Tag Archives: Ipoh Echo issue 146

Motivational Programme for Students


Yayasan Bina Upaya Darul Ridzuan, Yayasan Bina Upaya (YBU), Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan PengkalanYayasan Bina Upaya Darul Ridzuan (YBU)-initiated motivational programme for students is making an impact judging from feedback the foundation has received thus far. At a recently concluded programme for Form Five students of Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Pengkalan, some interesting comments were received. Nurul Syifa Khaisarah, a fifth former who is preparing for the coming Sijil Perperiksaan Malaysia (SPM), was elated that she was picked for the programme.

“It’s most considerate of YBU to conduct such an activity. The benefits are tremendous, especially for students of our background,” she exclaimed. Having little means to receive full-time tuition, the motivational programme was a fitting replacement as it served a purpose – to be in the right frame of mind before an examination. “I’ve nothing but praise for the organisers,” she added.

Nurul hopes the foundation will continue with the activity for the betterment of students. And since the programme has met its objectives, the foundation plans on extending its coverage to include sixth formers. “I’ll give it my best shot,” said Dato’ Zinal Abidin Omar, the Chief Executive Officer of YBU.


Domestic Chemicals Harmful to the Eye

Dr S S Gill, Consultant Ophthalmologist, Hospital Fatimah Ipoh
Dr S S Gill, Consultant Ophthalmologist


Ipoh Echo’s EYE HEALTH series continues with Consultant Eye Surgeon Dr. S. S. GILL talking to us about PREVENTING EYE INJURIES.

common causes of visual loss. The leading causes of such eye injuries are sports accidents, fireworks, household chemicals, battery acid, and foreign bodies from workshops or factories.

Some household chemicals are dangerous to the eye and may result in serious eye injuries should they accidentally splash into the eye. This is especially so if the eye is not treated correctly and fast enough because they can cause chemical burns to the eye. Household chemicals may be divided into two varieties, i.e. alkalis or acids. BE EXTREMELY CAUTIOUS when handling these seemingly harmless chemicals.


Household products such as detergents, bleaching agents, drain cleaners, oven cleaners and floor cleaners contain ALKALI. These chemicals should be used with extreme caution. Take note that ALKALINE chemicals cause the WORST EYE DAMAGE and can cause blindness.

ACIDS at Home

The commonest acid around the home is vinegar. Some types of drain cleaners may actually be strong acids although most are alkaline. Always check the label. If you have an aquarium with fish, be careful when handling sulfuric acid if you use it to control the pH of the water. Interestingly, the leading cause of acid burns at home is an exploding car battery. This usually occurs when jump starting a car and the terminals have been mistakenly reversed. The eye injuries sustained can be serious, leading to blindness. If you are unsure how to jump-start a car, just do not attempt it.

The symptoms of a chemical burn depends on the substance splashed into the eyes, but may include stinging, a burning sensation, eye pain, tearing and redness. The eyelids will often swell. If not treated immediately in a proper way, it may lead to corneal burns, ulcers and opacification that may lead to blindness.


Should any of the above happen to you, the immediate treatment is to place your face under running water CONTINUOUSLY for 15 to 20 minutes and allow the water to flush out the harmful chemicals from your eyes. You may need to use your fingers to hold your eyelids apart but make sure there are no traces of chemical on your fingers. If there is no running water, any cool drink that you may have with you can be used to flush the eyes out. If you are near a swimming pool, then jumping into it may be a good idea provided you can swim!

NEVER judge the seriousness of your eye injury by the degree of pain. Alkaline chemicals don’t usually cause significant symptoms but they may cause even more serious eye damage compared to acids.

Eye health - Dr S.S. Gill - opthalmologist
Protective goggles

Tear Gas

Interestingly, people have asked me about the effect of tear gases used for riot control. The most commonly used agent is CS gas, which is a mild acid that is an irritant to skin, nose and eyes. It immediately causes severe tearing, which can last up to 30 minutes. If you have ever wondered why people carried salt with them, it is because salt is an alkaline agent and helps to neutralise acidic tear gas. More than the tear gas itself, it is the canisters that can cause serious eye injury should they hit a person’s eye.

