Tag Archives: ipoh echo issue 119

Resident Consultant Ophthalmologist, Hospital Fatimah Ipoh

Dry Eyes


Dr. S.S. Gill

In our continuing series on Eye Health, Consultant Ophthalmologist Dr. S.S. Gill talks to us about dry eyes.

Dry eyes is a condition due to the reduction in the quantity or altered quality of the tears. Tears are necessary for the lubrication of our eyes and to wash away particles which can cause infection. You can imagine the eyes to be like “a fish without water” when they lack tears!

If you have dry eyes, you may feel a burning, stinging sensation. You may also experience tired eyes after reading, even for short periods of time. If you wear contact lenses, they may feel uncomfortable or scratchy to the eyes. It is estimated that up to 15% of adults suffer from Dry Eye Syndrome and that this figure continues to rise.

What Causes Dry Eye?

Dry Eye Syndrome is most common in adults aged 40 and older. As you age, your eye’s tear glands produce less of this fluid, making your tear film break. This causes most dry eye sufferers to feel painful eye irritation and experience vision loss.

Causes of Dry Eye include:

* Aging or menopause.
* Constant exposure to air-conditioners, wind and sun.
* Smoking or second-hand smoke exposure.
* Previous eye surgery such as Lasik.
* Eye injury, facial paralysis, poor lid closure.
* Certain medications like antihistamines.

Why are Tears Important?

Tears have 3 basic functions. Firstly, they bathe and protect our eyes. Secondly, they also contain proteins and nutrients which provide nourishment to the eye. Thirdly, tears help refract light to keep vision nice and sharp.

Tears are not just simple watery fluid but are actually comprised of 3 layers – the FATTY (lipid) layer, WATERY (aqueous) layer, and the MUCIN layer.

The outer FATTY layer works by keeping our tears from evaporating or drying-up too soon. This layer is produced by our eyelid glands, so if you have unhealthy eyelids, a defective fatty layer would result. In this condition, tears could dry up very fast.

The middle AQUEOUS layer is the main WATERY part of your tears, while the inner MUCIN layer is the “glue” layer needed to keep the whole tear film well spread on the eye surface.

A defect in any one of these 3 layers of the tear film will cause inadequate or poor quality tears.

If you have Dry Eyes, you may try the following:

  • Use preservative-free artificial tears, available as either drops or ointment.
  • Don’t smoke. Avoid second-hand smoke, direct wind, and air conditioning.
  • Use a humidifier, especially if you are constantly in an air-conditioned room.
  • Purposefully blink more often and rest your eyes when you feel strained.

Severe dry eyes may result in eye redness and pain. Some may even experience flaking, discharge, or a lesion on the eye. If after trying the above self-care steps and your dry eyes do not improve within a few days, see your eye-care practitioner.

For more information on Eye Health, contact Gill Eye Specialist Centre at 05-5455582, email: gilleyecentre@dr.com or visit www.fatimah.com.my.

What is happening to Ipoh Airport?


By James Gough

Much has been said and written about the Ipoh Airport or the Sultan Azlan Shah Airport. Hence when it was reported earlier this year that Sunway Construction Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Sunway Holdings Bhd, was awarded the tender to upgrade the airport, it was greeted with much expectation. Finally, a positive outcome seems imminent. The value of the contract was reported to be worth RM37.36 million.

The current Sultan Azlan Shah Airport or Lapangan Terbang Sultan Azlan Shah (LTSAS) was developed from a small Fokker airfield to accommodate medium-range jetliners such as Boeing 737s and an instrument landing system was installed in the late 80s when Sultan Azlan Shah was the then Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia.

Many would remember that the airport was readied in time for the visit of Queen Elizabeth II who paid a courtesy visit to the Royal Town of Kuala Kangsar in 1989 the same year that HRH Sultan Azlan Shah was crowned the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. The current ‘short cut’ road linking Jalan Lapangan Terbang to Jalan President Kennedy was also opened at the same time, just for the visit.

