Some 37 primary school students from China brought smiles to the visually impaired students when they entertained them with songs and dances, late last year. The students from Hui Nan Youth Association consisting of 26 boys and 11 girls from the ages of nine and 11, visited the Malaysian Association For The Blind (MAB) Gunung Rapat, Ipoh when they were on a five-day education tour. They were accompanied by some 10 teachers and the association director Su Qi Feng. “We are here not only to foster friendship with the Malaysian students but also learn something from the visually impaired people of Perak,” he said.
The group was welcomed by the MAB Programme Director Dato’ Ahmad Saleh and Gurney Training Centre (GTC) Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur, Liew Yoon Loy. The highlight of the event was a demonstration on how the visually impaired students use Braille to type and how they use a computer using the “jaws” technology in their daily lessons.
The Braille demonstration was conducted by Arif Abu Farid who is the Braille instructor serving MAB Gunung Rapat on a voluntary basis while Meena Kumari demonstrated on the use of computer. Meena Kumari is currently teaching Braille typing and computer literacy to the visually impaired students at the MAB Gunung Rapat Centre.
Some of the matters discussed at the monthly Ipoh City Council Full-Board Meeting on Friday, April 29:
Assessment Rate Collection
Lucky draws for Ipohites who paid their 2011 assessment rates in full (one year) were held on March 10 and April 29. Prizes ranging from motorbikes, TV sets, refrigerators, washing machines and others were given to the lucky winners.
A total of 72,053 Notice E have been issued to errant property owners who have yet to settle their assessment bills. Actions to seal moveable items in properties of errant owners are being taken by the enforcement unit beginning in early April.
Amount owing by defaulters at end of February is RM46.8 million.
The Council will continue taking punitive actions on house owners who build illegal extensions. For the month of April MBI has fined six house owners netting a sum of RM20,443.
House owners are advised to get the council’s approval if they wish to make extensions to their houses. The Council reserves the right to demolish these illegal structures based on existing by-laws.
Between January 1 to April 13, a sum of RM3,880,621 was collected from 18,916 business license holders. Within the same period 705 new business licenses were issued.
Between January to March, a total of 83,440 compounds, with a face value of RM2.6 million, were issued. They were for offences such as littering, parking and hawking. A sum of RM263,904 was collected.
Another sum of RM503,768 was collected from advertisement permits, dog licences, fines from stray animals, etc.
Nine joint operations with federal agencies were conducted since January 2011. The operations targeted “jaga kereta”, beggars (including foreigners), stray animals, drug addicts, litter bugs and illegal second-hand dealers. A sum of RM24,600 was collected from owners of strays.
Civil Society Council
The Menteri Besar has suggested the setting up of a Civil Society Council (Majlis Masyarakat Sivil) to get NGOs involved in the management of local councils by way of advice and ideas. The Council has appointed 31 members of NGOs representing entities such as religion, youth, welfare, education, labour, sports, social and recreation, media and women affairs to sit in the council. The members’ responsibilities are mainly advisory without any executive powers.
Safe City Programme
The Ministry of Local Government and Housing has allotted RM1.5 million to Ipoh under its Safe City Programme. The Council with the advice of the Police has identified 13 hotspots (crime-prone areas) in the city which require close observation. The Council will initiate the following measures in the interim:
Install railings to separate pedestrians from motorcyclists.
Street lights to light up dark areas.
Install safety mirrors to cover blind spots.
The areas identified are Greentown, Ipoh Garden, Bandar Baru Medan Ipoh, Fair Park, Bercham, Polo Ground, Taman Cempaka, First Garden and others. The project will commence in mid-May and complete in July.
Rubbish-free City Programme
The Council will initiate the Rubbish-free City Programme aimed at freeing the city of rubbish. It will begin from the bottom, working upwards – from schools to parks to housing areas. The programme is similar to the one conducted in Kota Kinabalu. Cash incentives will be given to the winners in the respective categories. Kampong Sungei Rokam has been chosen as the first spot for this rubbish-free programme. Tourist Information Centre
MBI-owned Tourist Information Centre near Ipoh Padang will be manned 7 days a week following overtures from the Perak Tourist Association. The association has agreed to help by providing volunteers to man the centre on weekends. The mayor will try to resolve this matter this year.
