Kuala Lumpur Kepong Berhad and The Edge Malaysia presented “Ipoh Pergi!” (Go to Ipoh!) in conjunction with the special edition on Ipoh by The Edge and the soft launch of 22 Hale Street’s very own heritage gallery. Attended by about 70 invitees, the exclusive preview was held on Tuesday, July 24 at the gallery.

Present were Tan Sri Lee Oi Hian, CEO of Kuala Lumpur Kepong Berhad and Ho Kay Tat, Publisher and Group CEO of The Edge Media Group.

When asked on her vision for the heritage gallery, Puan Sri Dato’ Sandra Lee, who initiated and spearheaded the 22 Hale Street project, explained, “To tell stories of the people of Ipoh who made Ipoh what it is today before they are forgotten. Besides that, to provide a community space for people to gather, learn and grow as we are also hiring persons with disabilities and providing more employment opportunities in this space of arts, culture and history.”

“Another objective is to be an encouragement for others to conserve our heritage, both tangible and intangible, in Ipoh,” the tireless philanthropist added.

In this space, one gets to explore Ipoh’s history through photographs, paintings, models and projections. Be sure to check out one of the chambers which displays typical Peranakan furniture as the elaborate embroidery and beadwork on the wedding bed, wedding brocade, wedding slippers and phoenix crown take centre stage.

As the colonial tin and rubber economy boomed, the entrepreneurial tycoons acquired Chinese furniture to dress their mansions. The furniture was often made in China and exported to Chinese diaspora throughout the world. Typically of solid masculine style, sometimes inlaid with glittering mother of pearl, the collection was built as their wealth grew.

The Hale Street project, a gargantuan restoration, is driven by the love of family. It is dedicated to the memory of Sandra’s late father-in-law, Tan Sri Lee Loy Seng, a man of great foresight, wisdom and generosity.

Hale Street itself was named after Abraham Hale, the Inspector of Mines of Kinta in 1885 when Kinta was the epicentre of the tin mining boom. Today, this street is called Jalan Tun Sambanthan and to the locals, Guest Street (Hak Zhan Gaai) as there were many hotels here.

The restaurant called Dong, after the Chinese word for “antique”, is located downstairs featuring an eclectic menu of local flavours. The heritage gallery on the upper level is scheduled to open in August to the public, with an entrance fee of just RM5. For tour booking and latest updates, visit its website: www.22halestreet.com.

Mei Kuan