Nostalgia: Some Famous Ipoh Indians

By Ian Anderson

While there have been many Indian ‘famous names’ in Ipoh since 1875, space restricts us to just three:

Shaik Adam – Entrepreneur

Perhaps the very first of these was Shaik Adam, founder of the Mohammedan Mosque by the Padang. He started his new life in Malaya as a clerk in Penang in the tailor’s shop of A Moungyee, who also owned APK Soda Water Company. In 1899, Moungyee started a second factory in Ipoh which, in 1906, Shaik Adam managed to buy and rename the Kinta Aerated Water Company. Then, recognising the high cost of ice, which was in short supply, he opened the Ipoh Ice Factory and supplied good quality ice at an affordable price. Not content with his success, he also set up a popular bakery on Panglima Street forming the amalgamated company, “Kinta Ice Aerated Water and Bakery Co. His son, Jan S.A. Sahib, from Madras, succeeded him.

A. Jeyamoney – Pugilist

A. Jeyamoney was born in Thiranvelu District, Southern India, 1919, as Jebamoney s/o Jesudian s/o Asirvatham and came to Malaya with his brother Ponnusamy in the 1920s. They joined their grandfather in Ipoh and were educated at ACS, Ipoh. The family lived in Buntong and then Falim.

Professionally a cattle breeder from 1940, Jebamoney took up boxing as a second career and chose the name A. Jeyamoney which translated to luck or good fortune in Tamil. A successful boxer, he was billed as “like a mountain goat coming down the mountain to teach his opponent to fight like he has never fought before”. A great fighter, he was matched against the famous Kid Pancho more than once. But his luck ran out when his entire herd of cattle were wiped out by Foot and Mouth disease in 1978 and he retired a broken man. He passed away five years later.

S.L. Chettiapa Chettiar – Educationalist

Around 1910, the first Chettiar learning centre was founded by the Ipoh Chettiar S.L. Chettiapa Chettiar who donated his wooden bungalow so that the children of the local Chettiars could be educated in their traditional way. At the time, he was a prominent figure among Ipoh’s Chettiar community. By 1927, the original bungalow was too small for the 27 Chettiar pupils and one teacher.

Consequently, S.L. Chettiappa Chettiar appealed to the Temple Committee of Sri Thandayuthapani Temple (in Lahat Road), to grant permission to use a portion of the temple premises to be converted to a Chettiar/Tamil school. Thus, under the able leadership of Mr Chelliah, a scholar from Ceylon, a new school “Chettiar Kalasalai” was born.

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