The Kinta Valley Wind Orchestra (KVWO), Perak’s very own wind orchestra, recently held a weekend music camp where professional musicians from KL and Penang, some of whom are performing with the Petronas Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, turned tutors for a weekend.
According to KVWO’s Music Director and Conductor, Eugene Pook, the purpose of the camp was to expose the members of the orchestra with these accomplished musicians who would impart their musical knowledge and techniques to bring them to a higher level of performance or as Pook summed it “a fine tuning get together”.
The last day of the camp was a full orchestra rehearsal during which all the participants were given their certificates of completion.
KVWO which was formed this year is made up of 50 members from all strata of society which includes students from secondary school bands and adult amateur players.
Pook who has been coaching the orchestra every weekend without fail since its formation earlier this year held its inaugural concert in July. KVWO which indicated its objective is to provide 3 concerts per year are now rehearsing for their upcoming Christmas Concert which is scheduled for December 17. Undeniably this is an inspiring effort for a young orchestra less than a year old.
There was something for everyone at the inaugural concert of the Kinta Valley Wind Orchestra on July 4. Opening to a sold-out audience, with 6 months in the making, the 50 odd musicians, led by artistic director and conductor Eugene Pook, certainly did “get their act together”, as so aptly put by the organising chairperson, Tan Ling-Li. This was made possible by the vision and generosity of Dato’ K.K. Lim and other sponsors.
From symphonic to classical renditions, big-band pieces to hit movie themes, pop tunes to old-time favourites in Chinese, Malay and English, the audience was truly entertained. Three soloists: Joost Flach (oboist), Foo Cheong Lin (saxophonist), Philip Boey (GuZheng), and two vocalists: Estee Pook and Alan Low, and several guest musicians, gave the concert that added touch. The members of the orchestra comprised students from different schools and people from different walks of life coming together for the first time, showing that beautiful music can be produced under the right direction.
The concert ended with calls for an encore, and the orchestra playing two more songs, Stars and Stripes Forever, because it being the USA Independence Day, and Barry Manilow’s Copacabana, to the delight of the audience.
The concert was a great success to say the least, and for those of us that were there, we look forward to more; for those who missed it, they can certainly look out for the next one!
About 100 strategic locations within Ipoh City are to be covered by surveillance cameras. Mayor Datuk Roshidi Hashim stated this after chairing the city council full board monthly meeting recently.
He said that initially, seven CCTVs are being installed and would be operational by the end of this month. There will be two operation centres to monitor the CCTVs, one manned by the police and the other (a back-up centre) operated by city council at its premises.
City council’s staff are currently attending hands-on training in Penang on how to manage the CCTV systems.
On the future of the 22 city councillors, whose term of office have expired, the Mayor said: “I have not received any instructions from the State Exco.” Datuk Roshidi, who was reappointed for another two years, was unable to state whether or not the councillors would be automatically extended for another term.
The state chairman for local governments, Dato’ Dr Mah Hang Soon curtly responded similarly with a “please wait for the official announcement” statement when approached.
Since it was the last monthly full board meeting for the councillors, it was rather quiet and ended an hour earlier than normal.
The following are my reasons to tempt my friends and family to visit Ipoh. Why not check yours out!
Ipoh is a great, compact city – it has everything you need, but packs it all into a very manageable size. It’s a gourmand and nature-lover’s paradise. Escaping to the many attractions like the beach, the hill resorts, mangrove reserve and the caves in the limestone outcrops, are all within an hour’s reach. Overseas friends enjoy the agritourism that is easily accessible.
What Do You Miss Most when you’re Away?
Reading the newspapers over a kopi tarik while waiting for my breakfast of roti canai or tosai, followed by char kway teow, in a coffee-shop.
What’s The First Thing You Do When You Return?
I go out to find some excellent local food. First stop, Funny Mountain Soya Bean in Jalan Theatre for tau fu fah. If I am up early, fresh toddy from a nursery in Gunung Rapat – it’s for medicinal purposes.
Where’s The Best Place To Stay?
Ipoh has a range of hotels from budget to boutique hotels.
Where Would You Meet Friends For A Drink?
At dusk, the Iskandar Polo Club for the stunning views of the multi-coloured hues of the setting sun against a backdrop of the limestone hills. It is “Members Only” so hang around the paddocks or clubhouse for an invitation.
Or Berlin’s Bier Houz in Greentown’s Business Centre for a selection of imported German beers.