Although the federal government had provided an allocation of RM60 million for its upgrade last year, there was still talk of relocating the airport to the Dindings district as well as construction of a new airport up north within the Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER).

Dato’ Samsudin Hashim

A check with Dato’ Samsudin Hashim, the Chief Executive of Perak State Development Corporation – the state authority overseeing the project, provided an insight of what Perakeans can expect come September 2012, the date for completion of the project.

According to Samsudin, most of the work is being handled by the Ministry of Transport (MOT) and he thanked the federal government for accommodating the requests of the state government. The work is not confined to extending the runway by 200 metres but covers the whole airport.

Operations’ Background

Samsudin provided a background of the airport’s operations, saying that in its heyday when MAS was operating from Subang, over 500,000 passengers passed through its doors and it also had a healthy cargo operation.

Subsequently, when the North-South Expressway was opened in 2005, domestic travel between Ipoh to Penang and Kuala Lumpur became more practical by car.

The abrupt stop of services by MAS followed by a similar termination by Air Asia in 2006 turned the airport into a white elephant. Air Asia’s reason for stopping their Ipoh-Senai (Johor) route was due to their switch of aircraft from Boeing B737-200 to Airbus A320, with the explanation after the switch, that Ipoh Airport’s  “current runway was just too short to accommodate the new aircraft”.

Air service has became more competitive since the introduction of double tracking and electric trains which run right to the centre of Kuala Lumpur. Due to the accessibility of these services, Ipoh Airport has to reconsider its strategy. It now embarks on becoming a truly regional airport.

Scope of Work

According to Hj Mohd Rosli, MOT’s Undersecretary  (Development Division) the upgrading plan includes extending the runway by 200 metres, improving the airport’s terminal and apron, extension of the building and upgrading the existing customs and immigration facilities. Aircraft refuelling facilities available now will also be upgraded. “The completed airport will have its current passenger and visitor capacity increased by more than 10%,” added Rosli. Cargo handling and aircraft maintenance services have also been included into the upgrading plan, clarified PSDC Samsudin when asked.

Airport a Catalyst

Samsudin added that, “Logistics support is a key component for industrial development. The state’s objective is to position Ipoh as a regional airport and be economically viable by linking it with other international service airports within a radius of 2.5 hours.”

“Industrial development cannot depend on the domestic market any longer and has to go regional. Whilst in the process of promoting the State’s industrial development we will also be promoting the airport’s services”.

Ipoh’s position within the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle (IMTGT) is strategic and this has been indicated to the IMTGT member countries. “This is a way forward for the airport and we will be promoting it to other ASEAN countries” giving the example of Singapore who “has been a significant contributor to the State’s industrial development.”

According to Samsudin the most important factor in this upgrade is the Flight Operator. Currently only Firefly is using the airport twice daily to Singapore. “PSDC will be approaching other Flight Operators and hopefully other budget airlines will offer their services”.

Other Commercial Services

Providing cargo services is important and all sectors whether trading or manufacturing will be positive beneficiaries, acknowledging that the aquaculture and agriculture industry players have been requesting for this service earlier.

Another service that the state is promoting is aircraft maintenance services especially for helicopters and small aircraft which it views as having “good potential”.

Eighteen Months Too Long

When enquired if the 18 month duration for the completion of the airport was too long, Rosli from MOT replied that, “Ipoh Airport is a running airport. You have commercial flights daily and a lot of activity is contributed by the flying school…18 months is normal.”


Regarding the tourism industry Samsudin advised the stake holders to take note of the date September 2012 as an “opportunity to expand their business value. There should not be a delay targeting September 2012.”


Workshop for Single Mothers


Over a hundred participants, mainly single mothers from outlying areas of Ipoh, attended a seminar cum workshop on HIV and Domestic Violence at Tower Regency Hotel recently. The one-day forum, jointly organised by BN Services and Complaints Bureau and Women Institute of Management (WIM), was graced by Perak Information Chief, Dato’ Hamidi Abu Bakar.

