What a Weekend!

On Sunday 3 December there were two major events in Aric’s family. His maternal uncle, David, who lives in Singapore, had come to Malaysia to celebrate his 80th birthday. He had invited the family for a birthday lunch. And the youngest daughter of Aric’s paternal uncle no 6 was going to get married and we were invited for the wedding dinner on Sunday evening. How to survive two sumptuous meals on one day?

The weekend started on Saturday evening with a pre-wedding party in Cheras where Aric’s uncle lives. Buffet style. It was a pleasant evening. As usual, I was the only Kwai Loh in the group, but by now I know most of the family members.

The birthday lunch took place in the Tropicana Garden Mall. Four tables. Sumptuous is an apt description of the lunch. Look at the menu, ten (!) dishes .

To survive, I decided to take only minuscule portions of the various dishes. And I also refused to have any alcohol, telling that I don’t drink before 6 pm, which actually is generally true πŸ˜‰ . In the food collage only the Longevity Birthday Peach Bun is missing.

There was karaoke singing. Aric is a good singer, but rarely sings nowadays. I recorded his song, but he doesn’t allow me to share it here. Pity, click here for the original song, it was a popular 1959 movie, The Kingdom and the Beauty.

Of course there was a birthday cake and the singing of Happy Birthday To You.

David in the center with various combinations of family, relatives and friends.

And the usual group photo.

Then finally the cake was cut. A very nice birthday celebration

We came home and had a few hours to rest and recover before we went out again to the Hee Lai Ton Ballroom & Restaurant in Puchong. The wedding dinner took place in a big hall on the first floor, twenty tables.

Left the parents of the bride, right the entrance of the couple.

The food was delicious. but again I took only very small portions. And as it was after 6 pm, I had a few glasses of wine. This time I took picture of the dishes, not of what I put on my plate.

It was a pleasant , traditional gathering with a lot of Yam Seng toasting.

Here we are posing with bride and groom. One of the traditions is that the groom has to uncork a bottle of sparkling wine. A modern element was that here both bride and groom uncorked a bottle πŸ˜‰

After filling the glasses they call the close relatives to the stage for a toast. That is basically the end of the dinner.

It was the end of a busy food-filled Sunday. But not yet the end of the weekend. David and his family had come from Singapore to Malaysia for the birthday celebration, but were also eager to have a look at our new penthouse. So we invited them for a get together on Monday evening. We had prepared drinks and snack food and they brought even more. It resulted in an animated party with a lot of wine πŸ˜‰

A group photo at the end of the evening. The next few days we were recovering.

What a Weekend !

Taiping, November 2023

At first i considered calling this post Eat Eat Eat, because during this trip I had three sumptuous dinners with friends. But I also did more than eating, so I kept the title neutral. There were two reasons why I came back to Taiping so soon after my October visit. My friend LIew Suet Fun had [published a new book and I wanted to attend the book launch on 25 November. And Sharen, another friend, born in Taiping but mostly living in Switzerland, had asked me to join her to Taiping and be her “guide” .

I boarded the ETS not in KL Sentral this time, but in Sg Buloh. First the feeder bus to the Mutiara MRT station, then the MRT to Sg Buloh. For me a much better option. The MRT has now a special section for ladies only. In the ETS I always choose coach C, because the canteen is there πŸ˜‰

I am very fortunate to have friends in Taiping who are willing to provide transport. Tung Lay Chun and Kar Seng usually pick me up from the station and bring me to my hotel. But first we had lunch, they know many nice eateries. This time they took me to the SSL Traders hotel in Kamunting, where the restaurant had a very affordable lunch promotion.

I had booked my usual room 201 in Furama, dropped my luggage there and went out again to visit my friend Goh Keat Soon. During my October visit, we had been looking for old heritage buildings, but shortly after he was admitted in hospital with a heart problem, now discharged and recovering. I decided to walk to his house. When you click on the map you can see the many pictures I took during my walk (no need to sign up or login)

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A few old buildings. The left bungalow, built in 1932 is in good condition and still inhabited. I had visited the interior during my August 2020 visit. The right house, in traditional Malay style, looks abandoned and will probably continue to decay . Taiping has many of these houses, and actually they are for me a big part of Taiping’s charm.

It was nice to meet Goh and his wife

On my way back I followed the Raintree Walk. As I took a wrong turn, the total walk was almost 5 k.

During my October visit I had invited Lay Chun and her “food gang” for a dinner and I did the same thing now. They picked me up from Furama and drove to the 83 restaurant in Pokok Assam. We where with 9 pax, ordered 7 dishes and the bill was RM 235.90 (about 46 Euro). Amazingly cheap

And the food was delicious. I forgot to take a photo of one of the dishes πŸ˜‰

That was a well-spent first day of my visit. The next morning I was planning to have breakfast with my friend Foo, Chee Cheong Fun at the Circus Ground food court, near my hotel, but he warned me that the shop was temporarily closed. He suggested the Wan Li Xiang coffee shop, even closer to my hotel, where they also served CCF. We met there and the CCF was also quite good.

I told him about the book launch in the New Club at 10:30 am and he offered to drive me there. We share an interest in Taiping heritage, it was he who had drawn my attention to the 1932 bungalow shown above. On our way we passed the isolated tomb stones on the slopes of the ….. hill. There are actually three, the third one looks like being partially excavated. I have tried to find out who are buried here and when, but until now in vain.

We had still time enough to have a look at the Pillars, the only remains of what was once the Residency. Right a old photo of the Residency. After Ipoh became the capital, the building was used for other purposes (survey department?, public works department?) and apparently it was destroyed by fire, but when? Another mystery.

The book published by Liew Suet Fun has as title Musings from the Nest .For a number of years she and her husband Peter leased the Nest bungalow on Maxwell Hill from the Methodist Church. They transformed the bungalow in colonial style and made it a heaven on earth. I visited the Nest for the first time in 2017, with Aric and my Ipoh friend Hong, report here. The subtitle of her book “why can’t we stay here forever” applies to me, so I came back in 2018 three times, in April, July and December. I would have liked to continue, but in 2019 Suet Fun closed the Nest, because she was writing a book, then came COVID and a disastrous storm , destroying big parts of the access road to Maxwell Hill. Finally the Methodist Church, for reasons unknown to me, claimed back the Nest.

Peter started the book launch with a short introduction, after which Suet Fun explained how they became managers of the bungalow. She read a few passages from the book, followed by a Q&A session.

Of course the book was for sale (RM 60) and you could have it signed by the author. It was a nice event, for me especially interesting because I met people I had not seen for a long time. In the right picture Sharen talks to Safina and Grahame, who I last met in October 2020, before the Covid pandemic disrupted our lives.