The Council will wait for directives on healthy food for school children before acting on illegal food peddlers outside of school compounds.
MBI-sponsored Aerobathon 2011 saw keen competition coming from health buffs eager on stretching their physical limits and winning cash prizes at the same time. The event, held at Stadium Indera Mulia, Ipoh recently, drew about 200 participants of all ages and sex. They were divided into four categories based on their age. The oldest was a 59-year-old man while the youngest was a girl in her late teens. The participants were required to bend, jump, gyrate and stretch to the accompaniment of music from a player. They were being guided by a team of professional aerobic instructors who led them through the rigorous physical routine lasting a full two hours. The winners were those who lasted the ordeal and remained standing at the end.
I love Korean food: the barbecues, the selection of small appetisers, the various types of ‘kimchi’, the aroma of meats on the grill, the fire sizzling and searing the various meats on the myriad open grills around which sit eager diners, enjoying their green tea or ‘Shochu’ a strong white Korean liquor. The ambience is always one of total enjoyment, a let’s-eat-drink-and be-merry-tomorrow-is-another-day spirit of abandonment as people tuck in with gusto.
There are and have been Korean restaurants in Ipoh, some authentic, others middling, mostly small eateries which cater to about 20-30 diners. Some have come and gone and most that have closed down have not been missed or mourned. My complaint at most of them has been the sugariness (and I use this word deliberately) in their food…from the marinade of the meats to the little anchovies, to even the kimchi (raw cabbage and other vegetables pickled, using a special natural fermentation process that produces friendly bacteria which is good for the gut) which, if my memory serves me, in Korea, is pungent, tart, and distinctly ‘un-sweet’.
The latest newcomer to the Korean food scene is right up there in matching my palate. Daorae, the newly opened restaurant in deGarden fronting Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah (Tasek Road) has been opened barely a month and is already packing them in and doing a roaring business.
Daorae which in Korean means ‘everybody welcome’ is a largish restaurant with a seating capacity of 200. COO Steve Cho Seyon, a tall affable Korean, was on hand to introduce some of the restaurant’s specialities and to highlight some of the salient points on Korean style dining.
“The main elements in a Korean meal revolve around soup and rice with many accompanying side dishes. In Korea, the restaurants tend to specialise while outside Korea we need to showcase our cuisine and therefore we are inclined to have a large menu as is the case with Daorae. This will be the 11th restaurant we have opened in Malaysia and we’re still looking for more locations,” he said.
On my first visit to Daorae, I was impressed by the lack of cooking smells, despite the fact that most tables were having barbecue – a sign that their exhaust system is working well. The tables are well spaced out and the exhaust funnels hanging over each table lent a festive air to the ambience. The food was impressive enough for me to warrant a return visit and to sample more dishes.
Generous Side Dishes
They were very generous with their side dishes, on average 9-10 per day. The constants here are the two types of homemade kimchi, the cabbage and the white radish; bean sprouts and greens. Other side dishes on the days I was there included zucchini with dried shrimp; crab sticks, cucumber & carrot wrapped in omelette roll; scallion salad; black beans; braised eggplant; balitong or tiny sea snails; and spinach.
For the mains, we started with the barbecue. Instead of LPG gas which is used often in other restaurants, the barbecue at Daorae is done over charcoal which the well-trained Nepalese waiters bring carefully to the table. A small steel tureen of sliced garlic in oil is set down to simmer gently away as the meat is cooked. For every different meat dish ordered, the grill plate is changed and the charcoal too if it has cooled down.
Saeng-dung-shim is their special prime beef without marinade served with seasoned sesame oil. This was a slab of very well marbled US beef that was cut into bite sized pieces after grilling and melt-in-mouth tender. We were encouraged to take pieces of beef, dip them in the seasoned sesame oil, add some of their Korean ‘sambal’ if we so wished, and wrap the piece in a lettuce leaf which was supplied in abundance – RM75.
We followed this up with Maeun Dweji Gal-bi their filleted choice pork marinated in Korean spicy chilli sauce and again eaten the same way, this time with the addition of scallion salad to the lettuce parcel – RM28. On my previous visit I had sampled their spicy pork belly which was equally scrumptious.
