Thirty four colts and fillies from champion bloodlines came under the hammer at the National Stud Farm in Tanjung Rambutan recently. This was the 19th year that such an auction was held and the fifth for Malaysian-bred horses. The auctioneer was David Chester of Magic Millions Sales Pty Ltd., a world-renowned thoroughbred auction house from Australia.
Despite uncertainties in the horse-racing world, the 2012 National Premier Sale saw many members of the racing fraternity, locals and foreigners, converging at the National Stud Farm. The farm, incidentally, was the brainchild of Tunku Abdul Rahman, the country’s first premier and was built in 1969. It is now a division of Pan Malaysian Pools Sdn. Bhd.
The 2-year-olds were brought into the ring one by one for the bidding, with a starting price of RM10,000. The filly of resident National Stud Farm sire, “Dolphin Street”, a half sister of “Beautiful Choice”, the 2011 Malaysian Bred Horse of the Year, was the crowd’s favourite. She received a bid for RM70,000. The highest bid, however, went to a bay filly which went for RM85,000 which was made by trainer, Robyn Brogan.
The auction grossed almost a million ringgit from 34 lots. Stud farm manager, Ray Knight, was happy with the sale. His years of hard work had come to fruition. Horses sold at the sale qualified for the winning performance bonus, valid for five years ending on December 31, 2017.
Bukit Kinding Eco Park Resort (BKEPR), Tanjung Rambutan, got itself into The Malaysia Book of Records for introducing the longest Double Zipline Flying Fox in the country measuring 486 metres in length.
The record-breaking certificate was presented to Bukit Kinding Eco Park Resort by State Exco for Tourism Dato’ Hamidah Osman.
The Flying Fox is an activity where a participant rides down an inclined cable located at high point. At BKEPR the glide down provides the participant with a breathtaking view of the Kinta Valley which is more spectacular at sunset.
BKEPR has transformed itself into an eco-adventure resort and offers a unique variety of activities such as stand-up paddling, free kayaking, zorbing as well as paintball.
Dato’ Hamidah who was pleased at the ‘products’ that the Resort had to offer, mentioned that “if properly packaged with other adventure locations like Gopeng, eco-adventure tourism had good marketing potential.”
Perak, the treasure trove of peninsular Malaysia is a land full of fascination. Tantalizing food, sun-kissed beaches, enchanting landscapes and heritage trails are some of the examples which make up the heartbeat of this beautiful state. To walk in the footsteps of our ancestors, to feel the ambiance of the past and to learn to appreciate the rich heritage that exists in our own land was the call of the day on a recent Perak Heritage Society (PHS) excursion to Chemor.
Neolithic Rock Paintings, Chinese and Indian Temples, On the Chemor Heritage Trail
The event, lead by Law Siak Hong and his team was opened to the public and an enthusiastic group of 14 people turned up for the memorable occasion. In reality, this nostalgic trail is a loop which starts from Tambun and ends in Tanjung Rambutan.
Gunung Panjang, Tambun was our first stop. This place is famed for its Neolithic rock paintings dating more than 2,000 years back. One needs to take a leisurely walk along an overgrown trail and climb a flight of steep concrete steps before reaching
Gua Tambun where the Tambun Rock Paintings are found. We were enthralled by the red-pigmented paintings which bears a slight resemblance to the aboriginal paintings of Australia. It has been noted that there are more than 600 prehistoric rock paintings but they are rapidly fading due to exposure to natural elements through time. Illustrations of dugongs, deer, tapirs and wild boars can still be seen and with a vivid imagination, many others may start appearing too.
Flora & fauna is abundant in Gunung Panjang. We took our time to soak in the beauty of nature and were admonished to not deviate from the path as we may unknowingly tread on some artefacts and destroy a part of history.
Tong Wah Temple
Tong Wah Tong or Tong Wah Temple, located along Batu 7, Jalan Ipoh-Tanjung Rambutan was our next stop. Most of Ipoh’s cave temples nestled among the many limestone hills in Kinta Valley but this interesting site is wedged half way up Gunung Layang Layang. One has to be physically fit to climb a flight of 168 steps before reaching the main entrance. Do take a breather while ascending as one can be rewarded with a great panoramic view of Kinta.
At the entrance of Tong Wah Tong, two gigantic murals depicting a green dragon and a tiger are paired off on each side of the wall. The murals of the mythical Chinese dragon & tiger are symbolic to ward off evil spirits. Having been there before, I noticed that the green dragon has been repainted gold. I was told by a temple helper that the reason for doing so is that golden dragons represent themost sovereign of the metallic dragons and they are also the mostdedicated to defeating evil.
On entering, an impressive altar is seen inside the main chamber. We were also shown a meditation centre located on another level.