After the event many people stayed for lunch and some chit-chat. One gentleman, Dr Ng approached me and told me that we have a mutual friend, George Tan, who had mentioned me several times. He introduced another friend to me, Dr Neoh and I asked him if he was a birder. I explained that for many years I had maintained a website Birding in Malaysia and that he was mentioned on that site as not only a birder but also a bird painter. He presented me with a calendar containing images of his paintings.

Of course a photo had to be taken. From left to right Dr Neoh , Dr Ng and Dr Stuivenberg πŸ˜‰ .Malaysia and especially Taiping is a small world πŸ˜‰

We ended this very agreeable event with a cendol at the famous Ansari Cendol.

I had suggested to Sharen, as her “tourist guide”, that we could go in the afternoon to Matang, visit the museum there, continue to Kuala Sepetang (charcoal kilns, mangrove forest) and finally have dinner in the Lemon Tree restaurant. The dinner plan was accepted, actually Mei, one of her Taiping friends, was going to invite us and host the dinner. For the afternoon she had her own plans, so I was “free” and had a lazy afternoon ;-). Later Sharen WhatsApped me : Pick up between 7 to 7:10pm. A lady by the name of Elaine & Teng Khoe..Please watch out for a red Honda Civic. Another example of the small world Taiping is, as I had met them already a few times earlier πŸ˜‰

The dinner at the Lemon Tree restaurant was even more elaborate, with a total of nine dishes for 7 adults and 2 kids. From right, anti-clockwise Elaine, Teng Khoe, Mei, me, Sharen, Mei’s son David, one of the kids and David’s wife.

Delicious food, but of course way too much. Quite a lot was brought home tapau, Malaysian slang for take-away ;-).

Nice dinner, nice company. Of course I was not hungry the next morning. I had a simple roti canai in the same restaurant where I had CCF the day before.

I had suggested to Sharen to do the EV Heritage trip. This is an electric bus trip, taking 1 hour and 20 minutes, following a route along Taiping heritage locations, with an explanation by a guide. Starting from the zoo, three trips daily.

We walked from Furama to the Zoo, where we bought tickets. RM 20 for adults, RM 10 for Malaysian senior citizens. Quite expensive, but until 31 December you get a discount of 30 %.

No online/advance booking possible, only walk-in. As it was a Sunday morning, with many Zoo visitors, I was a bit worried that the tickets might be sold out. But it turned out that we were the only passengers, a worrying sign for the future of this EV heritage project πŸ™ .

A nice surprise when we were waiting for the bus. A lady approached me and asked , do you remember me? It was puan Jamilah who I had met in March 2019, when she was working at the Galleria. She had heard (Taiping is a small world) that I was planning to do the EV heritage trip and decided to join. In the bus we met our guide Fendy

Here is the route followed by the bus, Click on the map to see the many pictures I took during the trip. During the trip Fendy commented on the various interesting locations we passed. There were three stops where we could walk around a bit

The bus is comfortable and can accommodate about twenty passengers. Our first stop was at the Raintree Walk, a pedestrian walk at the Taiping Lake Gardens. A few fallen rain trees have become tourist attractions and of course we had our pictures taken πŸ˜‰

The next stop was at the clocktower, now the Taiping tourist office, where I had a short, pleasant meeting with puan Kamariah. In the pictures Sharen and I in front of the clocktower and with Kamariah and Jamilah inside the tourist office.

The third stop was at the Municipal Gallery, where we stayed a bit longer. Left a picture of Fendy, Sharen and Jamilah in front of the numerous rewards and certificates obtained by the Taiping Municipal council. In the right photo we are standing in front of the Telegraph museum next door.

The gallery building is still almost empty, but outside there are a few interesting heritage items, related to the railway history of Taiping.

What to say about the trip? It was certainly enjoyable, the explanations by Fendy were useful, and the company of Jamilah pleasant. But in the long term I think the project may fail unless some changes are made. Here are a few suggestions.

  • The starting point should not be the Zoo but the Galleria.
  • Online booking should be made possible.
  • Passing the heritage locations is going too fast. Instead of stopping at three locations it would be more useful to let the bus halt for a short while at many more locations, so the guide can explain a bit , while the passengers can take pictures (not leaving the bus)
  • It is a bit too expensive.

Sharen had her own programme for the afternoon, one of her relatives picked us up from the Zoo and dropped me at my hotel. I decided to have lunch at Prima and then walk a bit around town on my own.

Here are the former British government buildings, a beautiful creation by Francis Caulfield, completed in 1897, now housing the Larut, Matang & Selama district office. A real gem of Victorian architecture

Recently a few huge murals have been created in Taiping. During my visit in October I had taken pictures of two of them. Here is another one, on the walls of the Kwantung association, showing people playing golf.

As it threatened to rain, I cut short my walk and returned to my hotel via the Lake Gardens

That evening my third sumptuous dinner, offered to Sharen and me in the Soon Lee restaurant by the group of people I had invited two days earlier. The same happened during my October stay in Taiping, I hosted a dinner and two days later there was in return a dinner where I was not allowed to pay. It is a quid pro quo aspect of Chinese culture. Delicious food

The next morning I walked to Lian Thong for my roti goyang, half-boiled eggs on toast. Goyang in Malay means shaking. One of my favourite coffee shops, also a very attractive building.

Our train was leaving at 1:40 pm, so I had time to walk around town. First I walked to the ruins of the Perak Railway building, where I had discovered during my October visit that you still could sneak in despite the solid fencing. Nothing had changed. Same at the Rest House next door, you can just walk in and out. The authorities must be aware of this, why don’t they take action?

I continued to the market, where I got a pleasant surprise. They had started rebuilding. It looks like it will not be a renovation but a replica, but at least something is happening. Will it be completed by August 2024, as promised by the minister?

Walking back to Furama I got a call from Yeap that he and his wife were meeting Halim, if I had time to join them. Of course I wanted to see Halim, who has been diagnosed with a serious illness, but still is full of energy. We have become quite close friends.

Yeap had offered to pick me up from Furama and drop me at the station. On our way, he showed me the remains of what was once one of the movie theatres of Taiping: the Mandarin Cinema. A huge building, abandoned since many years, but at least properly fenced off . A new discovery for me πŸ˜‰

Then it was time to take the train back home. A nice trip with Sharen, although it was obvious that she didn’t need a guide for Taiping πŸ˜‰

Taiping, October 2023

This time the main reason for my Taiping visit was to watch the Nine Emperor Gods procession, but there was (much) more. In April the iconic market buildings were demolished and last month the equally iconic Rest House was partially destroyed by fire. And of course there were friends to meet and Taiping food to enjoy. So I booked 3 nights in my usual Furama hotel and on 20 October took the ETS, arriving in Taiping around 1 pm. A comfortable way of traveling.

My friend Lay Chun picked me up from the station and first we had lunch in Prima, chicken rice.

