San Bao Dong, Ipoh
Along with the Hindu Batu Cave in Kuala Lumpur, San Bao Dong cave and Buddhist temple located in Ipoh is one of the most famous temples in Malaysia especially amongst the Chinese community who refer to the place as ‘Ba Loh’, which is a Cantonese expression. San Bao Dong has been made famous by its cave paintings. In some instances these paintings are at least 2 stores high ‘the monk standing next to the tiger painting’ is very big. The paintings depicted in my photos don't do the originals justice. They really are great works of art. When the original paintings where first painted is hard to say because of dust the paintings are maintained. It would be fascinating to have the paintings scanned to reveal there origins. I was told they where done by monks if that was the case they must have been great artisans in their day. The cave its self was probably established around 1887 as the neighboring Nan Tian Tong temple was established during this time.
Quoting from another source:
However, whatever it is, all we know San Bao Dong was built by a (or a few) migrating Mahayana Buddhist monks where the Taoists were settled in the nearby Nan Tian Dong as neighbor. But according to another version, contruction of this temple into a full-scale Buddhist temple in 1926 was by a Monk named Qing Xin (1882~1955) from Guangxi Province, China. He was also the monk who first converted the Guang Fook Yan cave as temple earlier in 1917 (see an old picture of the temple at the index page). He was succeeded by ZongJian (19??-1981).
Ipoh location:4°36′N 101°04′E is a city in Malaysia and is the capital of the state of Perak. It is approximately 200 km (125 miles) north of Kuala Lumpur via the North-South Expressway.
Today, 'Ipoh' usually refers to the territory under administration of Ipoh City Council or Majlis Bandaraya Ipoh, which includes the smaller towns adjacent to the city such as Silibin, Chemor, Jelapang, Falim, Menglembu and Tanjung Rambutan. Historically, 'Ipoh' referred to the Old Town and New Town areas divided by the Kinta River at its heart, from which the city grew. From the late 1980s Greentown, located beside the New Town, was transformed from old government quarters to an administrative and commercial centre of Ipoh, often overshadowing both the Old Town and New Town.
The name Ipoh derives from a local tree, pohon epu or now more commonly known as pokok ipoh. The sap of this plant is poisonous and was used by Orang Asli (indigenous people) to coat the tips of the darts of their blowpipes.
Ipoh was formerly known as 'Paloh' (Chinese: 壩羅) among local Chinese, referring to the gigantic mining pump used for early tin ore extraction. It was also called 'the Town built on Tin' (Chinese: 锡城) and 'City of Millionaires', referring to the vast fortunes made during the boom of the tin mining industries.
Other nicknames include 'The Bougainvillea City' and 'Shan Cheng' (Chinese: 山城) which means 'The Hill City' in the Cantonese dialect.
However, from the turn of the 20th century when more British tin-mining companies were set up in the city, Ipoh gained prominence. Influential institutions such as The Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China Limited opened a significant office in Ipoh in 1902. It provided credit to the Straits Trading Company and later the Eastern Smelting Company. More colonial-era firms such as Botly and Co., A.H Whittaker & Co., Chartered Accounts, Evatt & Co., and Estate Visiting Agents Milne & Stevens started to set up offices in the booming town.
Its geographic location in the rich tin-bearing valley of the Kinta River made it a natural centre of growth. It grew rapidly as a mining town, especially in the 1920s and 1930s. A local Hakka miner, millionaire Yau Tet-Shin started developing a large tract of the city in the early 1930s, today known as the New Town section of the city — the area which roughly delineated from the eastern bank of the Kinta River to Greentown.
Ipoh was invaded by the Japanese on 15 December 1941. During the Japanese Occupation of Malaya, Ipoh was made the capital of Perak, in place of Taiping. In March 1942, the Japanese civil administration or Perak Shu Seicho was set up at the St. Michael's Institution. After the liberation of Malaya by British forces, Ipoh remained the capital of Perak, to this day.
In the 1950s, Ipoh was characterised by the proliferation of large numbers of cinema halls, amusement parks, cabarets and night life which was unrivalled in peninsular. Two of the largest entertainment groups then, the Cathay Organisation and Shaw Brothers Company had set up chains of cinemas here. Ipoh was also one of the four original towns served by Malayan Airways (now Malaysia Airlines), the other three being Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.
