that started in Penang has come to Ipoh. Initiated by art teacher, Eric Lai, who runs an art school Artgene Studio in Bercham, he had just completed his seventh and last mural at the lane in between Jalan Masjid and Jalan Sultan Iskandar (Hugh Low Street).

His earlier four murals had a cultural theme but his last three were of children’s activities such as blowing bubbles, playing hide and seek and boys playing at a waterfall. Undoubtedly these scenes depicted a time when these were common activities even though they are now rare.

Lai’s interest stems from his youth when his mother used to create images on their house walls. However, the inspiration to create this wall art in Ipoh came from Penang’s Zacharevic wall art murals.

Lai had wanted to do this for sometime so when a ‘supporter’ offered to fund the material for Lai to proceed, he jumped at the idea. Lai promptly approached the building owners who had no objections and also alerted Ipoh City Council’s Building Department before he started work.

Wall Art Comes to IpohWall Art Comes to IpohThe result is a wonderful glimpse of scenes of life and culture of a bygone era. When selecting the wall to paint Lai does not clean the whole wall, just the areas he wants to paint over saying the texture on the wall provides for a natural feel of the scene. Lai uses acrylic paint for his art work.

Lai intends to continue doing his wall art but only during the school holidays when his students will be able to participate. For him it is his contribution to make Ipoh more beautiful and hopefully attract more tourists.


Perak Sportsman and Sportswoman 2013


In a glitzy ceremony held at the banquet hall of the State Secretariat building, Ipoh, recently, sharpshooter Hasli Izwan Amir Hasan and tenpin bowler Sin Li Jane won the Perak Sportsman and Sportswoman 2012 awards. The awards came with a trophy and RM5000 cash each.

Beating two other nominees, Hasli Izwan had a “golden” year, winning gold medals at the Selangor Shooting Championship, NSAM President Ally T.H. Ong Trophy, Tun Hanif Trophy, Chia Woh Trophy, Tun Tan Siew Sin Trophy, National Shooting Championship and the 36th Southeast Asia Shooting Championships.

sharpshooter Hasli Izwan Amir Hasan and tenpin bowler Sin Li JaneLi Jane, who also beat two others, had a string of achievements to her name last year. She won gold medals at the Asian Tenpin Bowling Championship (Women’s Singles), Astro 25th Interstates and Astro 36th Malaysian National Championships in the National Masters Category, and at the 13th MILO International Junior All Stars Bowling Championship.

Hasli Izwan bagged the 2011 Perak Sportsman award as well, while diver Leong Mun Yee won the Perak Sportswoman award for the same year. Her mother received the award on her behalf.

The “Anugerah Jasamu Dikenang 2011” was awarded to Ahmad Fadzil bin Zainal Abidin for his past achievements in field hockey while the “Anugerah Keluarga Sukan 2011” went to the family of Samson Vallabouy for achievements in track and field.

Nor Azman bin Zambahari won the 2011 Media Award for his contributions to sports in terms of photography and coverage. Tun Ahmad Sarji bin Abdul Hamid bagged the “Anugerah Kepimpinan Sukan 2011” for his leadership.

To round up the list of awardees, “Olahragawan Harapan 2012” was won by lawn bowler Izzat Shameer bin Zulkeple while “Olahragawati Harapan” was won by diver Kam Ling Kar (2011) and Taekwondo exponent Nasirah Asman (2012). They each won a trophy and RM3,000.

Menteri Besar, Dato’ Seri DiRaja Dr Zambry Abd Kadir presented the awards.


Crematorium for Hindus Becomes a Reality


The hassle over a crematorium for Hindus is over since the Perak State Government has given RM1.3 million to the Ipoh Hindu Devasthana Paripalana Sabah (IHDPS) to build a crematorium on the existing cremation ground in Buntong.

Dhamodaran Munusamy, President of IHDPS said that relevant documents have been submitted to DOE (Department of Environment) and are waiting for approval. He added that they are planning to build four chambers, but initially only two will be built.