In her welcoming speech, WIM co-founder and CEO, Dato’ Nellie Tan-Wong highlighted the plight of battered women and HIV sufferers. “Women from rural backgrounds are at a greater risk of being violated, given their ignorance and naivety,” she told the audience. The number of HIV-stricken women has increased many folds over the years, “This is a cause for concern,” she added.

Dato’ Hamidi called on single mothers to overcome this shortcoming by being better informed. “Financial independence is one way out,” he said. “Seek assistance from agencies such as Yayasan Bina Upaya, as they are equipped to help the needy and the marginalised.” The foundation provides micro-financing to enterprising single mothers.

Nazrina Yoram, 31, was full of praise for the organisers. “I hope more of this will be held in the future. I stand to benefit from the exposure.”


Age Well – Stay Vibrant


Dr. Manuel K. Punnia Raj, Consultant Physical Therapy Rehabilitation

By Dr. Manuel K. Punnia Raj

Getting older brings with it a variety of new physical, emotional and mental challenges. However, the aging process doesn’t have to leave you feeling overwhelmed. The wealth of information and resources available today make it possible for people to manage many aspects of the aging process.  As we age, our body changes in many ways that affect the function of both individual cells and organ systems. These changes occur little by little and progress inevitably over time.

Geriatrics is the branch of medicine that focuses on health care of elderly people. It aims to promote health by preventing and treating diseases and disabilities in older adults. The aged body is different physiologically from the younger adult body. The presentation of disease in elderly persons may be vague and non-specific.

Geriatric ailments which threaten older adults include immobility, instability, incontinence and impaired intellect/memory. Impaired vision and hearing loss are common chronic problems among older people.  As we age, we face many physical and emotional changes that can affect our level of function and well-being. Remember every one of us will be geriatric individuals one day.

Rehabilitation maintains functional independence in the elderly. Rehabilitation of geriatric patients is imperative for the patients’ well-being and for society. Essential to geriatric rehabilitation is communication, specifically improving any sensory impairment including those related to vision and hearing. The prevention of falls and osteoporosis can improve the patient’s health and longevity.

Joint problems are extremely common and are the number one cause of reduced activity as we get older. Joint problems are more difficult to identify and treat in older adults compared with younger people. The x-rays and blood tests used to diagnose joint problems often show changes that could be due to normal wear and tear in the joint. This means that sometimes changes seen on x-rays are not causing the current symptoms. In addition, older adults may have more than one condition in which the joints are affected, such as osteoarthritis and tendonitis. Older adults may also have medical or surgical complications that make treatment more difficult. However, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and receiving proper medical care can greatly reduce the disability that joint problems often cause in older adults.

Lower your risk of falling:

Help keep your bones strong by taking calcium and vitamin-D every day. Older adults absorb calcium citrate better than calcium carbonate. Ask your healthcare provider how much calcium and vitamin-D you should take.

If you don’t exercise regularly, start. Just be sure to talk with your healthcare provider first, which will help you come up with an exercise plan that’s right for you. Walking is an ideal aerobic (“heart healthy”) exercise; gradually increase the amount of time you spend walking, aiming for at least 20-30 minutes a day. In addition to walking, do free and assisted exercises like aerobics, cycling, etc. which help strengthen your muscles and protect your bones.

If you’ve already had a fall, be sure to ask your healthcare provider about exercise programs in your community that include not only strength training and balance exercises but also flexibility and stretching exercises. These can also help lower your risk of falls.

For more Information on Physical Health Contact your right health partner: PHYSIO BEYOND – The Physical Rehabilitation Specialist at 05-5478786.

SeeFoon blisses out on Char Kway Teow and Kai See Hor Fun

SeeFoon at www.ipohecho.com.my

By See Foon Chan-Koppen

Ever since I’ve lived in Ipoh, I have always been on the lookout for the definitive ‘Char Kway Teow’; that ubiquitous fried rice-noodle dish that is found in many a coffee shop. Nostalgia always overwhelms me as I watch: the fire blazing away, the welcoming sound of the spatula resonating against the wok, as the cook throws in a smidgen of chopped garlic, followed by a handful of the broad rice noodles, soya sauce, adding bean sprouts here, some prawns there, the de rigueur cockles, and the final touch of an egg topping. I am salivating already and hoping with each encounter….. Is this the definitive Char Kway Teow of my childhood growing up in Singapore? I have spent the rest of my adult life seeking out this one dish, only to be disappointed time and again; although in latter years I have found satisfaction in Penang.