Tanjung Rambutan was our next destination. This is a multiracial small town where everyone is living in harmony. On the main road, one can spot a gurdwara (Sikh temple), an Indian temple, a mosque and a Chinese temple quite close to each other.
Pre-war architecture like SJK (C) Tat Choi and the railway station can still be seen. The rustic railway station, built in 1897, has seen better times. Sadly, it will soon be Mandailing architecture demolished to make way for the new double track. Trains do not stop here anymore but one can still visit this nostalgic place to look at the architecture and try the local delicacies which are being sold around this station. Don’t miss the Railway pasembor stall which opens from noon till dusk (closes on Friday). The pasembor is simply one of the best that I have tasted.
Kampung Mandailing, Chemor was our next call. Kak Nadimah, a descendent of Raja Bilah, was there to welcome us to her lovely house built in the 19th century.
We were shown her collection of heirlooms. Solid antique furniture, four-poster beds, collections of lamps and bottles,a giant cookie press and the beautiful century-old tekat(embroidery) were artistically displayed. Kak Nadimah, being the perfect hostess who not only speaks excellent English but is a fantastic cook as well, treated us to a spread of Malay/Mandailing cuisine which included her specialty, the Kuih Makmurfilled with pineapple jam. Chronicles of her father, the former head-man of Kampung Mandailing were later shared with us.
Chemor railway station which was built in 1896 was our next stop. Shady trees and wild flowers lined the path leading to the station. Manned by Hassan, the station master, this place has also seen better days but trains do stop as key drops are still carried out here. Hassan graciously showed us around as we noted a phone with single line, antique train ‘keys’, and mechanical lever frames.
Our final stop was back to Tanjung Rambutan. This time we headed for Hospital Bahagia, Ulu Kinta (HBUK). With Gunung Korbu, the second highest peak in west Malaysia standing majestically within a short distance, one can feel the invigorating fresh mountain air blowing gently in the valley invigorating and refreshing the soul. This place is indeed the perfect location for a psychiatric hospital.
HBUK, built a century ago on 503 acres of land, was formerly known as Central Mental Hospital, Tanjung Rambutan. We were much honoured to be escorted by James Anthony, the supervisor of HBUK, around the vicinity. A brief history of this place was shared with us and we were taken round in a bus to visit the wards, gardens and lovely old colonial buildings which have stood the test of time.
Heritage trails evoke a sense of nostalgia. I hope that we will not let the old world charm disappear from our lives. As we are living on borrowed time, it is imperative that we preserve the rich culture and heritage found in Perak for future generations to appreciate.
The Roots, a resort dedicated to eco-tourism on the banks of the Kinta River in Tanjung Rambutan, had their first intake of visitors from the German European School in Singapore recently. Comprised 71 students and four teachers, the group was a five-day field trips throughout Perak.
The resort’s study programme focuses on raising awareness of environmental conservation and sustainability issues, particularly to young people who have the power to shape the future of our planet.
The students, whose average age is 13 years, were taken on action-packed field trips from Gua Tempurung at Gopeng and its surrounding adventure camps to Matang Mangrove Forest at Taiping where they had a chance to re-plant mangrove seedlings, thus replenishing an important habitat for many endangered bird species found nearby.
Conservation of indigenous cultures is also part of the programme and as such their trip included a visit to the Orang Asli village at Kampong Tonggan, Ulu Kinta where students integrated with the children of Orang Asli families. The ice-breaker activity was singing the song ”heads, shoulders, knees and toes” repeatedly but in various dialects starting from English to Bahasa Malaysia.
Back at The Roots, the students learnt to play sepak takraw, made a poster inspired by the Orang Asli visit, and even had some target practice using traditional Orang Asli blow-pipes.
For a sense of adventure the students visited Kellie’s Castle where they participated in a quest designed by Ecofieldtrips that took them through its dungeons and secret passageways to discover the tale of The William Kellie Smith family.
Ipoh history was a major focus throughout the week especially the tin industry culminating in a fun tin panning session.
Throughout the week the students were led by a team of eight experienced biologists to learn about the diverse history, biology, people and attractions that Perak and Ipoh have to offer.
According to the co-owner of the resort, Bridget Hedderman, the programme for this first batch took over eight months to prepare together with her team of biologists. Bridget herself is an experienced biologist and conservationist with a Masters in Education and is pro-active in marine conservation and education.
For the remainder of the year Roots already has bookings from another 10 schools from countries like France, Singapore, Dubai and Hong Kong as well as KL and Penang.
One of the visiting teachers said that the Roots programme was one of the best programmes available for eco-tourism and educating young minds. With this in place, Perak now has a tour programme, albeit a study programme, which enables participants to appreciate the diverse natural attractions available in the state, as well as to learn about its history.
The new Perak fieldtrip has certainly taken off to a brilliant start and if the response of the first batch of students is anything to go by, it has taken firm root for The Roots to receive more students in the future!