By Darshini Sandrasagaran
The old-school barbers are vanishing day by day as more contemporary hairdressers and salons are mushrooming. Old school barbers are always known for their inexpensive charges and the after-cut signature neck massages.
The institution of barber is very old in India. Usually, barbers belong to a particular sub-caste back in India. In the early 30s, some of them emigrated to Malaysia and began cutting hair with a pair of scissors and comb under shady trees. Mobile barbers then slowly progressed to setting up a place for themselves in buildings.
New Star Salon
If you’ve been to Concubine Lane before, you would have seen a smaller barber shop which can only accommodate the barber and maybe two of his customers. It stands alone amidst the uniquely dilapidated setting.
The New Star Saloon was started at Jalan Sultan Yusof back in 1927. Mr Thirunavukarasu’s father set up a shop which accommodated 14 barber chairs back then and had 14 barbers working under him. Today they relocated the shop to a smaller platform. According to him, he barely gets a customer on weekdays while on weekends and public holidays, he manages to have about six to eight customers.Charges per head: RM15 Services: gentleman haircut, shaving, head massages and talking partner Operating hours: 10am-5pm (Monday-Sunday, including public holidays) Contact: 011 2785 8900 (Mr Thirunavukarasu) Address: Concubine Lane
Medan Kidd Salon
Hidden in a narrow corner of the old building in the Medan Kidd bus station, the outlet has been going strong since 1965. Mr Manikam who established the outlet then passed it over to Mr Balan in 1978 and the outlet is still being managed by Mr Balan single-handedly.Charges per head: RM8 Services: haircuts, shaving, hair dyeing, head massages Contact: 016 565 7415 Address: Medan Kidd bus station
Kedai Gunting Rambut Bunga Raya
Situated at the rather dead town in Simpang Pulai, this outlet became a hang-out spot for the regulars. This outlet is being managed by three brothers who started it in 1970. The outlet always greets one with evergreen Tamil songs where the regulars drop by to have a cup of tea from a nearby shop and chat.Charges: RM10 Services: haircuts, shaving, head massage Operating hours: 8am-11pm Address: 2 Persiaran Simpang Pulai 2, Taman Muda, 31300 Ipoh.
Bercham Hair Dressing Salon
Fondly known as Raj, he set up the salon 20 years ago and printed flyers to promote his outlet in the neighbourhood. The chatty man manages the outlet single-handedly since then.Charges: RM10-15 Services: haircuts, shaving, hair dyeing, head massage Address: Lot 417, Trade Parade, Jalan Bercham, 31400 Ipoh.