Determined to sample as many dishes as we could handle, our group of four proceeded to do justice to Pa-jeon, a delicate savoury pancake comprising fresh seafood in batter topped with spring onion – RM25; Dolsot-bibim-bab, a rich layering of fresh and seasoned vegetables served in steaming hot stone bowl over a bed of steamed rice topped with fried egg, served with Korean chilli paste – like a Korean claypot rice – RM20 (I particularly enjoyed the crusty bits of the rice at the bottom); Kwen-jang-jjigae, fresh seafood, tofu and fresh vegetables in a rich traditional Korean miso broth, served with rice – RM19; O-jing-er-so-myun, sliced squid with an assortment of vegetables stir-fried in spicy sauce served with noodles – RM35. This latter dish was the onlyone that didn’t quite agree with my taste buds as it was rather sweet but my companions enjoyed it.
Daorae is definitely worth many return visits in the future.
Daorae Korean BBQ Restaurant
Lot L1-R-9, First Floor deGarden
No. 3 Persiaran Medan Ipoh, 31400 Ipoh. Tel.: 05-5482616
Satay is marinated, skewered and grilled meat served with kuah (gravy) satay, a spicy sweet concoction made of mashed peanuts, coconut milk with a dash of sugar for taste. The meat comes in a variety of preference – chicken, beef, mutton and entrails (perut).
Skewers from the midrib of the coconut leaf are the favourite, although bamboo skewers are often used. The meat is grilled over a wood or charcoal fire. To add value, sliced cucumber and onions with ketupat (steamed rice encased in coconut leaves) are served as a package. The pulling factor of satay is its sauce. Lovers will swear by its taste.
Satay may have originated from Java, Indonesia but is found in most Southeast Asian countries, especially in Malaysia and Singapore.
Some of the more popular satay outlets here in Ipoh are:
Restoran Aspirasi Bonda
14, Jalan Sci 1/16, Dataran Sunway, 31150 Ulu Kinta.
Mon-Sat: 5.30 p.m. to 12 mid-night.
Chicken and beef at RM0.60 per stick. Ketupat: RM0.50 a piece.
Restoran Serai Sate Kajang
29, Medan Ipoh 1E, Medan Ipoh Bistari, 31400 Ipoh.
Mon-Sat: 11.00 a.m. to 12 mid-night. Sun: 2.00 p.m. to 12 mid-night.
Chicken, entrails (perut) and beef at RM0.70 a stick. Mutton at RM1 a stick. Ketupat at RM0.50 a piece. Marinated meat is rich in lemongrass.
Stall #13, Taman Kanak-kanak, Ipoh; and Aneka Selera (a.k.a. Gluttons’ Square), Ipoh Garden.
Mon to Sun: 10.00 a.m. to 12 mid-night (earlier if sold out).
Chicken and beef RM0.60 a stick. Ketupat RM1 a piece. Ample size meat served with thick spicy and nutty kuah satay. Its aroma lingers in the air.
Army Act 1972 contains all the laws governing good military behaviour. Unfortunately, the Act has no provisions for domestic violence…
It is no walk in the park when making a Police report, especially when the victim is a battered woman who has been treated as a punching bag by her abusive husband. The experience is definitely not for the faint hearted. I was privy to one such incident recently and can vouch for its authenticity.
The volunteer of an Ipoh-based NGO brought this Indian lady, who had suffered physical injuries as a result of beatings by her soldier husband, to the police station to lodge a report. The police officer on duty was helpful to an extent. As the recording progressed it took a different turn when he asked that the matter be referred to the military police, as the husband was a soldier.
Report to the Military Police? What a dumb suggestion. For a start, the Military Police (MP) is not in the business of policing soldiers who beat their wives. If he is referring to regimental police of army units they too are not tasked for such a job. The 2nd Infantry Brigade Headquarters, Ipoh has only a detachment of Military Police consisting of about 25 personnel led by a subaltern. They are part and parcel of the headquarters. The primary duty of this MP detachment is to enforce discipline on soldiers within the brigade. They, however, excel in one responsibility which is so often required of them – preparing road signs. You see these signs often at traffic junctions – black metal plates with white letterings on them with the distinctive arrow pointing up or sideways.