Quintessential Char Kway Teow

But no longer do my gustatory yearnings go unsatisfied in Ipoh. I have found the quintessential Char Kway Teow stall that satisfies me on all counts, from the generosity of the bean sprouts and koo chai or green chives, to the addition of sliced Chinese preserved sausage (Lap Cheong), and cholesterol-be-gone pork lardons which add its inimitable crunch to the whole dish. A bonus is the willingness of the cook who will add the right amount (as per your request) of chilli to fry with the noodles (other stall cooks may nod their head, then fry bland noodles and put a dollop of watery chilli sauce on the side) fry till dry, which is just the way I like it and top off with more lardons when requested. For me pure bliss!

This stall, run by two sisters in the Jen Jen coffee shop behind the Tow Boo Keong temple is open only for breakfast and finishes by around 1.30 p.m. or until supplies run out. All the other stalls do the same with some running out sooner than others. Big – RM4.30 Small – RM3.80.

A Breed Apart

Another wildly popular stall in the same place is the Ipoh Kai See Hor Fun stall. Here the family-run stall of father, mother and son do a brisk business in this famous dish that tourists come by the busloads to savour. However, not only is his chicken/prawn soup one of the most ‘umami’ and with minimum MSG, but his chicken is absolutely melt-in-mouth tender. What sets this stall apart is the two additional dishes he sells to go with the bowl of noodles; Big – RM4; Small – RM3.50. Extra chicken RM5 per plate deboned. Extra bean sprouts RM3 per plate.

Additional Specialties

Lau, the man behind the Lim Kee stall, is a purist and on good days when he finds absolutely fresh large prawns, he’ll purchase them for sale at his stall. Simply blanched in his incredibly scrumptious soup, it is served with just a dollop of prawn/chilli oil and you peel them yourselves – seasonal price.

Another dish which Lau sells that is wildly popular is the jellyfish, blanched and served in exactly the same way as the prawns. His jellyfish is cut in large chunks and dipped in just long enough to puff up and remain springy and crunchy in mouth feel. This is a must-have for those who like jellyfish. RM5 – enough for at least two persons. Go before noon to ensure he’s still got all the ingredients.

Other Stalls

Other stalls in this large corner coffee shop include a morning only ‘Kueh’ stall that has the most delectable vegetarian Woo Tau Ko or Taro cake, a Wonton Noodle stall whose wonton is passable but the noodles are wonderfully “al dente” especially when ordering the ‘dry’ variety, a Prawn Noodle stall that also sells out by 1.00 p.m. but I found to be quite run of the mill and a clay-pot noodle stall on which I cannot comment as I have not tasted their offerings.

While there, other than the usual soft drinks, try their Sum So Koek Fah Ginseng ‘whiskers’ with chrysanthemum tea, served either hot or cold. They have it both with and without sugar which is a bonus for non sugar lovers like me.

Jen Jen is certainly one of my favourite breakfast or brunch spots since I was introduced to it through the courtesy of my friend Datin Marjie Foong. Today if I had a choice between the popular Kong Heng in old town and Jen Jen to take my out-of-town visitors, the latter is my first preference.

Restoran Jen Jen ,22 Jalan Chew Sin Oon, Off Jalan Tokong.

Zambry Engages Online Friends


Realising the influence of social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, has on youths today, Menteri Besar Dato’ Seri Dr. Zambry Abdul Kadir decided to engage his adoring fans over teh tarik recently. The venue of his ‘cuppa’ session was none other than Vanggeh Restaurant in Greentown, an eatery most familiar with Mamak-food lovers in Ipoh.

