Tag Archives: Ipoh Echo Issue 121

Blood Donation Drive

Mayor Datuk Roshidi Hashim (left)

A blood donation drive held in conjunction with Ipoh City Council’s 23rd Anniversary was held at the foyer of the council’s main building on Sunday, May 15. Mayor Datuk Roshidi Hashim was present to officiate at the event and was one of more than 200 donors.

The beneficiaries of the donation are Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital, Ipoh and Pantai Hospital Ipoh. Stocks at both hospitals are running low.

City Council will make this  blood donation drive an annual affair as it has come to consider it as part of the council’s social responsibility. “Public response is encouraging,” Roshidi told reporters.


Red Crescent Day


A baby boy borne to an engineer father and a purchasing officer mother was the first arrival at Seri Manjung Hospital on May 8, which was Red Crescent Day.

In conjunction with the auspicious occasion, Manjung Red Crescent organised a number of programmes among which was the ‘adoption’ of Red Crescent babies. Members of the society started the day with a visit to the hospital bearing gifts and hampers for the newly-born. Nine babies were ‘adopted’.

Organising secretary, Rohawati Abidin said that the various on-going programmes were aimed at instilling into members of the public the importance of first-aid and personal safety.


Rotarians of Sitiawan


The Rotary Club of Sitiawan, considered one of the most service-oriented clubs of its kind in Perak, celebrated its 50th Anniversary recently. Over 500 members, spouses, guests and Rotarians from neighbouring towns and states, were present to celebrate the historic occasion.

Chartered Rotarian, Moses Tay, called Rotarians to uphold the club’s motto. He implored on those present to perform their voluntary works without thoughts of rewards. They should strive to serve the community by providing assistance to the needy, especially physically-disabled children, whom society has neglected.

The 82-year-old Rotarian urged members who had left to rejoin the club, as their services were still needed.  The evening ended with a cake-cutting ceremony which was jointly performed by Moses and the Sitiawan chapter’s hierarchy.


Kiosk to Enhance YBU’s Efficiency

Syahrul Nizam Muhamad Roslan

Yayasan Bina Upaya Darul Ridzuan (YBU) is taking measures to enhance its efficiency by making its services user-friendly and accessible to the masses. This was revealed by Syahrul Nizam Muhamad Roslan, YBU’s Information Communication Technology Assistant Manager, to Ipoh Echo recently.

“The Foundation plans to introduce kiosks to facilitate online registration by applicants,” he said.

The two major services on offer by YBU presently are micro-financing (micro-credit) and the Ladies’ Uptown, a dedicated business programme for single mothers. It is also responsible for collecting and collating information on the state’s hardcore poor for reference by the authorities. The foundation also selects volunteers to assist in implementing its many people-orientated programmes.

“Application forms can be downloaded from YBU’s website. However, it’ll be a hassle for those without computers and internet connection,” he reasoned. “The availability of a kiosk, where such transactions can be made online, will help simplify matters.”

Two kiosks will be deployed, tentatively in June. One will be placed at YBU’s office in Greentown Nova and the other at the State Secretariat Building.

Online registration, according to Syahrul, is the preferred method as it enables an applicant to check on the progress of his/her application, its status and also its currency. Programmes and activities of the foundation can also be sourced from the foundation’s website.

Syahrul feels that the kiosk is a good interactive medium between YBU and the people. “If public response is good more kiosks will be installed at other locations within the city,” said Syahrul.


SeeFoon extends her explorations into Bercham


By See Foon Chan-Koppen

Mention Bercham to any Foodie from Ipoh and you’ll end up with a list of recommended places to eat at that can fill a book. We all know about the claypot rice at K10; the crab rice and crab vermicelli at ‘Botak’ as we all refer to the boss of Mei Pak Tong or Rasa Lain; the economy rice with its endless choice of dishes at Ritz Bina;  and the list goes on.

As my readers may have already noticed, I usually don’t bother to review the well-known restaurants and eateries as they are already so popular and require no introduction. What I enjoy most is to discover the relatively obscure or little known places that only the local cognoscenti patronise and keep close to their hearts for fear that fame and popularity will go to the chef’s head and up go the prices and down goes the quality. So far I have known this to happen but thankfully only to a few.