This particular police officer’s line of questioning made it obvious that he was still unfamiliar with the extent of the Domestic Violence Act 1994. The Act, passed by Parliament in 1994, is to provide protection to victims of domestic violence and is applicable to wives, husbands and children below the age of 18. It is applicable to all Malaysians regardless of race, religion and gender. The Act is consistent with Article 8 of the Federal Constitution.
One other point I frequently harp on at public forums, is the role of the armed forces. Fair, the military is a discipline body, this is a fact. Needless to say, soldiers are being guided by a set of rules they have to obey. Otherwise, it makes a mockery of soldiering if the men in uniform are free to act on their own.
Army Act 1972, which replaced the antiquated Malay Regiment Enactment 1948, contains all the laws governing good military behaviour. Unfortunately, the Act has no provisions for domestic violence. The military, therefore, cannot act on personnel who beat up their spouses and children. The Military Police has no powers of arrest for such improprieties. However, the military can take action on soldiers who are being penalised by a civil court. If imprisoned, even for a day, they can be dishonourably discharged from service. This is an administrative action taken to keep the good name of the armed forces intact. Similarly, if the soldiers are involved in drugs, either as pushers or users, they can be discharged upon conviction in a civil court of law.
When a report is made or received from the Police or welfare officers, an Interim Protection Order (IPO) is issued by a civil court of law. The order is to prevent the abuser from further harming the victim. IPO is valid for not more than 12 months from the date it is issued.
Before the victim can make the mandatory police report, one other indignant she has to suffer is at the Ipoh General Hospital. A medical report compliments a police report in order to make the case stick. This poor Indian lady had to wait over four hours at the emergency room for her turn to be called.
There is a system of check and balance, after all. BAKAT (Badan Kebajikan Angkatan Tentera) is a social club for military wives. Every military unit has a club which is helmed by the unit commander’s wife. Had the lady made use of BAKAT to report her husband’s violence, the matter would have been resolved a long time ago. Unfortunately, she has only a vague idea of its existence.
In our continuing series on Eye Health, Consultant Ophthalmologist Dr. S.S. Gill talks to us about Eye Stress.
People who are addicted to using their smartphones may be having fun with playing games or surfing the internet, but do not realise that their eyes are stressed by the hours of staring that they do. Our eyes are in actual fact biologically not designed to stare at a computer screen all day long. If we were out “hunting” and “gathering” as we were made out to be, our eyes would get their natural break from intensive close-range staring that many people do in today’s modern age.
All the staring at computers and smartphones for long hours each time means “we are getting our eyes to do something they were not meant to do”! Unfortunately for our eyes, we do live in a world surrounded by gadgets that demand this kind of staring activity. We may be switching from using our smartphone to using the computer, and then to reading an e-book on our iPad, placing the same stressful demands on our eyes. The long hours spent using these gadgets do not help as well.
Interestingly, both men and women suffer from eye strain although women are reporting more eye and vision problems associated with their screen time than men. This is possibly because women are more prone to dry eyes than men.
It is not really known why women experience the dry-eye syndrome more than men do, but it has been speculated that hormones do play a part in tear production. The hormonal changes that occur in peri-menopausal (just around the time when menopause begins) and of course menopause itself can explain why older women are more susceptible to dry eyes, which is contributing factor towards eye strain.
Dry air in an air-conditioned environment also adds to symptoms of eye strain and fatigue. If you work in a place where the air-conditioning is extra efficient, for example in a deli or supermarket, or in a corporate office environment, the symptoms and discomfort may worsen if you suffer from dry eyes.
This is why some women develop bloodshot eyes after spending some time in a supermarket and may even look like they have had a few shots of alcohol!
It is good to remember that our eyes are in their most relaxed state when looking into the distance. This is where the 20-20-20 rule is helpful when practised. For every 20 minutes of doing concentrated near-work, look 20 feet into distance for at least 20 seconds. This deliberate activity relaxes the ciliary muscles used for near accommodation, thus reducing eye stress.