She is a very active member of the Shun Tak Association, one of the many Clan associations in Malaysia. Left the Ancestral Home in Jalan Kota, now rented out to a restaurant. Right the Shun Tak gallery in Jalan Pasar, recently opened, More information about the history of the Shun Tak association can be found in this blog, written by Wong Tuck Ee, the secretary of the association.

The gallery is on the first floor and open by appointment only. Lay Chun had arranged a visit. Here you see the interior of the gallery Panels about the history decorate the walls. The spacious gallery can also be used for meetings of the association.

We met Miss Leong , the clerk, and walked around. Right a mahjong table. In the past members often came to the clan house to play mahjong.

The deity in the middle is Kwan Gong, the Chinese warrior god. Right the Ancestral Tablets.

It was an interesting visit, I signed the guestbook and gave a small donation after which I was allowed to ring the bell three times. It would be good to promote the gallery as a Taiping tourist attraction. I am thinking about writing a separate blog about the clan associations of Taiping.

After the visit Lay Chun dropped me at Furama. I have stayed in this hotel numerous times, almost always in this room πŸ˜‰ . Feels a bit like home.

Lay Chun and her friends organise regular dinner meetings, in the past I attended a few of them. This time I told her that I would like to be the host for such a dinner party. That was accepted, Goh, a member of the “gang”, who lives next door to Furama, picked me up from my hotel, we drove to Matang, the Lemon Tree restaurant, where we met the other members and had a delicious dinner.

Me in the middle, next to me Yong (left) and Goh (right). We were 12 pax, had 9 dishes (pork, chicken, fish, duck, veggies etc) and the bill was RM 330. Unbelievable, so cheap.

The next morning I had breakfast with my friend Yeap in an Indian restaurant. I had dosai and asked a waiter to take a picture of us, but something went wrong. Nice breakfast place.

A few months ago a Facebook contact had told me about a remote Hindu temple, the Sri Ayyanar Temple, north of Kamunting. When I asked Yeap if he knew this temple, he said, sure, it is not far from my oil palm farm, I can bring you there. After our breakfast we drove there, the signage is no problem, but the road is untarred and the location is really in the middle of plantations.

The beautiful temple comes as a big surprise. Colorful, dominated by a giant statue of Ayyanar, a Tamil deity.

He is accompanied by horse riders, also huge statues. And there can be no doubt about it, the horses are stallions, not mares πŸ˜‰

A few more pictures. Servants are supporting the temple.

Left Dakshinamurti an aspect of Lord Shiva as a teacher. Right the inner sanctum of the temple. Everything beautifully maintained.

Really an unexpected discovery. When I asked my Taiping friends, many of them were not aware of this gem, less than 15 km away of the town center.

Back in town, I walked around a bit. Next year Taiping will celebrate its 150th anniversary, many activities are planned. I had a look at two recent murals, one commemorating the Treaty of Pangkor (1874). the other one showing dulang washing (the panning of tin ore). They are huge, but I am not impressed. The Amelia Earhart one has more artistic value, but unfortunately, the pilot never landed at Tekah areodrome.

Lunch with Yeap and Halim in Yut Sun. The “new” branch, we first tried the original one, but there the Rajah Muda of Perak had just arrived with his entourage, we expected long waiting times. No Hainanese Chicken Chop for me this time, a simple egg and veggie on bread was enough.

In the afternoon I met my friend Goh, the photographer. He had published on Facebook pictures of old buildings, colonial bungalows but also simple staff quarters. I was interested. We drove around in Asam Kumbang, He took the photos many years ago and was not sure if the buildings still existed. This is what we found. Desolation.

Cleared land, the house must have been demolished not so long ago, One house still standing.

Later, back home, I opened Google Earth on my laptop and selected the “historical imagery” option. Left the situation in 2016, right in 2022. We were too late πŸ˜‰ I have marked the locations “cleared land” and “house”. It was drizzling which added to the melancholic atmosphere.

We passed the Kempe Club, now closed. In 2019 I visited the club and was warmly welcomed by the seniors who gathered there to play mahjong.

In another part of Asam Kumbang we found a few monumental bungalows. Still standing, but for how long?

Also some simple quarters, a few still inhabited, others empty or already demolished.

We also passed the remains of the Tekah airport. Right a photo of the control tower and arrival hall when the aerodrome was still in operation.

I found the above picture in the Taiping Mall, where Goh and I had a coffee and cake.

After a short rest in my hotel, I had another dinner with a number of “gang” members, again in Prima. I had Bak Kut Teh this time. From left to right Lay Chun, Kar Seng, Dr Poh and his wife Rosalind.

Back in my hotel the reception told me that a procession for the 9 Emperor Gods would pass close to Furama. Although a bit tired, I went out to the Jalan Tupai where soon the procession arrived.

A few people had metal poles pierced through their cheeks. Look how the poles are decorated with led lights. Traditional customs combined with modern technology.

Really a day full of variety.

The next morning my plan was to have my usual Chee Cheong Fan for breakfast, but when I arrived at the Circus ground, it was sold out already. Instead I had Char Kway Teoh, another favorite of mine. Not bad.

Next I walked to 81, Jalan Kota, where I met my friend Bok Kin. Her husband is a descendant of Ng Boo Bee and the Ng family has a tradition of placing an offering table in front of what was originally Boo Bee’s townhouse. When the Nine Emperor Gods procession passes, the participants stop for a while at the table. A good location to take pictures.

Left the house altar and right the offering table. Waiting for the procession to arrive.

In 2019 I had watched the procession at the same location, I wrote a report The Nine Gods Emperor Festival about it. In the following years there was no procession because of the COVID pandemic This year it took place again, I had the impression that it was less elaborate and exotic than the last time. But still fascinating,

Here is a collage of some video clips I took this time, Watch also the more spectacular video I took in 2019.

Here is a photo collection of the devotees who pierced their cheeks or had hooks in their back.

After the procession was finished, we went for lunch, again to Prima, for the third time during this visit! I had fish ball noodles with pork intestines.

My first destination after lunch was the Rest House. Built in 1894 , one of the “Firsts” of Bander Warisan (Heritage Town) Taiping. Now left to rot. It has been fenced off but there is an obvious opening in the fence, for many years already. I am sure the authorities must be aware of this gap, that could easily be closed. Do they leave it open on purpose? Of course I walked in.

Left the opening as seen from the street. Right after entering, through the opening you can see part of KEVII. The yard is partly overgrown, but a clear path proves that people (squatters or drug addicts?) have been using it and maybe still do.

The part of the Rest House that has been destroyed by fire, a few weeks ago.

I could still walk in. And in an undamaged room there were clear signs that homeless people were still using it. As there is no electricity in the building, they may have to use a candle at night. Could that be the cause of the fire, just an accident?

Two pictures from the outside. The right picture is ironic, I took it on purpose.