Escalating Price of Fish Head Curry

Lately I’ve heard friends complain about the escalating price of one of our pride and joy dishes: the fish head curry. Whether it be pungent Indian or Nonya Assam style, the large grouper or red snapper fish head is irresistible to most. Even the squeamish will not turn down the meaty collar morsel when extracted and  presented to them on their own plate.

Escalating prices is a double edged sword: less people order the dish, more fish heads are frozen and more fish head curries end up on tables tasting like last month’s bottom of the net than the day’s fresh catch.

Hence I was pleasantly surprised when I was invited to San Chai in Bercham to taste their fish head curry to find that not only was it fresh-caught fresh, but the price was reasonable as well.

20-Year Bercham Veteran


Chef Woo Wing Kee

Chef Woo Wing Kee who has been cooking in the Bercham area for more than 20 years, is the proprietor and chief cook in the kitchen while his wife and other family members man the service side in this spacious corner coffee shop. Where other fish head curries emanating from Chinese kitchens have hitherto had more of an Assam/Nonya taste, it was therefore unusual for this Fish Head Curry to have more of an Indian spice taste and flavour and not what I had anticipated from a Chinese chef. Chef Woo’s fish head curry was pungent without being overpowering and the fish head was just caught fresh with all the gelatinous bits simmered to perfection. Our fish head for 5 people – RM42.

Other Goodies

We had a small portion of their Fried Roast Pork which arrived on a bed of lettuce with a touch of sweetness which was not cloying, and a good starter while waiting for other dishes to arrive – RM10.

We also ordered their Ham Dan Kai or Salted Egg Fried Chicken. This is better than most other places that serve this as there was hardly any batter on the boneless chicken pieces, coated instead with salted egg yoke whose distinctive taste and mouth-feel explodes on the taste buds on the first bite – RM12/18/25 for S/M/L.

Accompanying our meal was a portion of their Bean Sprouts fried with salted fish. Our Ipoh bean sprouts which have earned for itself as being the best in the country, thick, plump and crunchy, paired with generous slivers of a fragrant salt fish (some establishments use poor quality salt fish which can ruin the dish) was fried to perfection.

The fish head curry which by this time had been ravenously demolished by the five of us, had proven to be more than satiating and only at my pleading for more variety to write my review, did we then decide to order two more dishes (just to taste!)

Titillating Tofu

These were the Kon Jeen Har (dried fried prawns), quick fried in their shells and juicy on first bite. Seasonal price; and the tofu topped with minced pork and chopped choi po or Chinese preserved radish. This was heavenly with the tofu left in its original state: white, creamy, smooth and the stir-fried minced mixture lending its crunch and ‘umami’ mouth feel to the bland tofu. Heavenly! I am confident that if vegetarians ask for this dish to be made without the minced meat, it’ll be equally delicious.

Our total bill for 5 people came to RM120.

For those who need directions, you make a right turn at Glamour Square at the third traffic light after Tesco Extra and turn left immediately after into Persiaran Bercham Selatan 8, San Chai is on the right after a small playing field.

Restoran San Chai
2 Persiaran Bercham Selatan 8
Taman Kenchana
012 512 1000
Closed Mondays
Open: 11.00 a.m.-3.00 p.m. & 6.00-10.00 p.m.

Nutrition for Your Eyes


Dr. S.S. Gill

In our series on Eye Health, Consultant Eye Surgeon Dr. S.S. Gill talks to us about how nutrition plays a part in eye health.

The question many people ask Ophthalmologists is whether nutrition and vitamins play a part in maintaining healthy eyes. The answer in a nutshell is, “Yes, your eyes reflect what you eat!” Good nutrition is important for eye health and of course for general health too. Good nutrition helps to nourish our eyes, protect against eye infections and allows the eyes to function properly.

Diets Rich in Vitamins

A typical example of how nutrition plays a vital part in the health of our eyes is a childhood condition leading to blindness called xerophthalmia. This condition is due to a lack of vitamin A in the diet and is commonly seen in developing countries.