Where Are Your Favourite Places For Lunch?
I hate places with slow service or loud music. The following are favourite haunts: Moven Peak in the centre of Ipoh, Hollywood Restoran in Canning Garden, Simpang Tiga for Indonesian cuisine, banana-leaf and duck curry in Samy’s Restoran in Chemor. Or for curry mee, try Keng Nam coffee-shop. Or just join any queue in front of a noodle shop at lunchtime. I’ve never been disappointed.
And For Dinner?
The food courts at about 6 p.m. No vendors have a greater understanding of food than those in Ipoh. They are dotted around town. No trip to Ipoh is complete without a sample of Ipoh Chicken taugeh, for supper. Almost all of Ipoh’s food places are excellent value – from RM3.00 a dish.
Where Would You Send A First-Time Visitor?
Emerald Lake, just past Jalan Kuala Kangsar Ipoh. For a walk, try the Heritage Trail for an interesting trip into memory lane, past architectural structures with fascinating origins. To the Gunung Rapat market on a Saturday morning for the sights, sounds and smells of a typical bustling market whilst being serenaded by the music played by musicians from a nearby home for the Blind. Wander the traditional medicine lanes in old town where dried seafood, ginseng and bird’s nests tickle the senses from open-fronted shops. There are several interesting shops around the main market in the centre of the city that specialise in various products such as those that make the lion’s heads, in lion dancing.
Or have a day out to visit the Sam Poh Tong caves, Gua Tempurung, and Matang Mangrove Reserve.
What Would You Tell Them To Avoid?
Public Transport or Taxi?
Public transport is very bad in Ipoh, but without a car, there is little choice but to use the taxis. They are not cheap anymore and the minimum charge may be RM10. Taxis never use the meter so a price has to be negotiated at the start of the journey. Be prepared to pick up additional passengers on the way to your destination.
Handbag or Moneybelt?
Definitely moneybelt. There are several reports of bag-snatching by people on motorbikes: be vigilant everywhere, keep your bags in sight always, and be careful when walking along the kerb. Be streetwise.
What Should I Take Home?
Pomeloes from the pomelo stalls opposite the Sam Poh Tong cave temple, groundnuts from Menglembu, kicap cair Cap Budak Terbang and kicap pekat Cap Orkid, available from most grocery shops, wooden clogs from the main market and bespoke suits from Sin Tit tailor along Jalan Brewster.
And If I’ve Only Time for One Shop?
If in the centre of Ipoh, head to Parkson Grand, where you’ll find all the top brands under one roof. Or else, try Jusco, in the outskirts.
“I strongly believe that Ipoh Echo can assist to enhance development and make Ipoh more vibrant. Ipoh Echo’s role so far has been in providing a balanced reporting link between the residents and MBI. I love working with the Ipoh Echo. My observations are its facts are accurate. We need Ipoh Echo to be in Ipoh and contribute positively to the Ipoh Community and the whole of Perak.” Ipoh Mayor Datuk Roshidi Hashim
“We all need to be reminded of our past, understand our present and hope for a better future. To me this is what Ipoh Echo does – pictures and stories of the past to evoke emotions, taking stock of what we have today and striving for a better tomorrow. Bringing together a community that may be at a coffee shop in Ipoh, or sipping latte in Singapore or drinking tea in KL. Like a thread that weaves a piece of cloth into something majestic, Ipoh Echo in its own way strings the words to communicate and speak the language of the people to the people.”
Zameema Banu Mohd Ariff, CEO Perak Tourism Council
“Ipoh Echo is playing a big role in putting our city on the world map. Not only is it the voice of the community, it has also been highlighting the city’s mining heritage and its various iconic products such as Pomelo, White Coffee, and shoe and ceramic industries to promote Ipoh within the country and abroad. We are proud of the role of the newspaper and hope it will continue with the support of everyone.”
Dato’ Chin Lean Choong, president of the All-Malaya Chinese Mining Association and chairman of Perak Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (commerce committee)
“Ipoh has been left behind for many years due to the false perception of its bottomless wealth from yesteryear. Fortunately we still have our natural attractions such as our limestone hills unlike other Malaysian states and a Colonial history in the form of quality buildings and even quite a number from the Art deco era. By creating the awareness of these two combined attractions, with the resources offered by the Ipoh Echo, we can share with the rest of the country the beauty and quality of life that Ipoh has to offer from then till now.”
