Discover and Learn More with The Untold Story of Ipoh

Ipohites can now purchase their very own copy of ‘Ipoh: The Untold Story’, a photo book detailing the undisclosed sides of our beloved town, which was launched yesterday on June 27 at Tin Alley, Old Town. 

Its main author, Halim Henry Berbar, said that the book is not only an ordinary daily guide book for readers, but it’s also a further insight into possibly overlooked places in Ipoh. 

Conpany logo of Romney Shields MG Spares (Southend) from Sussex, England, established as an advertising medium for Guan Hoe Company in Ipoh Old Town, some time after the Japanese occupation. Photo by Henry

“We took a different approach for Ipoh: The Untold Story,” the French photojournalist remarked. “We do not want the book to be categorised as just a tour guide book. We would also like readers, Ipohites and beyond, to truly understand the vast culture and history of the town, from the Japanese occupation in the 1940s to the arts and craft cultivated by generations before us, which might not have the attention of Ipohites themselves.

“Thus, instead of the usual text-orientated book, we went with a much more visual approach,” Henry noted.

The book is 126 pages long, featuring contents ranging from the various architectural styles of buildings around the city to traditional crafts exclusive to Ipoh, not mentioning pictures depicting Ipohites in their daily lifestyles and natural heritage. 

View of shophouses in New Town, photo by Henry


“From planning to realisation, the book took six months to finish,” he mentioned. 

The book’s art director, Farsya Ahmad, conveyed her appreciation to the friendliness and hospitality of Ipohites who made her feel at home during the process of conceptualising the book. 

Kallumalai Arulmigu Subramaniyar Temple in Ipoh, photo by Henry

“I really enjoyed getting to know and experiencing the Ipoh lifestyle,” the Kelantan-born lady based in Kuala Lumpur enthused. “To capture the essence of Ipoh, I first needed to visit and understand every place of the city along with the significance behind them. 

“There are not only beautiful places in town to be captured, but I also had the opportunity to appreciate the arts and culture, besides meeting friendly and interesting people of Ipoh,” Farsya further expressed. “Of course, I love discovering Ipoh food too.” 

Always rising up to challenges , she stated that the biggest difficulty in the process was filtering out photos for inclusion into the book. 

“All the photos taken by Henry are amazing, which was hard for me to choose the best photos,” Farsya admitted. “Furthermore, he was very involved in each process, from the book layout to picking photos.

“He’s still upset that I did not include his personal favourite photos into the book,” she quipped. 

Tim and Henry presenting a cheque of proceedings from book sales of The Untold Story

‘Ipoh: The Untold Story’ is the first of the Untold Story Asia book series to be realised by Amos HBL Ventures Sdn Bhd. Its managing director, Ipoh-born Tim Chee, disclosed that future releases under the book series will focus on other parts of Malaysia, such as Malacca and Kedah.

“I grew up in Ipoh and I felt that the essence of Ipoh is still not made known enough to other parts of our country, let alone internationally,” he lamented. “Foreigners, especially, know more about other cities like Penang and Kuala Lumpur.

“This is part of the reason we’re doing a bit more to promote Ipoh, at the very least to a deeper extent,” Tim explained. “Good food, old buildings in Ipoh; their details are worth capturing to be acknowledged by everyone.”

(From left) Farsya Ahmad, Poh Sze, Tim Chee, Henry Berbar, Leong Hing Wah, Pak Peter, Leong Meng Fai (representing Ian Anderson)

The team of Ipoh: The Untold Story would like to convey their gratitude to Ian Anderson, managing director of IpohWorld, a non-profit organisation of Ipoh’s history and heritage preservation; Peter Bucher (Pak Peter), co-founder of Sharpened Word, an interactive literary platform focusing on the scene of arts and culture in Ipoh; and Leong Hing Wah, chief operating officer of Tin Alley, a curated art space in Old Town, among many others, whose continued contributions to keep the arts alive in Ipoh, made completing the book possible.

“Part of proceedings earned from book sales will be donated to charity organisations and old folk homes,” Tim mentioned. “This is a way to help one another during these trying times.”

200 copies have been sold so far. The book, each priced at RM100, is currently available at Tin Alley, Han Chin Pet Soo and 22 Hale Street. It is also available online at For more information, go to their Facebook page at


Chris Teh

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