Certain foods are essential for good eye health. They maintain healthy cells in the eye which is so essential for proper function. Amongst the more important ones are the anti-oxidant vitamins A, C and E. These vitamins can be found in many different sources of fruit and vegetables such as oranges, grapefruit, tomatoes, carrots and green leafy vegetables.

Oxidative Stress

Our bodies constantly react with the oxygen in our environment. Due to this activity, humans produce tiny molecules called free radicals. These free radicals affect our cells, sometimes damaging them. This is called oxidative stress and it plays a role in how macular degeneration develops.

Carotenoids – Lutein & Zeaxanthin

Studies have shown that two types of carotenoids called Lutein and Zeaxanthin are essential for eye health. In the Age Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) of 4,757 patients, it showed that those who had a higher intake of Lutein with Zeaxanthin in their diet had less incidence of Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD).

These carotenoids keep the eyes safe from oxidative stress especially from the exposure to blue light (high energy photons). Lutein has also been shown to improve retinal sensitivity. Lutein and zeaxanthin can be found naturally in vegetables, fruits, yellow peppers, mango, bilberries, spinach and broccoli.

A Balanced Diet

A good balanced diet that includes sufficient fresh fruits and vegetables is therefore essential. However, if you feel that your diet lacks adequate vitamins and minerals, you might want to consider taking a supplement for general and eye health when:

* your diet does not include enough fresh fruit and vegetables .

* it is hard to obtain or prepare fresh fruit and vegetables.

* you have been told to take a vitamin supplement by your eye doctor.

Key Points to Remember

In summary, to maintain good eye health, you should:

* Eat a good, balanced diet with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables.

* Take multivitamin supplements with carotenoids if needed.

* Stop smoking – cigarette smoke contains large amounts of free radicals.

* Protect your eyes from sunlight. Use good quality sunglasses. Ones that filter off harmful ultraviolet rays and lenses that are polarised are best.

* Get your eyes tested every 2 years if you are generally healthy but more often if you have medical problems like diabetes mellitus.

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

An Oasis of Calm in the Heart of Ipoh


By SeeFoon Chan-Koppen

Ipohites can now escape to their own oasis of calm when the stress of coping with daily life becomes overwhelming. And they won’t have to go far to do that.

At the newly-opened Banyan spa right opposite Jalan Kelab Golf, a majestic colonial style house has been transformed into a haven of tranquility where a plethora of rejuvenating and relaxing treatments await. Being an avid spa enthusiast, I naturally had to ‘check it out’, which I did on a recent weekday. My personal lament in going for facial or body work has always been that I end up with dishevelled hair and occasionally chipped nails. Finally, I have found a one-stop shop for all my beauty treatments and sail out for dinner straight after if the occasion warrants it.

The Banyan has maximised its colonial architecture with its high ceilings to create an aura of quiet elegance. Soft music and the gentle scent of essential oils enveloped me as I was greeted on arrival and served lemon grass/ginger tea. I was then offered the menu which is a prolific affair offering everything from face, body to nail and hair treatments.

For my first visit and feeling somewhat under the weather having just recovered from a chest infection, I opted for the Chromatherapy combined with Lymphatic drainage. Offered under the name Phytobiodermie, it is a synthesis of light therapy and Lymphatic drainage used with energetic and natural essential oils all originating in Switzerland.

Chromatherapy, or light therapy, is a form of vibrational medicine that uses colour and full spectrum light on various parts of the body to balance the body’s electromagnetic field (known as the “human energy field” or “aura”). Quantum physics states that matter is not solid, but is made up of light energy. From our skin to our organs, we are made of light. Light is the language by which our cells speak to each other. Because the body is matter and energy, the unique Phytobiodermie method is based on the energetic principles of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) – the “Five Element Theory” (Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water).

PHYTO 5, the products used in the treatment, are formulated with high-grade natural and energetic essential oils including minerals and vitamins, mixed in natural bases such as clay, algae and cereals. There is a full line of products for all skin conditions for face, scalp and body to rebalance and replenish our inner flow of “vital energy”.

My face and body treatment was carried out with the aid of the  Biodraineur which is designed to perform a highly effective Lymphatic drainage. Lymphatic drainage, helps the lymphatic system function more efficiently by facilitating toxin removal and improving skin circulation. The result: healthier, glowing skin and a more beautiful complexion.