Crematorium for Hindus becomes a RealityThe crematorium will be built within the 10,000 sq. ft. area of the cremation grounds. It will incorporate the latest in cremating technology so as to ensure a clean and healthy environment. The site will have a new access road and ample space for a car park. The work will be awarded on an open tender basis. Upon award of the contract, the job is expected to be completed within a year.

Dhamodaran is happy that the crematorium will be built on the existing location so that the old graves can be maintained. He plans to carry out a Bhoomi Puja, a ceremony performed to inaugurate a new site for the construction of a building, on a grand scale before commencement of construction. According to Hindu beliefs, by performing this puja, the right energy and natural elements surrounding the site can be propitiated. It is usually carried out in the morning, which is considered most auspicious for this ceremony.

Dhamodaran informed that IHDPS would be operating the crematorium on a non profit basis as a service to the community.


Chinese New Year 2013


Chinese New Year 2013Chinese New Year 2013 was a relaxing week of celebration. For the media, their celebration started a few days earlier when MB Dato’ Seri DiRaja Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir treated them to a ‘makan kecil’ at his residence where he presented the media Chiefs with a poster that read “Peace and Prosperity”.

Royalty present  Raja Nazrin Shah and Tuanku Zara Salim officiated the event at Gopeng
Royalty present Raja Nazrin Shah and Tuanku Zara Salim officiated the event at Gopeng

Of the many events undoubtedly the most elaborate of all the celebrations was the State-level celebration held on the seventh day of the Lunar New Year at Kg Baru Kopisan Gopeng. The event was officiated by their Royal Highnesses DYMM Raja Muda Perak Raja Nazrin Shah and DYTM Raja Puan Besar Tuanku Zara Salim who certainly lent that aura of pomp and ceremony with their presence.


Other VVIP’s who graced the event include DYAM Raja DiHilir Perak and DYTM Raja Puan Muda Perak, Menteri Besar Dato’ Seri DiRaja Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir and MCA Chairman Datuk Seri Chua Soi Lek together with Organising Chairman Dato’ Dr Mah Hang Soon.

The cultural performances were grand
The cultural performances were grand

The cultural performances presented were grand and spectacular and enthralled the audience.

Shila Amzah's strong voa;s enjoyed by all presnet
Shila Amzah’s strong vocals enjoyed by all present

Additionally, everyone was awed when popular artist Shila Amzah who won the Asian Wave Chinese Reality singing talent show in Shanghai, China last year, took over the microphone and presented her strong vocals to the joy of all present especially the young crowd who moved closer to the stage to watch her perform.

Media at a dinner with Zambry before the New Year.
Media at a dinner with Zambry before the New Year.

The celebration on the first day of the New Year was held at the residence of Dato Seri Dr Zambry

Former Bond girl Dato Michelle Yeoh was a guest at Zambry's house.
Former Bond girl Dato Michelle Yeoh was a guest at Zambry’s house.

Earlier in the morning some of the Chinese community  started the new year with prayers

at Temples
at Temples
and Churches
and Churches

On the second day at an event organised by the Perak Chinese Assembly Hall (PCAH)

Tossing loh-sang at the PCAH event
Tossing loh-sang at the PCAH event
members of the opposition were present at the PCAH function
members of the opposition were present at the PCAH function

while at the community level members of the Kaying Association held their celebrations.

Members of the Hakka/ Kaying Association dinner at their Association hall
Members of the Hakka/ Kaying Association dinner at their Association hall


SeeFoon checks out the new life in Old Town


musings on food - food reviewsBy See Foon Chan-Koppen

When Julie Song told me the name of their new outlet Buku Tiga Lima, next to Burbs and Giggles, my first question to Dexter Song, scion, manager and co-owner with Mum Julie, was “So can I establish credit for food and beverage here?” He laughed and explained that the name came about because there were already a few of these tiny exercise books being used as decoration in Burbs and Giggles when they opened, so instead of scratching around for another fun name to match, they decided on the quaint little books which were ubiquitous in the old days when credit would be recorded in them, one for the trader and another for the buyer. This honour system was probably the forerunner of our current credit card system today.