Jek Yap, Kinta Heritage
“We talk about transformation. What is transformation without engagement with the government, NGO and rakyat. Their contribution should be respected and the voice of Ipoh Echo, the community newspaper should be appreciated.”
Mohd Taib Mohamed, president of Perak Heritage Society
“The Ipoh Echo has interesting and informative articles which keep me abreast of what’s happening in the community. I have collected all the issues since issue number one and I have two sets. I keep one set at home and another is kept at the Ipoh Club.”
S. Rajendran, regular walk-in customer on the 1st day of every issue since IE 01
“Congratulations to the editor(s) and staff of the Ipoh Echo. The paper has played a major role in disseminating information responsibly to the Ipoh community. It pursues truth and assists to unite rather than divide. A good example of 1Malaysia. Thank you.” Peter Chan, CEO Haven
“I always look forward to the next issue of the Echo which provides local news unavailable elsewhere, but most of all I enjoy the forthright articles which address the important issues -policing, illegal dumping, destruction of heritage etc.” Ian Andersen, Director Ipoh World
“It is a newspaper that brings the news and happenings in Ipoh not only to the community of Ipoh but also to the world through its website.” Peter Lee, Rockwills Associate Estate Planning Practitioner
“We have been advertising in the Ipoh Echo for about 2 years now and find the response from the ads very encouraging as it is the right medium for our target audience! Our residents, especially the expats, have commented that the information found in Ipoh Echo allows them to discover, love and appreciate Ipoh more.” Iris Cheong, Sales & Marketing Manager, Kinta Properties Holdings
“The Ipoh Echo newspaper has done a fantastic job of creating awareness about the community in Ipoh. It is an English medium newspaper unlike the mainstream papers which has galvanized the interest of the community through its independent reporting of diverse topics such as politics, heritage and even food. Every edition is enjoyable and shares more information about Perak.I am proud to say that Ipoh has such a newspaper.” Dato’ Gan Tak Kong, Chairman of FMM Perak Branch
The Perak Tourist Association appreciates the efforts of the Ipoh Echo in playing its role to promote tourism. Its reports about tourist destinations in the state have created awareness of these destinations. Additionally the comments received from the public are useful to help improve the attractions. PTA strongly believes that by working together with Ipoh Echo to feature local destinations regularly will greatly help promote domestic tourism.” Hj Odzman Abdul Kadir, president of Perak Tourist Association
“Ipoh Echo is very aptly named for it echoes the feelings and concerns of Ipoh folks and gives a true picture of what is going on at home through its articles on crime, education, history, food and personalities. It gives us a sense of regional identity and the views and opinions expressed definitely shape how we develop as a society.”
Mdm Lee Yam Sei, Director Tenby Schools Ipoh
“The Ipoh Echo running its 100th Issue is no plain fete. Congratulations! Discharging the role of a local community paper by reporting without bias has duly paid off! As a reader, The Ipoh Echo’s continued effort in highlighting newsworthy articles of public interest is what makes it unique.”
Chelvi Murugiah, Lecturer
“Ipoh Echo has been a valuable source of information on diverse matters such as heritage, environment and politics. It has been objective and informative though on certain occasions, I disagree with the views expressed. But, this is a manifestation of democratic practice and the wide space of freedom of expression available in the state. It is different from the traditional printed media as Ipoh Echo highlights the people’s problems and propose non-partisan solutions to issues raised. I hope more articles on the common people will be published and remind politicians their role and responsibilities are to the people. Lastly, but not the least, your articles on many historical events and personalities remind us the heyday of Perak which the present State Government is endeavouring to revive. I can aptly describe Ipoh Echo as the people’s paper beside your well known “Voice in The Community.”
Dato’ Chang Ko Youn, Adviser to Menteri Besar of Perak and Perak Gerakan chief
All men make mistakes, but only wise men learn from their mistakes. ~Winston Churchill
At one time, Ipoh imported the most Mercedes Benz cars and French brandy in the whole world. That was during the rubber and tin era. Now we are in the doldrums.
But ask any visitor or tourist what they remember about Ipoh and the three oft-repeated things are its food, the architecture of its old buildings and the hills.
So, has Ipoh been staring at the solution of its malaise all this time?
Foresight and Vision
The limestone hills and the caves in our Kinta Valley are a potential money spinner. The revenue will yield more than from quarrying or any other development.