For my treatment it was coupled with a Chromapuncteur (light machine) to add the attributes of chromatherapy to those of the mechanical drainage in order to target all 5 fluids of TCM. The Biodraineur performs a high quality and fast drainage. The treatment is completely non-invasive and I was soon lulled into a soothing and relaxed sense of well being, occasionally even dropping off to sleep. Aesthetically, this produces a dramatically visible “lifting” effect and I have to admit that looking in the mirror after the treatment I was pleased to see a marked glow and was it my imagination(?) a mild lift to my facial lines.

Next issue:  Read about The Banyan Spa Journey

490 Raja DiHilir, Ipoh  ♦  Tel.: 05-2426866 or 012-5073866 ♦  www.banyanspa.com.my

Veterans Hockey Tournament


The Ipoh City Hockey Association (ICHA) held their annual veterans hockey tournament on the sidelines of the 20th Sultan Azlan Shah Tournament in May.

Their 9-a-Side hockey event was held on the morning of the last day of the Sultan Azlan Shah tournament and played on pitch 2 of the stadium. Four teams, Kelab Sukan 30-50 Ipoh, Royal Selangor Club, Prince of Wales Xokei Club and Soleros KL, participated in the event.

According to ICHA President V. Mohan, the event was held each year for the veterans to come together to have a game and a get-together. There are no prizes for the winners. The veterans have been doing this in Ipoh for over 15 years.

Noted among the veterans was Datuk Poon Fook Loke and A. Francis, both part of the national team that participated at the Hockey World Cup 1975 at Kuala Lumour where Malaysia went down 3-2 to West Germany in the 3rd and 4th placing. play off. It was the best position Malaysia had ever reached.

Some foreign veterans that participated were Avtar Singh for England and Tim “Budgie’ Myers from Australia, both media correspondents covering the Sultan Azlan Shah Tournament.



Remembering Our Fallen Heroes


By Jerry Francis

On one side of the oblong cenotaph located opposite the Town Hall along Jalan Panglima Bukit Gantang Wahab is a hastily cut black marble plaque with an inscription “IN MEMORY OF THE GALLANT MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES, POLICE AND CIVILIANS WHO SACRIFICED THEIR LIVES DEFENDING THE NATION DURING THE MALAYSIAN EMERGENCY 1948-1960, INDONESIAN CONFRONTATION 1962-1965 AND THE REINSURGENCY PERIOD 1972-1990.”

The plaque is “squatting” on the memorial built for those from Perak who died during the First and Second World Wars. Three of the four original brass plates on the cenotaph which bore the names of the dead and military units have been vandalised and stolen. Thus, they were substituted with one dedicated to the dead during the wars, and another during the Malaysian Emergency and Indonesian Confrontation.

Are the sacrifices of the members of the Commonwealth and Malaysian security forces, as well as civilian workers in Perak worth just a mention on a plaque? Thousands of them had given their lives to ensure peace and progress in the country since the Emergency was declared following the killings of three European planters in Sungei Siput in June, 1948.

Certainly, the dedication and sacrifices of those men and women of all races and religions must always be looked upon with pride as we strive to mould a united Malaysian nation. Therefore, they deserve to be remembered in a manner more deserving than just a plaque on a cenotaph that was not even built for our fallen heroes of the Emergency and Indonesian Confrontation.

I have always advocated the erection of a monument specially dedicated to the members of the security forces and civilians in the four decades of combating communist insurgency in the country. Perak took the brunt of the threat and was deprived of the much needed development until the peace accord was signed in December, 1989.

Their sacrifices, which eventually brought peace and security to the country, must be immortalized to remind us how close we were to losing our freedom. In so doing, we will also show to future generations how the various races had united to face a serious threat to the sovereignty and integrity of the country and instill a sense of pride and patriotism among all Malaysians, especially now when the loyalty of the non-Malays are being often questioned by some people with a political agenda.

In my book, “Turbulent Years in Perak – A Memoir”, I had also called for the monument to be set up, preferably along the East-West Highway in Upper Perak, which had withstood the terrorists’ attempts to sabotage it. It should be located prominently on Banding Island, which is linked by two of the longest bridges along the highway, so that travellers and tourists will remember how the highway and the Temenggor Dam were constructed in the face of the threat from the communist insurgents.