Next to the Rest House, on Jalan Stesen, are two historical heritage buildings, one of them is the former Perak Railway Building (1885) . Ruined beyond repair, in my opinion, see my blog Taiping Bandar Warisan . After much of the interior had been demolished and/or stolen a few years ago, MPT (the Taiping town council) constructed a solid fence around the complex, to avoid further destruction.

Really solid, I thought, no way to sneak in. So I was shocked to discover that there actually still is an entrance, a jalan tikus (literally a rat road). You can see it clearly when you enlarge the above photo.

With some hesitation I entered. For sure, this complex was used by drug addicts, in the past I have encountered one. They probably still use it, I didn’t want a confrontation. As you can see, it is a regular makeshift wooden door.

I only stayed inside a few minutes, took a photo of the courtyard and didn’t examine the rooms. The courtyard is overgrown, with a clear path, more people must know about this. Leaving, I politely closed the door.

Final destination for the afternoon, the Pasar (1884/85). Two buildings, with Siang Malam in the middle. A few years ago closed for renovation. February this year, Siang Malam was under reconstruction. The exterior has now been completed, the interior is still empty. I heard on the grapevine that the former stall holders, temporarily relocated near the dobi line, like it there and may not be interested to return.

In February the Pasar buildings were still standing, but in recent months first the wooden parts have been removed and later also the metal structure. Taiping people were getting worried, but a minister assured that medio next year, when Taiping celebrates its 150th anniversary, the market would be restored in all its glory. There is some doubt if that is possible, and also if it will be renovation, or a modern reconstruction.

Here are two pictures, which I managed to take, not easy because here the fencing is very solid. Left the location of the veggie, beef/mutton and chicken market.. Completely clean. The right photo shows the location of the fish, fruit and pork market. To my surprise I noticed that a concrete foundation has been laid there. According to the grapevine again, the pasar is being rebuilt/reconstructed in Kelantan at the moment. Later it will be transported to Taiping. Can that be true? Why is there not more transparency from the authorities?

That evening I was invited by the same group of friends for another dinner, this time at Soon Lee restaurant, very close to my Furama hotel. Because I had hosted the dinner in Matang, this time I was not allowed to pay anything. Such a pleasant group of friends!

Another busy day. The next morning I woke up early because I had not yet visited the Lake Gardens and I was going to meet my friend Neal there. The Lake Gardens are beautiful, any time of the day.

Nice weather, I walked the Raintree Walk and met Neal there. We chatted about Taiping, its Heritage and the new Electrical Heritage bus

I invited him and his wife for breakfast at Lian Thong. Eggs on Toast (Roti Goyang) is a favourite of mine. Funny story: after we had ordered our breakfast, a lady customer came to our table and told us that she had ordered Roti Goyang, but could not finish it. Was I willing to take it? Of course I did, we cancelled our own order, and I had a free breakfast. I really love Taiping πŸ˜‰ .

Walking back to my hotel, I stopped at the clock tower, the location of the Taiping tourist office. It is managed by the Taiping Tourist Association, who don’t have sufficient funds for repairs, maintenance and promotion. In my opinion a tourist office should be managed and funded by MPT itself.

They have leaflets and maps, but there could be more. Also, in my opinion the Heritage Bus should start from here, not from the Zoo.

I wanted to meet Puan Kamaria of TTA, but she was not in. Instead I chatted with Asraf, a volunteer of TTA, very interested in heritage. But only for a short while, because I had to hurry back to my hotel and check out.

Lay Chun and Kar Seng picked me up from my hotel and, after lunch together dropped me at the station.

A very busy, rewarding visit, I needed a few days to recover πŸ˜‰

Seremban, September 2023

As far as I remember, I have never visited Seremban as a separate destination, it was always part of a trip. In Linggi adventure, 15-7-2008 my friend Liz Price and I ended our trip in Seremban, where we spent only a few hours before returning home. And in 2019, during a Trip down South, Aric and I visited the Centipede temple in the suburbs of Seremban.

Looking for heritage information about Seremban I found online this map, where the heritage points of interest are marked. There is quite a lot to see.

So we decided to visit Seremban on a 2D1N trip, similar to what we did recently in Melaka, starting on Friday, coming back Saturday.

One week before this trip, my laptop crashed. Aric did his best to repair it, but could not, it might be the motherboard. We brought it to the ASUS service center, where they said that it would take a few days to check what was wrong. Friday afternoon they messaged that they had replaced the motherboard, but that they needed more time to test the system. As I was worried about possible data loss, I was not in the best of moods when we left for Seremban.

Aric had booked a room in the Seremban Inn, in the center of the old town. A basic room, not even supplying a water cooker. Good that I had brough a bottle of whisky for my pre-dinner drink πŸ˜‰

We had a seafood dinner in the Seremban Seafood Village. Delicious Seremban Baked Crab and Rice Wine Prawns. With Mouse Tail Noodles, Young Long Beans and Tea the bill was RM 203, a bit expensive, but really worth it,

We had heard about the Luna Lights Wonderland, held in Seremban until 24 September and decided to have a look. Supposed to be the biggest “light festival” in Malaysia. it was located in the Malaysia Park and very popular, it was not easy to find a parking place for our car. And even at 10 pm we still had to queue to get tickets.

Almost one million of led lights have been used to decorate the park. Here is a collection of photos.

There are different themes, fish, animals, space travel.

And romance πŸ˜‰

A large part of the park is covered with lights, it took us almost two hours to explore everything.

The photos do not show that the lighting is dynamic, the colours are changing all the time. So I also took numerous videos. Here is a compilation, made with the iMovie app of my iPhone..

The next morning we went for breakfast to the Warung Bambam, which had positive reviews. Quite far from old Seremban, actually more in Rasah. Rural surroundings, we were surprised that it was very popular, we even had to queue a bit.

It was a pleasant surprise for me to find on the menu Roti Goyang with Kaya, which I had tasted for the first time in Kota Bharu. Of course we had to order it.

After breakfast we drove back to the old town to start our heritage walk. First we stopped at the Railway Station, constructed between 1904 and 1910, with its nice clocktower.

Next the Seremban Lake Gardens. A miniature copy of the Taiping Lake Gardens. I could not find information about its history. Not sure if it was in the past a tin mining lake, because the center of tin mining was Rasah.

We walked around a bit, not too long because it was a hot day. To me, the shape of the lake doesn’t look like the result of tin mining.

Next we drove to what is called the White House of Seremban, the former State Secretariat, a design of famous architect Arthur Benison Hubback (1912)

It housed later the Public Library and it now abandoned but still in good shape. Opposite the attractive building there is a nice fountain.

That it is in good shape can not be said of the District office and Surveying department, almost next to it. Also built in 1912 and the design looks almost identical to the State Secretariat, but I didn’t find any mention of Hubback being the architect.

It’s clearly in decay.

Although in 2006 the building got an official plaque that it was National Heritage! Reminds me of Taiping. Malaysia Boleh.

