Why we love Ipoh so much
The Perak state capital, Ipoh, is not just known for its limestone hills, bean sprouts (taugeh) and flat rice noodles (sar hor fun). Several of its residents tell VIVIENNE PAL why they love living there.
Changes for the better
Mohd Hairiyusnisham, 21, finds the changes in Ipoh, particularly within the Greentown area very becoming. Having grown up and studied in Ipoh, Hairi, an easy-going lad who has often roamed the streets of Ipoh, is well aware of the changes that have occurred in his time.
“I like what they have done to make Greentown look more modern. This is like the Uptown of Ipoh.” He was comparing Greentown to the bustling Damansara Uptown of Petaling Jaya.
Halcyon days of a bachelor doc
Datuk Dr T. Underwood has lived in Ipoh for most of his medical practice.
“I lived in the doctors’ quarters in the Ipoh General Hospital when I first came. Those days Greentown was a very underdeveloped place – full of government quarters, and Tiger Lane (Lorong Harimau) was just a small narrow lane surrounded by jungle. From a small town, Ipoh has developed into a city with dual carriage roads, traffic jams and increasing number of accidents.
“My happiest memories of Ipoh were during my bachelor days,” he said with a mischievous grin. Women friends were aplenty those days, flocking to be in the company of the handsome, young doctor with the nice automobile. “Those were carefree days when I had my own car, just one suitcase and money in hand to spend,” said Dr Underwood.
Little Guilin of Malaysia
It was only some years after the birth of her third child that she moved into a proper home. Making ends meet was tough for Ah Mei and Ho, who struggled to put their children through school. In spite of a hard life, Ah Mei has never lost her winsome smile, for learning life’s tough lessons have taught her to live for what really matters like her children and her homeland, and shrug off unnecessary worries.
“This place is like a little Guilin (a place in China) – full of mountains and surrounded by nature. In those days, this place had no cars; it was safe and very quiet. We used to drink water from the streams. Now it has become quite a bustling town. With Sunway City Tambun coming up, one day this place will no longer exist. So better enjoy it while it’s still here,” said Ah Mei, gesticulating to indicate the land where the pretty lotus pond is.
A place to celebrate in
Celebrating Thaipusam, Deepavali and, for that matter, all other festivals in Ipoh is something S. Alagan, 58, enjoys very much. He cleans cars at the Sam Poh Tong temple for a living. “Ipoh is the place my family comes back to every year to celebrate Thaipusam and Deepavali,” said Alagan whose parents were immigrants from India. “I love the peace of Ipoh. And I love the people here. My work here lets me meet so many different people. KL and other big cities are not for me. I only like Ipoh. I don’t want to move to another place.”
Flippin’ for a livin'
Bringing up a family
Junainah Yahaya, 21, thinks there is no better place than Ipoh to raise a family. The young mother says that the happiest moment of her life happened nine months ago in Ipoh when her daughter, Adriana Balqis was born. “I’ve been married for three years now and Adriana is like the missing piece in the puzzle,” said Junainah who was waiting for her husband in front of Greentown Mall. “This is the place where I want to live, and this will be the place where I will bring up my children. I love the peace and solitude of Ipoh,” she added.
Haven for food
Wong Choon Ying, 56, has been selling clothes at the market in Kampung Simee, Ipoh for the past 33 years. Over the years, she has seen changes in Ipoh as a result of development. “Back in the old days, Ipoh was famous for all these foodstalls lined up along the roads,” said the mother of three. “Those days, for me, were my happiest. There was a lot of food around, a lot of people; it was a very lively atmosphere. This place (referring to Kampung Simee) used to be so hong (prosperous in Cantonese),” said Wong. Following in their mother’s footsteps, Wong’s two sons are involved in the clothing trade, while her youngest and only daughter is a Year Five pupil.