Twenty-five of the MB’s Facebook and Twitter online friends were present along with representatives from the local media. Questions ranging from social re-engineering, education, economics, tourism, job opportunities, etc., were posed by the youthful audience.

Zambry took time to explain to them in detail emphasising on the need to attract investors, both foreign and local. “More investments mean more jobs for Perakeans,” he said.

Alvin Monteriro of Taman Cempaka was overjoyed at being invited to the meeting. “I hope the MB will have more of this in the future,” he told Ipoh Echo. “This is a good way to reach out to the Internet-savvy youths of Perak.”


Scholarships for Students


One hundred and two Form 6 students from schools throughout Perak were given scholarships worth RM51,000 during a ceremony at the Menteri Besar’s residence recently. Datin Seri Saripah Zulkifli, wife of Menteri Besar, Dato’ Seri DiRaja Dr. Zambry Abdul Kadir and President of Baiduri gave away the awards. The number of recipients had increased from 79 last year. “I hope the financial assistance will motivate the students to do better in the STPM Examination later this year,” Saripah told reporters. “We’ll continue to provide scholarships to needy students without recourse to one’s identity or affiliation.” The assistance, she asserted, was in line with the 1Malaysia concept.


Jeyaratnam Campus Building Fundraising Dinner


Yayasan Sultan Idris Shah (YSIS) held its first fundraising dinner at the Syuen Hotel to raise RM4.2m to build the state-of-the-art Jeyaratnam Campus Building. Its chairman, Tan Sri Dato’ Seri V. Jeyaratnam, in his welcome address said that it would be an iconic building that is one of its kind – designed in the shape of the international disability logo of a man in a wheelchair.

The building will include facilities for Paralympic sports training, international conferences, seminars and vocational training. The campus would focus on a diploma course in dealing with disability management, elderly care, autism, orphanages and care for the terminally ill.

He said that since the centre was opened in1982 it has 6,750 clients and has the expertise to provide a holistic and multi disciplinary rehabilitation for the disabled. This is the only centre in the country with such a model of practice – being a one-stop centre for all the services that the clients need. All assistance is given to help the disabled to integrate into society after rehabilitation. The centre provides practical attachment for student trainees pursuing tertiary studies in various clinical professions.

He thanked all the donors for their contribution including Perak’s Menteri Besar Dato’ Seri Dr. Zambry Abdul Kadir for a donation of RM100,000 from the state. The building is planned to be completed by July 2013.

The Guest of Honour was DYMM Paduka Seri Sultan Azlan Shah, who is also the patron of the foundation and DYMM Permaisuri Tuanku Bainun.


Health Programme


“Nestle Walking Day” a joint-health programme organised by Nestle Products and Ipoh City Council was held at Polo Ground on Saturday, April 23. The event attracted well over 300 participants of all ages and sex. The participants were required to walk around the park along the walking track. The hour-long programme was flagged off by Dato’ Rahim Md Ariff, Ipoh City Council Secretary. Present at the launch was Nestle Products’ Customers’ Service Manager, Haji Mohd Hanif Haron. Since public response was encouraging, Hanif hoped the walk will become a feature in the city’s calendar of events.




Twenty small-time entrepreneurs were given micro-credit by Yayasan Bina Upaya (YBU) to finance their respective ventures. The handing-over ceremony was held at the foundation’s multi-purpose hall in Greentown, Ipoh recently. Dato’ Saari Mohammad, Chairman of Yayasan Bina Upaya, gave away cheques, ranging in amount from RM3,000 to RM20,000, to the successful applicants. “The money is to help the poor and the marginalised realise their dreams of becoming self-sufficient. The applicants’ willingness to improve themselves is an important consideration in the selection process,” said Saari to Ipoh Echo.

The recipients were from the districts of Kinta District, Perak Tengah and Larut, Matang and Selama. The nature of their businesses include poultry farming, frozen food, motor repairs and school bus service. Since the programme’s introduction last year, some 251 small-time business people have benefitted from the scheme.

Khairul Azwan, CEO of YBU, reminded the recipients to make good their pledge to perform.