Batu Gajah, My Hometown

Out of pride and love for one’s hometown the launch of the book titled, ‘Batu Gajah, My Hometown’ was held on Wednesday, February 14 at author Chee Hee Seng’s residence in Sunway City Ipoh. The choice of the date was obvious as it was Valentine’s Day.

The 258-page self-published softcover contains 72 articles written by former-students and residents of Batu Gajah. “Each article is like a piece of the jigsaw puzzle. When all the articles are read, a picture of what life was like in Batu Gajah emerges,” said Chee.

“The book is intended to be a legacy of Batu Gajah to be read and cherished by the town’s residents for posterity. This is the book to keep and pass on,” said the 78-year-old former teacher. The nostalgic recollections and the camaraderie established were the highpoints of the writing process, it took Chee nine months to put everything together.

Most of the 52 contributors are in their sixties, seventies, eighties, and in the case of guest of honour, Dato’ Seri Azlanii N.S. Selvamany, nineties.

Attended by guests from as far as Canada, the lively event was accompanied by music provided by a string quartet. “This is a huge family. Some of them haven’t met for years,” the affable Selvamany told Ipoh Echo during the gathering.

Present was Dr Ho Tak Ming, who penned the foreword for the book. “One of my earliest memories in the early fifties was playing in the padang (field) behind our government quarters on Post Office Road. In the mornings it was quiet but in the evenings, especially when there was a football match on, it was packed with people, some having travelled miles on their bicycles to watch the match. The crowd was multiracial, and they intermingled freely,” Ho, who has written ‘Generations – The Story of Batu Gajah’ and ‘Ipoh When Tin was King’ among others, recalled.

Priced at RM40, contact Mrs Chee at 012 517 5633 for inquiries to purchase the book. It is also available at Royale Hotel along Post Office Road in Batu Gajah and the Toyota showroom in Ipoh.

Mei Kuan

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