Musings - Burps & GigglesBurbs and Giggles and now its adjoining sister outlet, Buku Tiga Lima, is certainly bringing the life back to old town. Where hitherto, the only reason to wander into that part of town was to either go to the bank or to eat at the twin hawker food mecca, Kong Heng and Thean Chun; now foodies and the hip and trendy have a new venue to eat, drink, sip coffee, meet, and to see and be seen. And it’s all happening at these two iconic cafes/restaurants/bar/coffee house depending on your preference for naming venues.

Musings - Buku Tiga LimaLike its equally iconic neighbour, Sekeping Kong Heng, an example of minimalistic heritage conservation with 21st century artistic flair, Burbs and Giggles and its newly-opened sister outlet Buku Tiga Lima, is a fine showpiece of modern creative interior design married to old framework, with a large proportion of the old walls, stairs, ceilings, windows and doors left in its original dilapidated state, some parts even embellished with additional plaster work to accentuate the feel of peeling plaster, faded signage, flea market pickings of odds and ends and pieces of furniture.

Musings - Buku Tiga LimaVibrant wall art, whimsical lamps with outrageous shades, mismatched chairs and throw away tables from abandoned houses, quaint yet attractive ‘artsy’ arrangements like an assortment of wooden stools, contrast starkly with bottles of expensive single malts and a few champagnes adorning the bar shelves, all assaulting the usual staid Ipoh sensibilities as one walks in from busy Jalan Sultan Yussuf. More odds and ends catch the eye and modern toilets that work combine in an eclectic mix of the old with the new; bold splashes of colour juxtaposed against the drabness of unpainted walls; chatter and laughter assail the senses as one goes in search for a table or during peak hours, just a chair to perch on.

The decor was a collaboration between Julie Song of Indulgence fame, her son Dexter who runs the place and his girlfriend Rachel Yeow who assists him. Rachel who was responsible for all the lampshades and the very creative art arrangements, also dabbles in painting and helped to do some of the calligraphy dotted around. According to Dexter, the three of them used to go scavenging at abandoned homes, flea markets and even furniture dumps, picking up pieces that people had discarded and yet with a creative eye had been resurrected and given a new lease of life in Burbs and Giggles and Buku Tiga Lima.

And it all works. Not only in decor but also in the menu offerings. Buku Tiga Lima specialises in Crepes and Bagels while Burbs and Giggles dish out fancy hamburgers. In between there are the usual savoury and sweet delectables available behind the glass counter which one can choose to take away or eat on premises. There are no printed menus and all items are hand written on huge boards hanging on the walls.

Musings - Burps & Giggles - Bam-Bam Musings - Bagel @ Buku Tiga Lima - Reverend MamaChipped enamel plates to eat from lend humour as we were first served a bagel with cream cheese arriving on the usual fancy serving platter. The bagel was crispy on the outside and softer on the inside than most bagels I have eaten in other parts of the world particularly in the US where they are most popular. The ‘Reverend Mama’ which comes with soft egg, smoked salmon, dill gherkin and ricotta cheese is a mountain of a ‘sandwich’ – RM15; as is their ‘Bam-Bam’ a whopping stack of a wagyu beef burger, skewered with a steak knife. This is served with egg, cheese, tomato, beetroot, carrot, horseradish and onion – RM28. Hale and hearty and perfect for lunch. Other burgers are more scaled down with a choice of chicken, lamb, fish, and the vegetarian one with portobello mushroom, brie cheese, broad bean and salad ranging in price from RM18 for the Angus beef to RM15 for the portobello. Additionals include their chunky cut chips with cheese, chillies RM4 and if you add truffle oil which imparts a heavenly fragrance, it’s RM6 a portion.

On the crepe selection, I tried the seafood crepe which was generous in its serving of prawns, fish, basil and cheese in a thick tomato sauce, the crepe arrived crisped at the edges but alas was eventually overwhelmed by the sauce turning soggy very quickly – RM16. I had more luck with the sweet crepe, the Hazelnut Choc with crushed hazelnuts and Creme Brulee dollop. This arrived crispy all around, the nuts lending even more crunch and the chocolate cream velvety smooth, providing a textural contrast that was delightful – RM14.