With the collapse of tin prices and the closure of the tin mines in the late 1970s, Ipoh's growth had stagnated and resulted in the migration of many young talents to other parts of Malaysia (particularly metropolitan areas such as Kuala Lumpur) and Singapore. Ipoh has since been known colloquially as a 'dead' city and earned a reputation as a good location for retirement. Various efforts have been made to redevelop Ipoh into a modern town (refer below for more information). The city is expanding all the time as there are new developments in the suburbs.
Ipoh has one of the cleanest and clearest water supplies in Malaysia, as the source is from the waterfalls in nearby Tanjung Rambutan. The Hospital Bahagia, a well-known mental health hospital in Malaysia, is located in Tanjung Rambutan.
Politically, Ipoh has traditionally been a stronghold of the opposition party. From the early days when Ipoh was the bastion of PPP (an opposition party then), the predominantly Chinese voters voted for the famous D. R. Seenivasagam and S. P. Seenivasagam brothers. Today the city is the stronghold of DAP (Democratic Action Party, Malay: Parti Tindakan Demokratik). The parliamentary seat for Ipoh Timur is held by DAP Representative, Lim Kit Siang while the seat for Ipoh Barat is held by fellow DAP leader, M. Kulasegaran.
The following towns, suburbs, and neighborhoods comprise the area formally (and collectively) known as the Ipoh City.
* Population: 710,798 (2007)
Ipoh is famous for food items such as 'Sar Hor Fun' (Chinese: 沙河粉; It is a flat white rice noodle which locals believe best served in soup with shredded chicken meat and prawns. Most Ipoh residents, particularly the older generation, indulge in their favorite pastime of enjoying 'dim sum' (Chinese: 点心) consisting of various Hong Kong style cuisine includes small Chinese dumplings and hors d'œuvre delicacies; downed with generous servings of Chinese tea. Other favorite dishes includes a variant popular to Ipoh is 'Hor Hee' (essentially is flat white rice noodle) served with fish cakes and/or fish balls, 'Nga Choi Kai' (Chinese: 芽菜鸡) which is chicken fillet with soy sauce, beansprouts with pepper spread on top of it, 'Hakka Mee' (Chinese: 客家面) which is rice noodles (yellow) serve with mince meat (pork) sauce, and 'Heong Peng' ((Chinese: 香饼) which is a type of biscuits.
Ipoh is also famous for Malay and Indian cuisine, such as satay (meat on a skewer which resembles kebabs, served with peanut sauce), tempoyak (preserved durian extract commonly eaten with chilies), banana leaf rice (Indian cuisine serve on a banana leaf), and a variety of northern Indian food.
Ipoh is well known in Malaysia for coffee known as 'Ipoh white coffee'. It was believed that as the Ipoh township stems from the development of the Ipoh Old Town and many small coffee shops remain in this part of the city, the coffee from Ipoh is given the moniker 'old town white coffee'.
Places of interest
Around Ipoh and its environs
A 15-minute drive from Ipoh towards Tanjung Rambutan brings you to the foot of a limestone hill where visitors can rejuvenate at hot baths from the Tambun hot spring, a natural spring.
Ulu Chepor is a famous recreational place to relax for picnics and camping in a remote yet nature-friendly place. Ulu Chepor is another waterfall camping area located 10 km from Ipoh city; other such waterfalls include Lubuk Timah in Simpang Pulai and one in Falim.
Another attraction is the Gunung Lang Recreational Park which is 5 km from the Ipoh city center. It has been operated by the City Hall (DBI) with the collaboration of Ministry of Tourism Malaysia since 1999. This park, costing RM 8.4 million, has 3 man-made lakes which was reclaimed from old tin mines and filled in with tropical fish.
The Old Town
St. Michael's Institution along Clayton Road (now Jalan S.P. Seenivasagam) is a building of architectural merit; a La Sallian school opened in 1912 by Father J.B. Coppin. During the Japanese occupation in World War II, the school building had become the Japanese administration headquarters in Ipoh. The Ipoh Train station which has elements of Moorish and Gothic architecture is another famous landmark of this former tin-mining city.
Many 'shop-houses' along Leech Street (Chinese: 烈治街; now Jalan Bandar Timah) in the Old Town still maintain their architectural significance, besides being a popular spot for food and drinks (refer Cuisine).
The New Town houses the Perak Medical University and Ipoh City Hall building, among others.
Another sight worth seeing is the Kek Lok Tong (Chinese 极乐洞; Cavern of Utmost Happiness), which is a cave temple that lies on the other side of the same range of limestone hills as Sam Poh Tong. It is accessible through the Gunung Rapat housing area. It has a cleaner, quieter and more cooling environment and has the best scenic cave view.