In summary, to prevent any form of eye injury by chemicals, always wear protective goggles when handling them because prevention is better than cure. If chemicals get into your eyes, flush them continuously for 20 minutes with running water and seek immediate medical attention.

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

Ridiculous Increase in Charges by B.P. Clinical Lab


I regularly go for my blood test in B.P. Clinical Lab in the Perak Community Specialist Hospital before seeing the specialist. The cost used to be RM30. Recently when I went for the test I was charged RM50, a whopping increase of 66%. When I enquired, the staff said this was the new rate and many customers have complained of the steep hike. I asked the staff whether they had a pay rise and they said no. The Lab has increased its profit by 66%. Since the Lab is well established, all its assets must have been paid off and all they make is net profit.

The increase could have been spread over two or three years. The Lab is not running at a loss.

Enforcement officers go around checking the price of goods in sundry shops and take action on owners who increase their prices too steeply. However, B.P. Lab raises charges by 66% and no action is taken. It looks like the rates of Ah Longs may be more reasonable than that of the Lab and yet we complain about Ah Longs and keep silent on the profiteering of the Lab.

A. Jeyaraj

STAR – An Excellent Boarding School


Culture, Arts and Sports, commended the efforts of boarding schools for producing top-notch students who have become useful citizens of the country.

“The schools have bred leaders and inspire students to emulate them,” said Zainol at the launch of the 39th Malaysian Boarding Schools Academic Excellence Award Day at Sekolah Tuanku Abdul Rahman (STAR), Ipoh recently. The 3-day event which began with a state banquet at the State Secretariat hall, was graced by Raja Muda of Perak. and was well attended by former and present students.

STAR is one of the top schools in Malaysia, as it has always achieved an almost 100 per cent passing rate in public examinations. Many who studied in this boarding school had graduated with flying colours.

It ended with an exhibition and the closing ceremony at the Indera Mulia Stadium, Ipoh.


CST Closed Badminton Tournament


CST Auto Sdn Bhd - P.R. ChandhranIpoh’s automobile dealer, CST Auto Sdn Bhd organised a closed badminton tournament strictly for Perakeans recently. The four-day tournament, held at the Sekolah Rendah Chung Tack, Kg Simee from June 7 to 10, was over-subscribed. Some 315 participants, ranging in age between 15 to 70 years old, took part in the five categories contested. Since it was a closed affair the major consideration for participation was that players must not be affiliated with the state or national badminton team.

“The large number of participants forced us to extend playing time from morning till mid-night,” said Irwin Yeap, Senior General Manager of CST Auto Sdn Bhd and the organising chairman. The closing ceremony was graced by Mr P.R. Chandhran, CEO of CST Auto Sdn Bhd, who gave his closing remarks before presenting prizes to winners of the respective categories. The winners took home cash prizes ranging from RM1,000 to RM100 plus trophies, vouchers and rackets.

The coveted Men’s Novice Single title was won by Mohd Badrulnizam Kamaruddin who defeated Loh Zi Yuan in straight sets 21-14, 21-19. The Novice Men’s Double crown went to Low Yine Keat and Ahmad Rosli who overcame a game pair of Eros Chen and Lim Kar Leong 21-12, 21-9 in less than 30 minutes.

“The tournament has a strong local appeal making it a true 1Malaysia outing,” said Irwin. “Due to its success we plan on having it on an annual basis,” he added.

AmBank (M) Sdn Bhd and Allianz General Insurance (M) Bhd co-hosted the competition.


Bersih 3.0 Review


malaysian demonstrationsOver 400 supporters for a clean and fair election gathered at Syuen Hotel Ipoh recently to review Bersih 3.0 (Perak) held at Polo Ground on April 28, now known as 428.

It was a historical occasion which saw some 5,000 concerned citizens gathering peacefully for a noble cause in Ipoh alone. The Syuen event saw an interesting line-up of programmes, including slide shows, video presentations, speeches and panel discussions.