Musings - Burps & Giggles - Chocolate OrgasmThe crème de la crème was just that at the end of the meal – a large scoop of chocolate ice cream called ‘Chocolate Orgasm’ which quite lived up to its name, called the Lola, sandwiched in a special handmade brioche. An absolute must-have should you ever go for coffee or tea.

Dexter, a true blue Ipoh boy who spent some years in Australia, has certainly come home to roost and is keen to do his bit for Ipoh. He loans out the upstairs premises of Burbs and Giggles for charity fairs and functions for free and to date has hosted five functions. He hopes to generate more activities upstairs and is planning a children’s play later in the year.

I for one certainly wish him all  future success for not only has he brought life back to old town but he has raised the bar on iconic preservation of old premises, and other potential heritage conservationists need to take note.

Burbs and Giggles and Buku Tiga Lima, 93 and 95, Jalan Sultan Yussuf. Tel: 05-242 6188.  Closed Tuesdays      Open: 8am-7pm

Everybody’s Birthday


Everybody's BirthdayA special Chinese New Year event to usher in the Year of the Snake was hosted by Ipoh City and Country Club (ICCC) on the seventh day of the lunar New Year. According to Chinese tradition, the day is considered as “everybody’s birthday” (Ren Re in Mandarin).

This annual celebration, held at the club’s premises on Saturday, February 16, received overwhelming support from members and the public. All available tables were booked. The event was graced by Dato’ Wan Azahari, ICCC’s Liaison Committee Chairman, members of the club’s board of directors and managerial staff.

A host of interesting activities were lined up for the evening. The evening opened with a traditional double lion dance performance followed by Malaysia’s version of the popular Taiwanese girl-group, SHE and an acrobatic show by a troupe from China. Although the party was long over, revellers stayed on for a night of karaoke and dancing.


Hockey: 22nd Sultan Azlan Shah Cup on Schedule


The 22nd Sultan Azlan Shah Cup Men’s International Hockey Tournament to be held from March 9 to 17 promises to be an exciting event. Six teams will be participating and these are Australia (ranked no. 2), Pakistan (5th), New Zealand (6th), Korea (8th) India (11th) and Malaysia (13th).

Hockey - 22nd Sultan Azlan Shah Cup on Schedule“All of these teams are the No. 1 teams and all will be using the SAS Tournament to prepare for the qualification for the World Cup Tournament to be held next year,” said Perak Hockey Association President Dato’ Abdul Rahim Mohd Ariff after chairing the meeting of the preparatory committee for the tournament.

Stadium Azlan Shah is currently undergoing upgrading work to provide covered stands throughout the stadium while a lift is also being installed at the main grandstand building. All work will be ready well in time before the start of the tournament.

The first match will be played between New Zealand and Pakistan at 4.05pm on March 9. Malaysia will play against Korea the same evening beginning at 8.05pm. Astro Arena will be covering the event.

During this time too, the hockey coaching and umpiring courses at the Raja Ashman Shah Hockey Academy, next to the Stadium, will be held.

The Sultan Azlan Shah Hockey Tournament is the longest running invitational hockey tournament which initially started in 1983. Stadium Sultan Azlan Shah will also be the venue for another international hockey tournament, the Hockey Asia Cup Tournament slotted to take place in August this year.


New Help Service


The Church of St John the Divine has started a help service at its premises. Called the St John’s Community Help Service, it is open to anyone who has a problem of any kind, be it health or physical disability to emotional issues or simply assisting someone to fill up a form.

Church of St John the Divine, St John’s Community Help ServiceThe Project Coordinator for this service, Ruth Yates, said that 12 of its volunteers have been trained to personally listen to your problems and help you to find the best possible option to solve them. Consultations are free and kept confidential.

According to the Church’s Vicar Reverend Tom Cherian, the Church does have people coming each month requesting assistance for a variety of issues. By initiating this service, the church called upon its community network to provide assistance in areas of expertise where they can be of help.

The centre will operate twice a week on Tuesdays from 12pm till 6.30pm and Saturday from 9.30am till noon.

