In reply to the letter by Yin Ee Kiong in Ipoh Echo Issue 200, I wish to apologise for your bad experience in Concubine Lane. I run the shop that sells bling. I think it is good to point out that I am a young person in Ipoh. I wish I would have spoken to you and made your experience on the street a little bit better. But I tend to be a little awestruck with people who have seen the likes of Whiteaways and George Town Dispensary. I assure you the shops on Concubine Lane offer the best hospitality in town.
I feel you have mistaken what we do on our street. While we do sell bling, we also do a lot of other inspirational things. I noticed your penchant for things local. Half of the stuff sold at our shop are from Ipoh’s start-up vendors, which we believe in giving opportunities to. Most of them are just like me and the people you mentioned in your letter, young adults in Ipoh trying to start something on their own.
The shop is part of our efforts to help build Ipoh. That is to help and support inspiring and creative people in Ipoh. We support a large cross-section of Ipohites; senior and young, NGOs and groups. We are a shop that sells bling with a big heart.
We are also home to the likes of the Ipoh Bus Project, which is not to be missed at the front of the shop. The Ipoh Bus Project is a citizen-initiated project that advocates the use of the bus system, while building an identity for Ipoh. The project has painted bus stops, looked at the unique designs of the Ipoh bus system and, periodically, feed good articles to educate fans. The project runs on the positive, not the negative. You would have loved it. I am sorry you missed this.
For the street, I cannot speak for everyone but, all are free to speak to us and the neighbours. Views on heritage are diverse, and there is no single true answer. Ipoh is a living and breathing city. It has many silly quirks you love and hate. It ebbs and flows on current functional needs and aesthetic tastes. I do not wish to defend bad buildings as it will do no good to my reputation, instead I hope you will seek and understand the choices made.
I am particularly proud of the development around Kong Heng by Sek San and friends. They have brought about a different, more contemporary direction from the Penang and Melaka models. This could have only happened in Ipoh because of our existing heritage and ‘relaxed’ regulation on heritage; allowing creative people to experiment.
Finally, while we may sell bling and our street a miss-mash of different happenings, it does not mean we are not doing anything good or inspiring for Ipoh. I assure you, all we think about every day is about Ipoh. I have a lot of respect for the small movers in Ipoh. The small is inseparable and of equal importance to the big. In football the biggest teams rely on the school teams to discover and train talent and the smaller teams rely on the bigger teams to inspire their talent. There is no competition, only a symbiotic relationship. I hope you will stand and support us on Concubine Lane, as equally as you support other parts of town. We are part of Ipoh too.
SomeoneThe shop selling ‘bling’