We continued to the Church of the Visitation, a Catholic church in the center of the old town with an interesting history. The building dates from 1934, but the parish is much older, 1848, long before Captain Murray started as the first British Resident in 1875.

We had now visited POI 1, 5, 8, 9 and 12 from the heritage poster (see above). many more to go. But the ASUS center messaged us that my laptop would be ready around 3 pm! And it was a very hot day. So we decided to cut our visit short, have lunch and then drive back.

For lunch we went to the Lee Koon restaurant, with a reputation for its fish ball noodles. Nice food and a very friendly staff.

On our way back home, we got an update from ASUS that it would be more like 4 pm, they had to do more testing on my laptop after replacing the motherboard. We passed the time at a nearby McDonalds , went to the ASUS center at 4 pm, they were still testing and it was only at 5:30 pm that we could collect my laptop.

It was a relief that basically everything worked, no data loss.

It was a bit of a funny trip, here is a GE screenshot with the places we visited

I have to go again another time πŸ˜‰

Revisiting Melaka, August 2023

The last time that Aric and I have been on a touristic overnight trip, was in 2020. The Covid Lockdown started in Malaysia on 18 March 2020, but there were still limited options to travel. In July we made a trip to the Cameron Highlands and in August we visited Taiping.

In 2022 traveling became possible again, but Aric was busy with his laundry shop and could not take leave easily. Last week we finally managed to make a short 2D1N trip to Melaka. We have visited Melaka often, the last time was with our Chinese friend Dong Dong, in January 2020, before the pandemic started. So it was time to go again.

We left home on Friday 25 August at 5 pm, got caught on our way in a huge traffic jam and arrived in Melaka at 9 pm only. Not a very auspicious start πŸ˜‰ . We had booked a room in the Cheng Ho Residence and that was a very good decision, as the hotel was located in the center of the old town.

After dropping our luggage, we went out again to explore the Jonker Walk, the popular weekend market of Melaka. Not crowded, more pleasant than I expected.

Looking for a place to eat, we first had a snack,; Baked fried cuttlefish. Not everybody will like it, it’s an acquired taste πŸ˜‰

The tomb of Hang Kasturi is located along the Jonker street. He is one of the famous five Malay warriors, who lived in the 15th century and served the Sultan of Melaka. See below for the tomb of Hang Tuah, the most famous of them.

The entrance of the Jonker Walk, with the big stage, where often karaoke singing is performed.

There were still many hawker stalls open, although it was already past 10 pm. Aric selected a variety of dishes, stingray, scallops, oyster omelet and fried rice cake.

After our dinner we walked back, the pasar was starting to close. We passed the well-known Geographer bar (right picture), where I have enjoyed a beer several times in the past.

Melaka has a huge number of trishaws, their bright colors are almost painful to the eyes πŸ˜‰

River views from the bridge, in both directions, also an orgy of colors.

Before going back to our hotel, we had a dessert of “smelly tofu“, another acquired taste.

The restaurant where we wanted to have our breakfast the next morning was on walking distance from our hotel. On our way we passed the Kampung Kling Mosque. As I had visited Melaka so often, I had numerous photos of all the heritage buildings, so I was lazy and hardly took pictures this time.

We had our breakfast in the Pin Pin Hiong Restaurant with oyster mee sua and a prawn omelet. Nice food, friendly service.

The mural art tsunami has not yet reached Melaka, as far as I have noticed this time. Here is a nice one, quite unusual.

After our breakfast we walked back to the town center with the church and the Stadthuys.

Of course I had also my picture taken with a Dutch windmill and a not very Dutch cow. The other picture shows the Chung Wah restaurant, famous for its Hainanese Chicken Rice. We have queued there often, but now we have discovered an even better place, see below.

The Heeren House looks very attractive and has always been on my list of Melaka hotels to try out , but it seems that it is now mainly a restaurant, with negative reviews about the hotel.

Back to our hotel, where we checked out. We stayed on the second floor and our windows opened to the air well. The interiors of the Baba House and the Puri hotel, where we have stayed before, is more interesting, but the location of Cheng Ho is perfect.

Arc had brought his drone and we decided to visit Bukit Cina to take drone videos and pictures, Before we climbed up the hill we had a look at the cenotaph, a memorial for the Japanese occupation. The other picture shows the Hang Li Poh well (the King’s well), with an intriguing history.

A few details of the Sam Po Kong Temple at the foot of Bukit Cina. The right picture shows a statue of admiral Cheng Ho who visited Melaka many times in the 15th century.

Finally we climbed up to Bukit Cina. A Chinese cemetery, very quiet during our visit, maybe because it was the month of the Hungry Ghosts ;-). On the top of the hill a monumental, symbolic grave is well kept

Many other graves are in disrepair. It adds to the atmosphere of the cemetery.

While Aric was “droning”, I enjoyed an (alcohol-free) Heineken beer.

Here is a drone picture of the old town center, with the Christ Church and the Stadthuys..

And this is the old town, surrounded by modern buildings.

Before driving back home we visited the Makam Hang Tuah, in Tanjung Kling, about 10 km west of Melaka town.

Located inside a nice Muslim cemetery and well kept.

A giant grave. The signboards around the tomb tell the story of Hang Tuah .

On our way back home we had no real traffic jam. Hopefully many similar trips will follow, preferably a bit longer and better not during weekends.

Kota Bharu trip, July 2023

Here is a report about a 5D4N trip to Kota Bharu, organised by Paul and Fahmi. When I showed my interest, they invited me to join, It’s a long drive from KL to Kota Bharu, we used the inland route via Gua Musang, it took us about 7 hours, with some sanitary stops and lunch in the Gua Musang R&R.

Paul and Fahmi had booked a homestay a bit south of the town center, in a kampung, but the house was modern and big enough for us, with three bedrooms.

After a rest we went out for dinner The KST restaurant has good reviews and was not far from our homestay. Fahmi selected a fish for the Ikan Bakar and picked a variety of fresh vegetables for the Ulam, a Malay salad, where you dip the raw veggie in a sauce of your choice. .

Left the ulam with two sauces, right the Ikan Bakar.

We also had Mango Salad and Tomyam soup. I nice start of our trip.

The next morning I took a photo of our homestay.. The owner (?) is living in the left part of the house. We had very good privacy in our part.

For our breakfast we went to another popular eatery, Kopitiam Kita. Famous for its Roti Titab, toasted bread with an half boiled egg and some kaya in the four corners.

We had to queue, but found a table reasonably fast.

The Roti Titab looks a bit weird, but was actually very tasty. Coffee was also good. Friendly service.

We drove to the center of the town and parked our car. Left the clock tower in the town center. Inspired by the Big Ben (?), could not find the date when it was built. Right a recent one, near the river. Both not really special.