A gesture such as this would be a small tribute to those who had responded beyond the call of duty and would serve as a reminder to us of their deeds and sacrifices. It would also make travelling along the East-West Highway more interesting, apart from being a tourist attraction.

The Malaysian Army had taken the cue and erected a small monument at the entrance to their camp at Banding in March, 2009.  It was a decommissioned V-150 “Commando” armoured vehicle surrounded with plaques containing some heroic episodes of their fighting men. At least, the Army has recognised the deeds of its men. Others, like those in the plantation industry and Malaysian and Commonwealth veterans, are also continuing to observe a remembrance day at the “God’s Little Acre” in Batu Gajah in June, every year.

What has the state government and the people of Perak done in appreciation of the role played by members of the security forces and civilian workers? It has been over two decades since the battle against the communist insurgents was victoriously concluded, yet there is no outstanding monument anywhere in Perak dedicated to those men and women except for what appears to be a half-hearted plaque at the cenotaph.

Even the few small monuments along the East-West Highway, which mark the scenes where serious incidents had taken place, have been neglected. I fear that soon, all their dedication and sacrifices will be forgotten and mentioned only in some books found on library shelves.


Low Back Pain

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

By Dr. Manuel K. Punnia Raj

Low back pain is a common ailment affecting 80% of people at some point in their lives. The majority of lower back pain stems from benign musculoskeletal problems and is referred to as non specific low back pain.


  • Physical Therapy Rehabilitation.  Physical Therapy can include heat, cryotherapy, soft tissue manipulation, spinal mobilization, ultrasound and Interferential therapy. Active therapies like stretching, strengthening and aerobic exercises help in recovery. The right method of exercising instructed by a qualified physiotherapist can restore motion and strengthen your lower back, helping in relieving pain and preventing future episodes of low back pain.
  • Acute Low Back Pain.  For acute cases that are not debilitating, low back pain may be best treated with conservative self-care, including: application of heat or cold and continued activity within the limits of the pain. Engaging in physical activity within the limits of pain aids recovery. Even with cases of severe pain, some activity is preferred to prolonged sitting or lying down, but be wary of movements that could further strain the back.
  • Chronic Low Back Pain.  Low back pain is more likely to be persistent among people who previously required time off from work because of low back pain, those who expect passive treatments to help, those who believe that back pain is harmful or disabling or fear that any movement whatever will increase their pain. Surgery may be indicated when conservative treatment is not effective in reducing pain or when the patient develops progressive and functionally limiting neurologic symptoms such as leg weakness, bladder or bowel incontinence.

Low Back Pain Prevention

The prevention of back pain is itself, somewhat controversial. It has long been thought that exercise and an all-around healthy lifestyle would prevent back pain. Several studies have found that the wrong type of exercise such as high-impact activities may increase the chance of increasing back pain. Nonetheless, exercise is important for overall health and should not be avoided. Low-impact activities such as swimming, walking and bicycling can increase overall fitness without straining the low back.

  • Specific Exercises: Talk to your physiotherapist about how to perform these exercises.
    • Abdominal crunches, when performed properly, strengthen abdominal muscles and may decrease the tendency to suffer back pain.
    • Stretching exercises are helpful in alleviating tight back muscles.
    • The pelvic tilt also helps alleviate tight back muscles.
  • Standing: While standing, keep your head up and stomach pulled in. If you are required to stand for long periods of time, you should have a small stool on which to rest one foot at a time. Do not wear high heels.
  • Sitting: Chairs of appropriate height with good lumbar support are preferable. Automobile seats should also have adequate low-back support. If not, a small pillow or rolled towel behind the lumbar area will provide adequate support.
  • Sleeping: Individual needs vary. If the mattress is too soft many people will experience backache. A hard firm mattress is always good to sleep on; a thick mattress pad will help soften a mattress that is too hard.
  • Lifting: Don’t lift objects that are too heavy for you. If you attempt to lift something, keep your back straight up, head up and lift with your knees. Keep the object close to you, don’t stoop over to lift. Tighten your stomach muscles to keep your back in balance.

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