Remember to consciously take quick and regular breaks to relax your eyes whenever you are going to be working long hours on concentrated near-work. You can also shut your eyes for about 20 seconds every now and again (that is if your boss allows you!)
For more information on Eye Health, contact Gill Eye Specialist Centre at 05-5455582, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.fatimah.com.my.
It took a royal visit for a major clean-up campaign in Rapat Setia to occur, much to the delight and relief of residents there. The visit by the Raja Muda of Perak, Raja Dr. Nazrin Shah to Taman Harmony and Taman Rapat Koperasi at the beginning of last September has helped to brighten up the environment.
It needed 600 lorry-loads to remove the estimated 12,000 tons of ‘mainly construction waste’ in the area. The mammoth task of cleaning-up the illegal rubbish dumps was undertaken by a contractor engaged by the Ipoh City Council.
Yet, it is far from over. Despite the removal of the wastes, which took about a month, there are still a lot more scattered over a wide area close to housing estates and more money will be needed to be spent on clearing them.
Illegal Rubbish Dumps and Open Burnings are a Health Hazard
The illegal rubbish dumps and open burnings had been a problem for the residents for many years. They pose a health hazard and although several complaints had been made, no action was taken until now.
Ipoh Echo had, through its on-going “Dirt Vigilantes” campaign, urged its readers to submit photographs and details of filthy places in the city.
In response to the campaign, a “disappointed” resident in Rapat Setia wrote in. His letter was highlighted in IE 103 and received the immediate attention of the Raja Muda of Perak, Raja Dr. Nazrin Shah, who insisted on personally inspecting the affected area.
Raja Nazrin’s move created a scramble at the State Government and City Council. The State Secretary Dato’ Dr. Abdul Rahman and Mayor Dato’ Haji Roshidi Hashim accompanied Raja Nazrin to Taman Harmony and Taman Rapat Koperasi.
The visit by Raja Nazrin has resulted in the residents now being able to breathe fresh air without inhaling particulates and suffering the noxious smells of open burning being wafted from the nearby limestone hills.
Amazing Transforma-tion: From Dumps to Green Patches
The clean-up covers a 500-metre stretch along a track. The area has now been transformed into a green patch with young trees sprouting and resembling a scenic residential environment – the way it should be.
MBI’s Director for Community Affairs Zulkifle Jaafar Sidek clarified that “clean up work was still ongoing and that only one third of the area closest to the housing area had been cleared and had cost the council RM12,000 thus far”.
Regarding the balance of the area covering about two kilometres to be cleared, Zulkifle stated that notices have been sent to the current owners consisting of the State, TNB and private parties and he’s awaiting responses from them to take further action. Based on the size, Zulkifle estimated that it would take a year to completely clean up the entire area.
On complaints about open burnings still rampant in the area, the city council’s enforcement officers had checked but were unable to apprehend any offenders.
Praises for Raja Nazrin
Residents in the area are jubilant and full of praise for Raja Nazrin for showing his concern of the problem. They claimed that the Royal visit has sparked off the clean up and had the Raja Muda not shown a personal interest in the problem, it would not have happened.
Saiful Nizam, an officer with the State Religious Council, whose house is located just next to the cleaned up area is “happy” that the area is clean as “the way it should be”. Another resident Khairul Anuar, who has been living there for nine years, stated that “now potential thieves cannot hide in the bushes anymore. All that is needed now is regular maintenance”.
According to Khairul and Saiful, illegal burning would occur every week before the clean up began and would leave a film of ash on their cars thereafter. Currently there is still open burning taking place but not as regularly as three months ago.
At an interview during the Royal visit to the dumpsite last September. Mayor Dato’ Roshidi stated that he would enforce the law for indiscriminate throwing of rubbish. Thus, over a three- month period to December 20, several compounds had been issued for illegal dumping in the area.
Restore Ipoh’s Clean City Image
More revealing is what could be achieved if the relevant authorities took the time and effort to restore Ipoh’s past image as the “cleanest city”.
Meanwhile, all residents in the city need to be more civic conscious and not throw rubbish indiscriminately.
Ipoh Echo is also thrilled by the result of its efforts and will continue with its “Dirt Vigilantes” campaign by highlighting filthy places in the city. Readers are urged to be our vigilantes in an effort to strive for a cleaner environment.