One of the attractions of Kota Bharu is its Mural Art. Nowadays Mural Art can be seen all over Malaysia, after Zacharevic’s creations in Penang and Ipoh started the trend. Often they are of mediocre quality, using a wall just as a canvas. Here in Kota Bahru they are quite acceptable, often depicting Kelantanese topics, like wayang kulit or kite flying.

One section is dedicated to the Palestine war, a bit depressive but quite interesting. Kelantan is probably the most conservative Islamic state of Malaysia, strongly against Israel and in support of Palestine.. Here is a collection of scenes.

Another section, less depressive, is about Kelantanese life, food, customs etc.. The carpet on the floor has been painted!

Various scenes of kampung life.

Nice countryside.

Left Wayang Kulit, right Silat (Malay martial art).

And of course food πŸ˜‰

After walking around in this quarter of town, we had a look at Kota Bharu’s famous Siti Khadijah Market. The market is not old, it was opened in 1985 as the Buluh Kubu Market, but in 1997 renamed Siti Khadijah, after the wife of the Prophet Mohammed. Three storeys high, very colorful. The ground floor is a wet market.

Kota Bharu has quite a number of museums. We only visited Istana Jahar, built as a royal residence in 1855. Now it houses the Museum of Royal Traditions and Customs of Kelantan.

When you are interested in colonial architecture, there is no need to visit Kota Bharu. We found only one building, a bank, built in 1912 and completed in 1922. It now houses the War Museum. In 1941 the Japanese invasion of British Malaya started with the landing of troops on the beaches of Kota Bharu.

Nearby is the Royal Landing Pier, We found a suitable place for lunch. In the background you see the clocktower near the Royal Landing Pier.

Walking back to our car we passed one more example of street art, an interactive one this time. Of course I had to try it πŸ˜‰ .

After a long rest in our homestay we went out again, to the Cahaya Bulan beach.

Paul is not really a cat lover, not clear why cats always like him !

The beach is nice, but not spectacular.

Many food stalls along the beach.

We ordered deep fried squid (celup teping sotong) and prawns. With a coconut as a drink.

The stall even had an outside toilet!

The next day was already our last day in Kota Bharu. We still had to try the Nasi Kerabu and went to Liniey Nasi Kerabu Tumis, where we had to queue for some time, as it is a very popular eatery. But it was worth it.

Our first destination for the day was the Kampung Laut Mosque. We had to cross the Kelantan river to reach the mosque.

The mosque is one of the oldest in Malaysia and has an interesting history, which is explained in a number of panels. Its original location was close to the Kelantan river and erosion and flooding threatened to destroy the building. After a major flood in 1966-67 it was decided to dismantle the building, transport it to another village and rebuild it there. But that was a temporary solution only, Now the mosque has been brought back to Kampung Laut, at a safer distance from the river and protected by a heavy cemented wall from future flooding.

We could enter the mosque but as Paul and I were wearing shorts, we first had to cover our aurat (in this case our knees). The caretaker was very friendly.

The state of Kelantan has been in the past part of the Kingdom of Siam, Only in the Anglo-Siamese Treaty of 1909 it was decided that Kelantan would become one of the Unfederated Malay States , controlled by the Brits. .This explains why there still is Thai influence in Kelantan.

We visited two Buddhist temples in Tumpat, first the Wat Phothivihan with a giant Sleeping Buddha.

A few more photos. The entrance of the temple is guarded by two lions, one male and one female. When you look carefully you can see that the picture shows the male one πŸ˜‰ .

We continued to the Wat Machimmaram, with a giant Sitting Buddha.

After so much local food, we were in the mood for something Western, so we went to the Aeon Mall, where we had already done some shopping the day before. But the whole mall was closed from 12:30 until 14:30! We had forgotten that it was Friday, Prayer Time, and that Kelantan is a very conservative Islamic State.

Luckily we had some biscuits at our homestay where we took a rest, before we went out in the afternoon. To another beach, Pantai Senok. A pleasant surprise. The main attraction is the forest of casuarina trees, planted in a grid pattern. Many families were enjoying the shade under the trees

Because of the grid pattern, you can see through the trees in certain directions.

A nice background for pictures.

Really a nice location.

The beach is also attractive. People were riding horses and flying kites.

We walked along the beach until the dam, separating the beach from a river. A small lighthouse marks the mouth of the river.

Using Google Search Paul and Fahmi had found a restaurant, not far from the beach, which specialised in oysters (tiram in Malay). When we arrived at this Maggi Tiram Kmah restaurant, we found a pleasant place, with friendly staff.

It’s all oyster dishes they serve πŸ˜‰

We had a delicious dinner, starting with fresh oysters , followed by nasi tiram, nasi telor sotong and maggi tiram (soup)

The left picture shows the telor sotong (squid eggs) and the right picture shows three cheese-baked oysters, given to us free of charge. The total bill, including drinks, was RM 45. Unbelievable πŸ˜‰ .

Here is a Google Earth screenshot with the locations we have visited. Click on the map to enlarge and see details.

The next day we started our drive back to KL. We stayed overnight in Kuala Terengganu, where Paul and Fahmi had booked a hotel.

Kuala Terengganu has two interesting mosques, This is the Crystal Mosque, built between 2006 and 2008.

And this is the Floating Mosque, built between 1993 and 1995. A real beauty.

It was a nice trip. Thanks to Paul and Fahmi for inviting me.

A Wedding Dinner

It is many years ago that Aric and I attended a Chinese wedding dinner! When our friend Henry Hor came to our place in April, to invite us for the wedding dinner of his son Benjamin, we accepted his invitation. When I decided a few weeks later to visit the Netherlands, I planned my timetable in such a way that I would come back just one day before the dinner, hoping that my jetlag would not be too severe πŸ˜‰ .

For those not familiar with the tradition of Chinese wedding dinners, here some information. A Chinese wedding dinner is a big and expensive event, where hundreds of guests enjoy a traditional many-course dinner. The size of the event is indicated by the number of tables, where eacht table is for 10 pax. The price for one table can easily be in the range RM 2000-3000. At this occasion there were 30 tables. To contribute to the cost of the event, the guests don’t give the wedding couple a present, but an ang pao envelope with money. On arrival we presented our ang pao, and we were given our table number. Henry is busy here, doing some checking.

Left the wedding dinner invitation. Benjamin is living in the US, Anita in Malaysia. They met via the Internet and married last year in the US. Now Benjamin came back for the church wedding. He brought quite a few of his American friends. Anita who is planning to move to the US, is Chindian. So the dinner was Chinese, but the company was an interesting mix of Chinese, Indian, Malay and Mat Salleh, very Malaysian.

A few pictures of the hall. On the invitation a starting time of 6 pm is mentioned, but almost nobody comes that early. We arrived at 6:30 pm

Still enough time to greet friends. Left Aric and George, right Khong, George and me together with Henry

At around 7 pm the couple, Anita and Benjamin, entered the hall.