St John’s Church is located at Jalan St John (off Jalan Panglima Bukit Gantang Wahab). Email: stjohnschsipoh@gmail.com.


Transforming Attitude and Ethics


By  Fathol Zaman Bukhari

The Perak Urban Transformation Centre, fondly known by its abbreviation UTC, is a major landmark in downtown Ipoh. Located at the now defunct Super Kinta shopping complex, the centre is set to make an impact on Perakeans, in general and Ipohites, in particular. The Perak UTC, the third of its kind in the country after Malacca and Kuala Lumpur and the largest of the three, has 53 operational counters dispersed on its two floors. The services provided are being divided into ten clusters ranging from welfare and human development, entrepreneurship, financial and health services, youth development, education and job-seeking.

Editor's Desk - Transforming atttitudes & ethics 01

Some of the much sought after government agencies such as the Immigration Department and the very elusive Ipoh Land Office have counters here. Thus conducting business with these agencies becomes much easier with a vastly improved accessibility.

Before the opening of the centre, Ipohites had to go to Jelapang to renew their international passports. Getting to the land office in Kampung Manjoi is an exercise in futility, as rate-payers have to navigate the intricate roadways of this misshapen village. Understanding the poorly worded signage is another problem in itself. Many would end up in Silibin after making a wrong turn. It is very confusing, especially for first-time visitors. No wonder the Manjoi Land Office is the least patronised public agency in Ipoh. People would rather pay their dues at the post offices or at accredited banks since it is much more convenient.

As is widely reported in the mainstream media, the Perak Urban Transformation Centre and its cousin, the Gopeng Rural Transformation Centre (RTC), are part of Prime Minister Najib’s Blue Ocean initiative aimed at “providing various services for the convenience of the people in the state”. One serves urbanites while the other the rural folks. Besides facilitating dealings with government agencies, the Gopeng RTC also “serves as an integrated service centre encompassing the collection, processing and the distribution of agricultural products.”

Editor's Desk - Transforming atttitudes & ethics 02

Unfortunately, the full potential of both these centres has yet to be realised fully. One reason I find it wanting is the speed with which this idea was pushed. The building of a transformation centre in Ipoh was mooted sometime in mid-2012. It was originally planned to be opened in December 2012 but was delayed to February 15 with the Prime Minister himself doing the honours.

A pre-launch was done on February 1 officiated by Second Finance Minister, Dato’ Seri Ahmad Husni Hanaziah, raising speculations that his presence was more than a social visit.

The original plan was to find some suitable usage for the former Super Kinta shopping complex, once a magnet for shoppers in the Kinta Valley. It lost its lustre when newer state-of-the-art shopping complexes and malls came into existence in the early 1990s.

With the exception of its wet market, the largest in the city, the crumbling complex was turning into an eyesore. It stood out like a sore thumb in the midst of an unforgiving city centre, devoid of charm. The timely makeover, therefore, was a welcome change rather than an anticipated one. In fact, Ipoh City Council was at wits’ end trying to find likeable options for its continued relevance. It was God-sent, in every sense of the word, as there is now a reason for its second lease of life.

However good an idea maybe, it will turn sour if the human factor attached to it does not perform to expectation. I say this with much conviction considering the attitude, ethics and working culture of our civil servants. Being sent from pillar to post is the norm at government offices. The sight of sullen and sulky officers manning the counters is nothing strange. What is more distressing is being singled out for being of a different race other than a Malay.

My niece had the misfortune of being treated as such when she inquired about her misplaced application recently. The lady officer mistook her for a Chinese and gave her the runaround. She had to produce her identity card to prove her ethnicity. I hope those manning the Perak UTC counters are not as bad. From what I have observed they are a likeable bunch of minders. Hopefully, this equation remains.

But in all probability, the excitement of serving in a new environment will soon wear off and they will be back to their old lacklustre ways like before.

One other problem, which may impact the centre’s viability, is parking. Parking space is limited to about 200 lots. And since most are being taken by the staff what is there left for the public?

My other concern is – will the centre survive a post GE 13 apocalypse? I shall leave this to the rakyat to decide.