Limestone hills extend 20 km north of Ipoh and also 20 km to the south. There are many caves in these hills; cave temples are built in some of these caves. Gua Tempurung, near Gopeng south of Ipoh, is a show cave open to the public.
Unfortunately many of the limestone hills are being quarried in the ever increasing demand for crushed stone and cement. Some of the hills under threat contain endemic fauna and flora. One cave, Gua Puncak, contains Peninsular Malaysia's second largest cave chamber and is in danger of being quarried. In reaction to this, the Malaysian Karst Society has been set up in an attempt to save these hills.
Ipoh is also home to Malaysia's first velodrome, Velodrom Rakyat (The People's Velodrome), costing RM 3.25 million; funds were raised in a country-wide donation drive (led by Tan Sri Darshan Singh Gill). In addition, Ipoh also boasts as one of the first cities in the country that has an Astroturf stadium for hockey, the Azlan Shah Stadium.
For golf, the available courses in Ipoh are the Royal Perak Golf Club off Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah (Tiger Lane), the Meru Golf Club in Jelapang, and Clearwater Sanctuary Golf Club en route to Batu Gajah.
Other sports venues include the Kilat Club in Pasir Pinji, Ipoh Field (Padang Ipoh) in the Old Town, the Polo Grounds, and the Iskandar Polo Club, in Ampang Baru.
The Greentown area near the Ipoh City Council Building is fast becoming an entertainment hotspot. The development Greentown Business Center is giving new life to the city center. The general activities in the new development consists mostly of restaurants, food outlets and cafés.
Medan Ipoh (formerly known as Metro Ipoh Baru) located adjacent to Ipoh Garden East is a favorite for younger people. The residents of the city have dubbed the area as Ipoh's very own 'Bangsar' (akin to the hip Bangsar area in Kuala Lumpur). The place is famous for its cluster of nightspots, cafés, coffee shops (serving local food), entertainment outlets, F&B (food and beverage) joints, and more recently cybercafés.
The recently opened 'Lost World of Tambun' is expected to gain a certain following as Ipoh's own 'Sunway City' (mirroring the actual Sunway City located about 15 km west of Kuala Lumpur). Within the 'Lost World of Tambun' is an upgraded and revived natural hot spring, which was very popular in the 1960s and 1970s.
An effort has been made by the city council to re-establish the night market centrally, at Dato' Tahwil Azar Road, known as the 'Night Lane'. It is a typical Malaysian night market, albeit bigger and with longer operating hours.
Perak is one of the 13 states of Malaysia. It is the second largest state in Peninsular Malaysia bordering Kedah and Yala Province of Thailand to the north, Penang to the northwest, Kelantan and Pahang to the east, Selangor southward and to the west by the Strait of Malacca.
Perak means silver in Malay. The name comes most probably from the silvery colour of tin. In the 1890s, Perak, with the richest alluvial deposits of tin in the world was one of the jewels in the crown of the British Empire. However, some say the name comes from the 'glimmer of fish in the water' that sparkled like silver. The Arab honorific of the State is Darul Ridzuan, the Land of Grace.
Ipoh, the state capital of Perak, is known historically for its tin-mining activities until the drop of tin price, which has severely affected the state economy. The royal capital, however, is set in Kuala Kangsar, where the palace of the Sultan of Perak is located.
Legends tell of a Hindu-Malay kingdom called Gangga Negara in the northwest of Perak. Archaeological discoveries indicate that Perak has been inhabited since prehistoric times.
The modern history of Perak began with the fall of the Malacca Sultanate. The eldest son of the last Sultan of Melaka (Sultan Mahmud Shah), Raja Muzaffar Shah, fleeing the Portuguese conquest of 1511, established his own dynasty on the banks of the Sungai Perak (Perak River) in 1528. As the Perak area was extremely rich in tin, it was under almost continuous threat from outsiders.
The Dutch unsuccessfully attempted to monopolize the tin trade in the 17th century, and built forts at the mouth of the Perak River and on Pulau Pangkor.
Early history of the Dutch arrival in Perak began in 1641, when they captured the Straits of Malacca by taking control of tin-ore and spice trading. The Dutch attempted to monopolise the tin-ore tradings in Perak by influencing Sultan Muzaffar Syah, the Sultan of Perak, but did not succeed. They then turned to Sultanah Tajul Alam Safiatuddin, the Sultan of Aceh, to seek permission to trade in Perak. The event compelled the Sultan of Perak to sign the treaty, allowing the Dutch to build their plant in Kuala Perak on August 15 1650, which caused dissatisfaction among the aristocracy of Perak.