They were seated at the main table, near the stage, with their close family. Then the dinner could start. An eight-course menu. Free flow of wine and beer.

The first course is always a variety of starters. Read the menu for details.

Followed by seafood soup (left) and and chicken chop with mango salad (right)

In the meantime the MC (master of ceremonies) introduced the speakers and also photos and videos were shown on the big screen above the main stage. Here is “our” table.

There was one more table with our friends. Left photo (from right to left) George, Boon Chee and his wife. Right photo (from right to left) Richard Yap, Teoh and his wife. We know each other through Bukit Kiara and IKEA, before COVID disturbed our lives.

Fourth course: steamed pomfret with ginger in soy sauce.

The next two courses, left butter prawns with egg floss, right mushroom and broccoli

Henry, Anita and Benjamin at the VIP table, listening to the speeches on the stage.

Then it is their turn. Benjamin has to open a bottle of champaign (or maybe sparkling wine),preferably with a loud pop ;-). Then groom and bride have to fill the tower of glasses. This is a traditional element of the ceremony.

Next is the official toasting with all close relatives and friends on stage.

Everybody has to sing yam seng, cheers in Cantonese, litterally “drink to victory”. The “yam” must be kept as long and loud as possible, followed by a short, explosive “seng”. Here is a short video, showing that not everybody was familiar with this very Chinese custom. the MC had to help πŸ˜‰ .

These events are very suitable to meet old friends. Left the Gang of Four, we still meet regularly. Right Boon Chee, Andrew and I, we have not met each other for many years.

In the meantime the last course had arrived, Mixed fruits and a dessert of sea coconut and snow fungus. This time Aric was serving the others at our table.

The finale of the dinner. Bride and groom visit tables for another yam seng toast and pictures.. Not all tables, just tables with their friends and relatives.

Here I am toasting on the good luck and happiness of the couple. Yaaaaaaaam Seng.

A pleasant evening, nice to meet old friends. i had no problem with jetlag!

Taiping, February 2023

Before starting to write this blog, I decided to take a look at the two blogs I wrote about my visits to Taiping last year, in March and June. I noticed that my Taiping visits are usually very similar: I meet friends, enjoy the Lake Gardens, explore the town and its heritage, have nice food. etc. This visit was not different, so be warned ;- .

On 15 February I took the ETS to Taiping I like train travel, it is more relaxing than driving. I always choose a seat in coach C, because the canteen is there πŸ˜‰

In Taiping my friends Lay Chun and Kar Seng were waiting for me. We had lunch in the 226 Kim Hai restaurant in Aulong, where they are regular customers.

Nice food and as usual they didn’t let me pay for it. Malaysian hospitality!. From left to right, pork ribs, bitter gourd omelet (my favourite) and mantis shrimps.

After lunch they dropped me at Furama. From my hotel room I always had a view of a beautiful (but abandoned) bungalow. I was a bit shocked to see that the bungalow had been completely destroyed and replaced by a non-descript eatery.

After taking some rest I walked to the Novotel where I met my friend Derrick and his “gang”. They were on a road trip, staying overnight in Taiping and he had asked me to show them Taiping. As they had already been walking around in the Lake Gardens, I took them to Kuala Sepetang (Port Weld), where we walked around. Here a view from the bridge.

The first railway in the FMS, from Taiping to Port Weld, was opened in 1885. Dismantled in 1941, now only a signboard remains. On our way back we had dinner in Matang. The Light House restaurant is famous for its seafood porridge.

The next morning my friend Yeap picked me up from my hotel. We had breakfast together, another tradition. This time we had thosai in a mamak.

I had asked Yeap if he had contacts in the Taiping Sikh community, because I was interested to visit the Gurdwara Sahib. Not surprisingly he had, after breakfast we went to the Gurdwara where we met Datuk Balraaj Singh. The present Gurdwara was built in 1970 to replace a beautiful building, completed in 1921. The Taiping Gurdwara Sahib has an interesting history, going back to the times of captain Speedy, who in the 1870s went to India and came back with a group of Sikh sepoys to protect the interests of Ngah Ibrahim. A few years later they formed the Police Corps of Perak and in 1881 a wooden Gurdwara was built in the police compound. During the first world war, most Sikhs left to fight and many didn’t come back. Access to the gurdwara was problematic for their families (high security), in 1916 it was decided to build a new gurdwara.

Left the modern gurdwara, right the only remaining image of the beautiful old building.

Yeap’s wife was interested to see the gurdwara and joined us. Visitors are welcome, but you need a headcover. I had brought my cap, for Yeap and his wife there were shawls. What a handsome couple πŸ˜‰ . We first visited the main hall (called the darbar), the entrance door was decorated with the Ik Onkar symbol, meaning literally There is only one Creator.

The darbar is a big empty space, dominated at the far end by an elevated throne on which rests the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of Sikhism. First I thought we were alone, entering the hall, but coming closer to the “throne”, we noticed that somebody was sitting behind it, reading the book. It was the Granthi, the ceremonial reader of the Guru Granth Sahib.

A gurdwara also has a langar, a community kitchen, where free vegetarian meals are prepared by volunteers for everybody, irrespective of religion or race. There is also a school and a library. Left the communal kitchen, right a few classrooms.

The courtyard of a gurdwara always has a big flagpole, carrying the Sikh flag. As there was no wind during our visit, you can not see the Khanda on the flag , the official symbol of the Sikh faith, After finishing his reading, the Granthi came to greet us and offer us a cup of tea. Here I am standing between him and the caretaker of the gurdwara.

A nice experience and a very interesting religion!

I went back to my hotel but stayed there only a short time, until Goh, another THS friend picked me up and took me to his house. He is a good photographer, a few years ago we had explored Taiping, resulting in an blog Taiping Old and New. He is also an avid gardener and I had asked him if I could have a look at his garden. His wife prepared coffee and we had a nice “senior” chat

He had a big collection of Desert Roses. We are trying to grow them at home, not easy. He also showed me the budding flower of the Queen of the Night, a species of cactus that only blooms for a single night. I asked him to send me a picture of the flower, which he did the following day. So beautiful.

It was almost lunchtime, we went to the Casual Market, where we had char kuey teow. There are two stalls in Casual Market, preparing this popular food, this time we had the fishball variety. The official name of this food court is Larut Matang Hawker Centre, sometimes also called the Cashier Market, but Goh was adamant that this was not correct.

After lunch we drove to the foothills of Maxwell Hill. The next day an exhibition “A Tale of two Hills” would be opened in the Maxwell Base Camp, we decided to have a look already

Everybody was busy with last-minute preparations, but they still had time to show us around. Left Suet Fun (mentor of the project) explaining the project to another early visitor. Right a description of the four contributions. Narrative and narrator are the new fashion words πŸ˜‰

The contributions contain photos, videos, text. Here are two narrators with their narratives.