Speakers for the evening included Bah Tony who represented the indigenous people, Orang Asli Semai; A. Sethu Pathy from Amnesty International and Cheng Heng Chung, the Perak Liason Committee Chairman for LLG Cultural Development Centre Berhad, a Human Rights Group.

Bah Tony shared the problems faced by indigenous people in casting their votes on polling day due to the distance of the polling stations. Cheng expressed his disappointment that out of the more than a thousand Chinese NGOs in Perak, less than 40 turned up to support Bersih 3.0.

Tribute was also paid to a group of young men for their involvement in the Bersih movement. These men are mostly from Perak Green Pioneer (Himpunan Hijau) who are against the setting up of Lynas Plant in Gebeng, Pahang as they campaign for a clean and safe environment.

Project Director of Malaysian Election Roll Analysis Project (MERAP) Dr Ong Kian Meng, unveiled through his slide presentation, massive numbers of dubious voters in the electoral roll, from an unrealistic number of voters who are more than 120 years old to police postal voters who were born in 1900, way past retirement age. Dr Ong concluded that the first demand of Bersih for a clean and fair election has not yet been met.

Wong Piang Yow of Tindak Malaysia, spoke on his organisation’s voter education programme and training for polling agents, counting agents and Barung agents. The upcoming General Elections would require 180,000 such agents, Wong called on the public to volunteer and contribute their services and time.

Former Perak Menteri Besar, Dato’ Seri Nizar Jamaluddin related events leading to the power-shift in Perak on February 6, 2009. He decried the bullying tactics against Bersih 3.0 co-chair Dato’ S. Ambiga. The actions, he said, had nothing to do with Malay or Islamic culture or the Opposition.

Closing the Bersih 3.0 Perak review, lawyer Augustine thanked Ipoh Mayor, Dato’ Roshidi Hashim for granting approval to gather at Polo Ground, the police for their cooperation and the 48 NGOs for their support.


A Show for All Ages


Movement Emotion and Voice (GES)Cultural Hotspots staged a show called GES (Gerak, Emosi dan Suara- Movement, Emotion and Voice) at the auditorium of Jabatan Kebudayaan dan Kesenian Negeri Perak in Jalan Cadwell recently. Since it was school holidays, the audience consisted mainly of children. The opening number was a welcoming dance by 10 clowns.

A total of 50 people then put on a three-segment play. Performers, aged between five and 70 years old sang, acted and danced during the show.  The play touched on issues such as religion, purity, birth, culture, love, humour, education and patriotism.

According to Jabatan Kebudayaan dan Kesenian Negeri Perak Director, Abdul Mutalib, GES was to encourage society to get involved in the arts and to instill interest in them.

Rashidi Abd Kharis, the man behind GES, got his inspiration from his everyday life. With over 30 years of experience in the theatre, his passion for producing such a play is evident.


The Haven - Ipoh properties

The Haven Obtains High Recognition Both Locally and nternationally

The Haven - Ipoh properties
Mr Peter Chan reveiving the award from YB Dato’ Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah, Minister of Finance II, Malaysia

Pride of Ipoh

Home-grown, Ipoh-based, The Haven has done Ipoh proud again. It has bagged two prestigious awards this month – The Malaysia iAward, iCreate Award together with world renowned designer Prof. Dato’ Jimmy Choo on June 16 and the International Star for Leadership in Quality (Diamond Category) in Paris on June 25.

Another First  to come – 3 Towers to be topped out simultaneously

The multi award-winning Haven, Lakeside Residence is well on the way to setting another record in Malaysia as it plans a topping-out ceremony for all three towers simultaneously.

Indeed, the iconic development has awakened Ipoh and has set international benchmarks again and again for the city. The development is highlighting Ipoh as an eco-city and a resort destination. The authorities and people of Ipoh should fully support this endeavour, as the success of The Haven effort gains momentum.

Emergence of Ipoh as a Resort Destination

Chan said the emergence of Ipoh as a resort destination was a waiting-to-happen owing to its strategic position and natural attractions.

