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Library or House of Horrors

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On a recent visit to the Tun Razak Library, Ipoh Echo scribes were greeted with eerie looking stairways, poorly-maintained elevators and a veritable house of horrors.

Tun Razak Library, formerly known as Ipoh Juvenile Library was built in 1931. Initially managed by Rotary Club Ipoh, Ipoh Town Council took over in 1961 and re-named the library. Soon, it became known as the Ipoh Library.

In 1977, the library was again re-named, in honour of the second prime minister of Malaysia, Tun Abdul Razak. The late prime minister’s wife, Toh Puan Hajjah Rahah officiated the opening of the library on November 11, 1977.

Libraries are places of knowledge. They are supposed to be vibrant, calming and welcoming. They are supposed to make the public feel safe and encourage them to learn. The first floor and entrance of the library did just that. It was painted with vibrant colours and well-lit, but that is about where it ends.

The staircases were dirty, with shoe marks everywhere. Nicknames and hearts ‘decorated’ the walls, full of grey-coloured prints and stains. The windows were fogged, with layers of dust, probably collected over the years. The doors were old and damaged.

The elevators were dark and poorly lit, and the outer walls were stained with unidentifiable brown substances. The environment in the stairways through all five floors was strangely unpleasant, and at some points, felt almost claustrophobic.

A few questions came to mind.

First, what has Ipoh City Council been doing to maintain, and/or improve the conditions of this library?

Malaysia achieved her Independence in 1957. It has been 61 years since, but it seems that 61 years has not taught us right from wrong.

Vandalism is wrong. Destroying property that is being funded and maintained with the public’s hard-earned money is unacceptable.

Where is our sense of morality? Where is our sense of responsibility? Where is our common sense? Named after our second prime minister, also known as Malaysia’s “Father of Development”, it seems that we have disappointed the very man this library was named after.

Now is the time for us to open our eyes and learn the value of things. If we continue living our lives without a single care of the world around us, the future generation will not be able to enjoy a single shred of the facilities that were built for us – the people that make, or break this beautiful city.

Loshni Nair

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