In 1651, Temenggung and the people of Perak attacked and destroyed the Dutch plant. The Dutch were forced to leave their base in Perak.
In 1655, the Dutch sent a representative to Perak to renew the agreement made earlier and to seek compensation for the loss of their plant. Perak however did not honour the treaty and was thus surrounded by the Dutch. In retaliation, the people of Perak with Aceh, Ujung Salang, launched a surprise attack on the Dutch.
In 1670, the Dutch returned to Perak to build Kota Kayu, now known as Kota Belanda ('Dutch Fortress'), on Pangkor Island.
Perak agreed to the construction because of news that the Kingdom of Siam would be attacking the state. Nevertheless, in 1685, once again Perak attacked the Dutch on Pangkor Island and forced them to retreat and shut down their headquarters. The Dutch attempted to negotiate for a new treaty but failed.
In the 18th century, the Bugis, Acehnese, and the Thai all attempted to invade Perak. Only British intervention in 1820 prevented Siam from annexing Perak. Although the British were initially reluctant to establish a colonial presence in Malaya, increasing investment in the tin mines brought a great influx of Chinese immigrants, who formed rival clan groups allied with Malay chiefs and local gangsters, all of whom battled to control the mines. The Perak sultanate, involved in a protracted succession struggle, was unable to maintain order.
In her book The Golden Chersonese and The Way Thither (published 1892 G.P. Putnam's Sons) Victorian traveler and adventuress Isabella Lucy Bird (1831-1904) describes how Raja Muda Abdullah (as he then was) turned to his friend in Singapore, Tan Kim Ching. Tan, together with an English merchant in Singapore drafted a letter to Governor Sir Andrew Clarke which Abdullah signed. The letter expressed Abdullah's desire to place Perak under British protection, and 'to have a man of sufficient abilities to show (him) a good system of government.' In 1874, the Straits Settlements governor Sir Andrew Clarke convened a meeting on Pulau Pangkor, at which Sultan Abdullah was installed on the throne of Perak in preference to his rival, Sultan Ismail. This Pangkor Treaty also required that the sultan accept a British Resident, who would control all administrative issues other than those pertaining to religion or Malay custom. In 1875, various Perak chiefs assassinated the British Resident James W.W. Birch, resulting in the short-lived Perak War of 1876. Sultan Abdullah was exiled to the Seychelles, and the British installed a new ruler. The new resident, Sir Hugh Low, was well versed in the Malay language and customs, and proved to be a more capable administrator. He also introduced the first rubber trees to Malaya.
In 1896, Perak joined Selangor, Negeri Sembilan and Pahang to form the Federated Malay States. However, the British Resident system lasted until Perak became part of the Federation of Malaya in 1948.
Perak gained independence from the British on August 31, 1957 along with 10 other states in the Federation of Malaya. The federation was enlarged to form Malaysia on September 16, 1963 following the admission of Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore. Singapore separated from Malaysia in 1965.
* Kinta- Population: 751,825; Area: 1,958 km².
1. Majlis Bandaraya Ipoh
* Larut, Matang dan Selama (LMS)- Population: 273,321; Area: 2,103 km².
1. Majlis Perbandaran Taiping (administrate central and south-west part of district)
* Hilir Perak- Population: 191,098; Area: 1,727 km².
1. Majlis Perbandaran Teluk Intan (Majlis Daerah Hilir Perak)
* Manjung- Population: 191,004; Area: 1,168 km².
1. Majlis Perbandaran Manjung (Majlis Daerah Manjung)
* Batang Padang- Population:152,137; Area: 2,730 km².
1. Majlis Daerah Tapah
* Kerian- Population: 52,651; Area: 938 km².
1. Majlis Daerah Kerian
* Kuala Kangsar- Population: 154,048; Area: 2,541 km². Perak River Safari, place for camping
1. Majlis Perbandaran Kuala Kangsar (Majlis Daerah Kuala Kangsar)
The town of Lenggong, in Hulu Perak District.
* Hulu Perak- Population: 82,195; Area: 6,558 km².
1. Majlis Daerah Gerik
* Perak Tengah- Population: 82,103; Area: 1,282 km².