The Haven - Ipoh properties
Mr Peter Chan with Prof. Dato’ Dr Jimmy Choo OBE co-winners of the 1Malaysia
iAward (iCreate category)

“It is bound to happen when development spills over form the other more developed neighbouring states. The lead-and-lag trend in property development has arrived and this has paved the way for real estate in Ipoh to be recognised.

“The Haven is an amazing unique product that can be a significant catalyst of change for Ipoh” he said, noting that fast rail and wider air connectivity shortening travelling time will enhance the city’s value.

“Among Malaysians, Ipoh is already known for its unique culinary fare and picturesque landscape dotted with limestone hills and caves. With the completion of The Haven Lakeside Residence, we expect Ipoh to blip more loudly on the radar of discerning luxury travellers looking for a holiday retreat close to nature, with wellness and good food as prerequisites,” Chan added.

Ipoh, the capital of Perak state, was known as a town of millionaires during the tin mining boom in the 1920s. It had its fair share of cinema halls, amusement parks, cabarets and night life to rival Shanghai at that time. With the collapse of the tin

industry in the 1980s and subsequent migration of residents to other parts of the country, the city’s growth stagnated. Today, many colonial-style architecture and pre-war shop houses remain.

The Haven - Ipoh properties
Mr Peter Chan with university mate Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Haji Megat Najmuddin bin Datuk Seri Dr Haji Megat Khas

A great wellness and holiday destination

Gone are the cabarets, but The Haven is strongly and rapidly reminding the world that Ipoh is alive and well. The repositioning now as a holiday and wellness destination – with good food, fresh air and clean water as natural attractions. The opening of world-class medical centres, hotels, spa resorts and theme parks, is also helping to enhance the city’s allure as a holiday gateway. The completion of The Haven Lakeside Residence next year is set to open a new chapter in Ipoh as it can finally lay claim to having its first iconic luxury residences set amid a prehistoric forest.


Building of a harmonious community

Unknown to many, but to its discerning purchasers, The Haven is not merely building a luxury resort condominium. It is knitting a fabric of a harmonious community, who sees this development as an ideal retirement and vacation home, with wealthy but friendly neighbours. Says Chan, “The best feedback I get is the number of buyers who encourage their family members and friends to buy more units. So, you can envision the kind of living ambience The Haven will produce – just short of a Utopia.”

The Haven - Ipoh properties
Mr David Yam, co-principal of The Haven Sdn Bhd with Int’l Star for Leadership in Quality (Diamond category) Award in Paris

Niche Product Seminar


Tourism Malaysia’s Niche Product“Perak is a treasure trove of niche products” so said Puan Ching Yoke Har, the Acting Deputy Director General (Marketing) of Tourism Malaysia when she officially opened Tourism Malaysia’s Niche Product Seminar held at the Impiana Hotel recently. Also present at the seminar was Tourism Malaysia’s Perak State Director Nurshamsida Abdul Rahman and newly-appointed CEO for Perak Tourism Musa Dun.

The seminar whose  purpose was to create awareness of the niche products available in the state and country, invited speakers from the backgrounds of heritage, weddings and honeymoon, golf, scuba diving, spa & wellness and ecotourism and bio-diversity. More than 120 people attended.

The various speakers all agreed that Perak has good niche products but they must be well displayed and promoted with clear signage directions as well as have good service provided by the product operators.

Chris Syer, the Executive Director of Malaysia Golf Tourism Association gave an example, saying that “Meru Valley Golf Resort is a wonderful golf course but getting there is confusing because of poor signage”.

Regarding heritage, speaker Mohd Taib of Perak Heritage Society highlighted that although Perak had an abundance of heritage products this “niche product also needed trained tourist guides which are currently lacking, to explain the products correctly”.

For ecotourism, Andrew Sebastian of Malaysia Nature Society said that “Perak should be called the ‘Land of the Hornbills’ because there are a total of 10 species of the Hornbill that can be found at Royal Belum and nowhere else in the country.