After Goh dropped me at my hotel, it was time for a well-deserved rest, Later I went to the Lake Gardens. A few years ago part of the Circular Road has been closed for traffic after a few raintrees had fallen on the road. It is now the Raintree Walk, very popular. One more part , until the Zoo, is now also for pedestrians. Very good initiative of MPT (the Taiping town council).

Until now four of the majestic raintrees have fallen on the road.

Several other trees have fallen in the opposite direction and still manage to survive.

Some more pictures of the Lake Gardens. I like the photo of the ladies who have brought a table and chairs and are enjoying an afternoon tea (?) at the water edge.

A walk in the Lake gardens in not complete for me without having a look at the cannonball trees.

I had invited Bok Kin and her husband for dinner that evening and they suggested the new Brew House, next to my hotel. I asked them to notify me when they had arrived in the restaurant, then I would join them in a few minutes πŸ˜‰

The food was not really that special, but it was very nice meeting them.

During my visit in June I had visited a number of Hindu temples with Muthu Pulai, another THS member. He had suggested a day trip to a Muniswaram temple in Prai (Penang) for the following day, but when I was back in my hotel, I received his message that he had to cancel the trip last-minute. So I had to improvise a program for the next day.. Fortunately my friend Halim was free.!

I decided to start with Chee Cheong Fun breakfast at my usual stall no 37 in the Circus Grounds food court opposite Novotel. Very close to Furama, on my way I passed the colorful Dobi Line.

At the CCF stall I met Foo, earlier working at Furama, having breakfast with a friend. The stall is now managed by the son of Mr Tong, who has retired. Food quality still the same.

Later Halim picked me up from my hotel. First we went to his house, He has a lovely house and a beautiful garden.

Halim has recently started painting and I was interested to see the results. I was quite impressed. A few months ago he had a mild stroke, causing him some speech problems and I was even more impressed by the way he handled this (hopefully temporary) handicap. He carried a notebook to write down what he couldn’t tell and was not shy to communicate with other people.

There are several places I always like to visit when I am in Taiping, many of them heritage related. We had a look at the Residency pillars, cleaned a few years ago by THS and other NGO’s. See my report Taiping October 2020. They still look quite impressive.

The same can not be said of the remains of the former Casuaria Resthouse, still a ruined mess.

Then it was time for lunch, in the nearby New Club

Halim told me that he could see a waterfall from his home in Taman Lake View and that he would like to visit it. I told him that it was the Kamunting fall (Sg Ranting fall). After lunch we drove to the Indian temple near the Water Reservoir, where the trail to both Taiping waterfalls starts. I told him the trail to the Ranting fall is not that easy. We will see, during my next visit.

Back in my hotel, there was the usual afternoon rain.

After the rain stopped, I walked around the town. The egrets were still coming back to roost, It is a fascinating sight to see the flocks of birds return around 7 pm

In Jalan Kelab Cina the faΓ§ade of a shoplot has collapsed a few months ago, damaging a few cars parked in front. The owner has now put up shielding with a warning sign “Park at your own risk”. Through a hole I could take a photo of the interior. Will be interesting to follow the development, if any, of this property. Taiping has (too) many of those ruins.

Next I walked to the Central Market. Part of it, Siang Malam is being renovated. Left a picture I took last year June, right how it looks now. There is progress !

Left the interior of the Siang Malam, still a lot has to be done. Right the main building of the market. No visible activity since last year.

Not really hungry after my lunch in the New Club, I just had some snack food in my hotel.

The next day I woke up early for a day trip with my friends Henry and Soon Lay. Visiting temples and caves around Ipoh was the target of this trip. We did so many interesting things, that I wrote a separate blog about it Take Your Time. Here two pictures, to give you an impression.

The next day was already the last one, going back by ETS in the afternoon. First I had breakfast with Henry and Soon Lay in D’Cherry , Tupai district.. According to Henry the best Nasi Lemak in town. Quite good.

After breakfast they were willing to drive me around the town, so I could have a look at a few of my “favourites”

Recently the STAR published an article about the Taiping murals A total of nine has been planned. We passed one that was still under construction. Here is a picture taken by me next to a Google Earth Street View. Personally I have reservations about this approach, using the wall just as a canvas. Compare it with what Zacharevic has done in Penang and Ipoh, basically using the structure of the old wall instead of obscuring it..

Here is another (in)famous example. Again the wall is just used as a canvas. Infamous because Amelia Earhart never landed in Taiping. See my latest blog Did Amelia Earhart land in Taiping? Two recent newspaper articles, from the STAR : QuickCheck: Did pioneer female pilot Amelia Earhart make a stopover in then-British Malaya? (verdict: “FALSE”), and from the NST: Earhart’s Taiping mural will not be erased . Sigh, Mundus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur

Then it was time for what I call the Shame of Taiping, the two heritage buildings on Station Road, the former Perak Railway building and the Rest House. In 2013 and 2019 I wrote blogs about it, Shame on Taiping! and Taiping Bandar Warisan. Here a few photos, when you compare them with the two blogs, you will see that the decay has progressed.

The Perak Railway Building (Later PWD). At least now solidly fenced off (after the interiors was demolished completely)

The Rest House has also been fenced off, but it is still easy to enter.

Opposite those two ruins, the impressive buildings of the King Edward VII school. But don’t be mistaken, when I visited the school in 2018, parts were not accessible because they were infested by termites.

Finally a photo of me and my favourite ruin. Located at Jalan Sultan Jaafar, behind KEVII I read that the the land is for sale for RM 1.3 million. I would like to find out who were the original owners/tenants and why this bungalow was left to rot.

After Henry and Soon Lay dropped me at my hotel, I packed my stuff, checked out and waited for Halim. Our plan was to visit the Kota Ngah Ibrahim, have lunch, after which he would drop me at the Kuala Kangsar station.

First we went to the Ansari Chendol, where the biasa chendol was still only RM 1.80.

Then we drove to Matang where the fort has now be renamed Muzium Matang. Because it is more than the fort now. The building next to it, which I always called Speedy’s bungalow, has been renovated and is open to the public, free of charge. That was the reason for our visit, the fort itself I had visited many times,

The beautiful building next to the fort was actually the Security Guardhouse of Ngah Ibrahim’s police force.

We spent quite a lot of time in the museum, lots of information, the captions were not always easy to read

The restaurant Halim had in mind for lunch was Selera Azrorasa, located in Matang Gelugor. Famous for its fish curry, he said. Nice location, very remote. We ordered food and soon discovered that the service was very slow. And it was still quite far to Kuala Kangsar. I was getting worried.

Finally we decided that we had to leave, we asked the waiter to “tapau” the food (common practice in Malaysia to “take away” food) . Ten minutes before departure I arrived at the station. Halim took our lunch home and told me later that the food was good. I ordered coffee and sandwiches in the train canteen πŸ˜‰ A funny ending of a very rewarding Taiping trip.