1. Majlis Daerah Perak Tengah
These districts eventually are divided into several Mukims or Counties which are more politically significant. The main cities and towns in Perak are:
Perak constitutional crisis
On 28 February 2009, Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak made several statements regarding the constitutional crisis in Perak, in which the speaker of Perak informed the Sultan of Perak that he wishes to call for an Emergency State Assembly. Najib was quoted as saying that speaker could not appoint a special state assembly because he needs to wait for the decision of High Court regarding the 3 Independent members of the Perak State Assembly, and omitted notably the issue of legality of Datuk Dr. Zambry Abdul Kadir being the new Perak MB. However, Najib clearly contradicted the on-going court case which disputed the position of Dr. Zambry as the new Perak MB. Under disputed circumstance, the incumbent, i.e. Nizar Jamaluddin should have remained as the MB while pending the decision from the court.
The State Secretary proceeded to seal the State Assembly building from being used for any Emergency Sitting and the Perak Police Chief installed road blocks to obstruct legally elected state representative from entering the Assembly building, furthermore, issuing stern instructions to arrest anyone who defy the Police.
The crisis deepen further with signs of long-term negative effects on the political, social and economic health of Perak, when the Perak State Assembly dramatically convened an Emergency Assembly on 3 March 2009 under a tree outside the Perak Darul Ridzuan building. The Assembly convened with only the 27 assemblymen from the Patakan Rakyat alliance, after riot police illegally obstructed the access of the assemblymen into the State Assembly building. 3 motions was passed, including one that upheld Assembly Speaker V. Sivakumar's decision to suspend Menteri Besar Datuk Dr. Zambry, nominating Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin to be restored as the Perak MB before the court decision is made, and the dissolution of the State Assembly to pave the way for fresh elections.
Perak's days are warm and sunny, while its nights are cool the whole year through, with occasional rains in the evenings. Temperature is fairly constant, that is, from 23°C to 33°C, with humidity often more than 82.3 percent. Annual rainfall measures at 3,218 mm.
Before recession hit the economies of countries and states world wide, Perak was one of Malaysia's wealthiest. But the 1980s saw the collapse of the tin industry, crippling Perak’s economy. Prices plummeted and once lucrative mines were forced to close.
This, in turn, forced the Perak State Government to make a firm decision to diversify the economy's base towards the more value added, resource-linked manufacturing. The mid-1980s saw a large influx of electronics SMEs from Taiwan to Silibin and Jelapang industrial estates, but by 1990s, they have relocated to lower cost China. A new car manufacturing hub called Proton City at Tanjung Malim has been developed with the establishment of state-of-the-art car manufacturing facilities. The Proton City at Tanjung Malim has become the largest manufacturer of Proton cars (Malaysia's national car maker).
Agriculture is also one of Perak’s main industries, especially those concerning rubber, coconut and palm oil. Tourism is fast catching on as more and more people discover Perak’s hidden gems in the form of natural attractions and cultural sights.
While the economy is growing through the industrial sector, Perak's sound infrastructure and world class facilities of make it an ideal environment for businesses.
Kuala Kangsar, just 48 km north of Ipoh on the Perak River, is the royal town of Perak. It is dominated by three buildings: Istana Iskandariah, Istana Kenangan and the Ubudiah mosque. The Istana Iskandariah, located on a hill overlooking the river, is the palace of the Sultan of Perak. Istana Kenangan, which was constructed as a temporary residence during the Iskandariah's construction is known for its beautiful architecture. The Ubudiah mosque is an impressive structure topped with a constellation of bright golden domes.
Kellie's castle is located in Batu Gajah. It was built in 1915 and was never completed as the owner William Kellie Smith returned to England and died there. Many believe the castle is haunted, having many secret rooms and even a hidden tunnel. Today, it is opened as a tourist attraction.
Accessible from Lumut, the Pangkor Island holds a mix of quaint fishing settlements and white beaches decked with rich vegetation. The warm waters are perfect for swimming and diving while the atmosphere is simply relaxing. Many resorts are available for accommodation on this popular island.
A beautiful white water rafting location in Perak is at My Gopeng Resort ( Gopeng ). Many are here to do white water rafting ( Grade 3 ), waterfall abseiling, rafflesia's flower trekking, jungle trekking and many others adventurous packages in Perak.
Tempoyak is another popular Malay delicacy. It is durian extract which is preserved and kept in an urn. Commonly eaten with chillies and other dishes, it is well known due to the popularity of its key ingredient, durian, among the locals.
Editor for Asisbiz: Matthew Laird Acred
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