Teamworx Television and Film GmbH of Germany, a leading German production house, is currently producing a 2-part 90-minute television movie filmed totally in Malaysia of which 10% of the locations are filmed around Ipoh.
Love and Death in Java, the title of the film, is basically a love story and a period movie set amidst the turmoil in Batavia, Java from 1939 to 1949 at the start of the Second World War.
The lead actors for the movie are actor Francis Fulton-Smith and the actress is Muriel Baumeister both popular German actors. The popular local actors include Patrick Teoh and Tony Yussof and a big host of extras.
According to Bill Donovan, the Producer with Biscuit Films, the local film production support service company, Ipoh was chosen as it has a lot of suitable heritage buildings with “all the right settings for a period movie”.
One of the scenes taking place at the verandah of the Station Hotel had actors and actresses dressed in period costumes of the colonial era. The previous day had the crews filming at Batu Gajah and in front of the Town Hall.
Donovan could not reveal the cost of producing the movie saying “I am not the main producer” but said the expenditure to house his team of 75 crew for a whole week was “sizeable”. His expenditure did not include the other multiple support crews coming in and out for the week. A welcome bonanza indeed for Ipoh’s hospitality and service industry.
Ask anyone about Ipoh and 99% of them will say it is a boring place. How can the scene of political struggles, of nature at one’s doorstep, of a place where the people can still find time for you, be termed boring? Maybe the young and dynamic crave better shopping malls, or a meaningful outlet for their creative energy. Maybe these people need the cities, for jobs or opportunities which are unavailable here. Ipoh boring? No. Laid back? Yes.
‘Boring Ipoh’ is the least of our problems. But, to be bored is a state of mind, just like happiness. You make the best of what you have and Ipoh can sometimes appear as a cultural desert, a place lacking taste, with too much kitsch and no style.
A Landfill Site?
Certainly, a travel brochure for Ipoh could describe it as the holiday equivalent of visiting a landfill site.
One need not visit Ipoh to notice the dirty sights, horrendous smells and nerve wracking sounds. One only has to read the Ipoh Echo for the readers’ views about how this once beautiful city has become a big rubbish dump.
We may moan about the choked roads during peak hours, or the state of the football team or the lack of a good transport system, but how will Ipoh compare in a ranking of Malaysian towns or cities in which to live?
Ipohites are proud folk and would react angrily if we were ranked somewhere at the bottom of this fictitious list. Haven’t we the best and cheapest food in the country? Our roads are not incessantly clogged like the urban areas elsewhere, and isn’t our atmosphere relatively unpolluted?
We may grumble about migrant labour, unemployment and the lack of culture (plays, theatre groups, etc.), Or get annoyed with suggestions that the big white ‘IPOH’ sign at two exits on the north-south highway is the closest we’ll ever get to Hollywood. But hang on; we have our very own Bond Girl, Michelle Yeoh and another budding actress, Christy Yow. And we’ve been fortunate to welcome foreign stars like Jodie Foster and Catherine Deneuve.
We probably have more colonial buildings in use and our shopping malls may not be as fantastic as Kuala Lumpur’s. A sprinkling of small shops, such as the rotan shops, or shops that make the heads for the lions in the lion dance, still fascinate many a visitor. A sizeable number of typical groceries (kedai runcit) exhibit an air of authenticity (just like in our granny’s day), though they are fast disappearing. The gentleman barber shops manage to snip men’s hair just like in our grandfather’s time. And our wet markets continue to have the same smells, sounds and sights.
Just like any other city, Ipoh is lovely in many parts but it has its downsides. Litter is a massive problem, as the Ipoh Echo never tires to reveal. Wouldn’t we love to blame our council entirely but half the problem is our own apathy. This paper too has revealed that the inhabitants of certain parts of town have no pride in their surrounding areas and are responsible for rubbish piles that mushroom overnight.
Shape Up or Ship Out
But why? This city has a lot going for it and it has some of the friendliest people in the country. We’d all love to say to those people who want to sully our good name – get a life!
Ipoh has got everything anyone would need from a city and we love it here. So if you want to be part of this great place, you’ll just have to shape up.