Tourism Malaysia’s State Director Nurshamsida acknowledged the participants’ comments saying that Perak had a wealth of niche products citing examples like the magnificent Royal Belum State Park, white-water rafting at Gopeng and bird watching locations at Kuala Gula and Kinta Nature Park, adding that “with continued promotions the products will consistently attract visitors”.

From golf to wellness spas, Perak has it all. Now what remains is to aggressively promote these niche products and monitor their progress in the overall contribution towards the tourism industry in the state.


Nutritional Supplements for Macular Degeneration

ipoh echo issue 140, Dr Lee Mun Wai, Lee Eye Centre, Stem Cells in Retinal Disease
Dr Lee Mun Wai

Eye Chat – From A Retinal Surgeon’s Perspective

Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in developed nations. A lot of research has been carried out to identify the cause and possible risk factors for AMD and as with many other diseases, the development of AMD is a consequence of the interplay between genetic and environmental factors.

There is of course little we can do to alter our genetic makeup (for now) but the identification of different genes associated with this disease only allows further development of therapeutic options in the future. Environmental influences such as smoking and diet have also been strongly linked with AMD, and unlike our genes, we can directly impact on the disease by changing our behaviour or habits.

The identification of specific nutrients which may be beneficial for AMD came from the Age Related Eye Diseases Study (AREDS). From this study, the importance of anti-oxidants and zinc in preventing the progression of AMD was discovered.

Dr Lee Mun WaiWhat are Anti-oxidants?

To understand how anti-oxidants are beneficial, one must first understand how our body works. Our body’s cells are constantly at work and particularly in our eyes (where the photo transduction process which converts light into electrical impulses uses large amounts of energy), a lot of free radicals are generated. These free radicals are reactive oxygen particles and can be damaging to our cells. Anti-oxidants in effect ‘neutralise’ these oxygen particles and prevent further damage.

Anti-oxidants which were found to be beneficial for AMD are Vitamins A (beta-carotene), C and E and zinc. The study showed beneficial effects of these anti-oxidants only in individuals at high risk of developing advanced AMD – there was a risk reduction of 25% in these individuals. In people with no AMD or early AMD however, there was no apparent benefit.

The AREDS Formulation

As a result of the findings of this study, there have been a flood of these ‘eye supplements’ into the market since 2001. The formulation used in the study was 500mg of Vitamin C, 400 IU of Vitamin E, 15mg of beta-carotene, 80mg of zinc and 2mg of copper (copper was added to prevent copper deficiency which could be associated with high doses of zinc supplementation). With aggressive marketing from the pharmaceutical companies, many consumers have started using these supplements ‘to protect their eyes’!

I’ve been asked by many of my patients about taking different varieties of supplements and my advice to them is always to look at the evidence. As a doctor, I can only base my recommendations on scientific evidence and strong scientific evidence can only be achieved by doing very large controlled trials. There are always claims by companies selling these supplements about the “proven” effects of their product. Even the scientific journals which I read can sometimes be misleading – it is therefore important that we be cautious about information we read or hear about.

As for the AREDS formulation, it is indeed an important addition to our armamentarium for the battle against AMD but we must be mindful that it is currently proven to be beneficial only to people at high risk of developing advanced AMD. Moreover, smokers who take the AREDS formulation may be at increased risk of lung cancer due to the interaction with beta-carotene so my advice would be to discuss with your physician before ‘popping more pills’.

Other Nutrients?

You may have read about other substances with potential benefits to the eye such as lutein or zeaxanthin and omega fatty acids. There is currently an ongoing AREDS 2 study which will investigate the impact of these other supplements on AMD and more definite information will be available in the next 1 to 2 years.I shall write more about lutein, zeaxanthin and omega fatty acids in subsequent posts. Meanwhile, “pop by” to read my blog at www.lec.com.my/youcare-eyecare for the latest on eye diseases and eye care tips.

For more information about this topic or other eye health subjects, call Lee Eye Centre: 05-254 0095.