All it takes is foresight, planning and vision. That is the purpose of education; to replace an empty mind with an open one.
If we involve all Ipohites, then it becomes our collective responsibility. We may need to introduce an activity or project that makes these hills the property of all, and not just for the exclusive use of the rich or the elite.
Quarrying blasts the hills and would be killing the goose that lays the golden eggs. Moreover, it only benefits the quarry operator.
Ipohites will tell you that they never tire of waking up and seeing the beautiful hills in the skyline, shrouded in mists in the early morning.
Compare the hills with the PTTC (Perak Trade and Technology Centre) building in Jelapang, or the Sungai Pari towers in old town.
Which would we prefer to feast our eyes on? High-rises or hills? Which are eye-sores? Which feature is more aesthetically pleasing and good feng shui?
Progress in any place is not encapsulated in concrete towers or indiscriminate building works. London, Prague and Girona are European cities which are progressive but without high-rises.
Progress will accelerate once there is good local governance, with priorities and investment in the right areas. Progress involves interaction and active dialogue with the public for a healthy exchange of ideas. Progress includes having moral and social responsibilities.
Good communication links within the city and from the city to elsewhere.
Good educational facilities and institutions to equip our youth with skills.
Increased provision of health/medical facilities.
Good local housing with proper drainage and community facilities.
A visible police force.
Green lungs for rest and recreation.
Maintenance of public facilities and infrastructure.
Clean river and riverbank.
Preservation of our cultural heritage – old buildings.
Incentives for small shops and businesses.
More local libraries/art exhibition centres.
More outlets/sporting complexes within a housing area for our youth (even it if a small place for basketball or futsal or remote controlled car races).
Facilities for enjoyment of the elderly.
Regular dialogues with councillors and politicians.
Ipoh can claim to be a developed society when the normal people – hard-working middle and working classes, get to share in the riches created.
A developed society is defined not only by what it creates, but by what it refuses to destroy.
But just remember the following:
Only when the last tree has been cut down,
Only when the last outcrop has been blasted
Only when the last view of the hill has been obliterated
Only when you live in the shadow of a high-rise and cannot see the sun
Only when the last drop is unfit for drinking
Only when the last fish has been caught,
….Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.
Sadly, Malaysians do not passionately believe in preserving all that is good and pure about our environment, including our precious hills.
We realise that only the superior man seeks what is right; the inferior one, what is profitable. But that’s human nature. Nobody does anything until it’s too late.
One day, we might tell our grandchildren, “The good Earth—we could have saved it, but we were too damn cheap and lazy”.
Residents of Waller Court recently approached BN Perak’s National Public Service and Complaints Centre to complain that MBI was not maintaining its property, i.e., Waller Court.
The Waller Court flats located off Jalan Onn Jaafar (Cockman Street) and bordered within Jalan Lim Bo Seng, Taman DR and the Kinta River was built in 1962 to cater for the lower income group.
It is owned by the Ipoh City Council and houses 500 units of flats and 30 shop lots. The rental per unit ranges from RM70 to RM120 depending on the number of rooms per unit.
The Centre’s Chief, Dato’ Lee Kon Yin together with City Councillor, Lim Huey Shan subsequently visited the flats to check out the residents’ grouses.
One of the residents, Nahaman bin Mydin provided a long list of complaints such as poor overall cleanliness around the flats, leaking pipes, clogged drains, broken drain covers or no drain covers.
The residents also complained that the rubbish is not collected on time and that the rubbish chute where the bin is located should be washed down 2 to 3 times per week as the smell from rotting rubbish was overwhelming. Indeed the stench emanating from a waste chute was stifling the media personnel present while a resident was explaining the problems to Lee and Lim.
Security was another issue of concern by residents with children returning from tuition at night. Other issues reported were drug addicts living in abandoned units and that of exposed electrical wires.
Overall the issues raised were about maintenance or rather non-maintenance. As Nahaman lamented, “I am sure MBI as the owners can do something”.
Dato’ Lee stated that he would bring all these issues up with Datuk Bandar and the respective MBI officers immediately and would also follow up on them subsequently. Additionally Lee suggested organizing a gotong royong and initiating a dialogue with the residents as well as with the police on security issues.
For the future Lee advised the residents to call Councillor Lim Huey Shan (012-5127564) or Matthew from the Complaints Centre (017-5627594) whenever their complaints to MBI are not acted on after 2 weeks.