Sunday, February 10, 2008

Up and about in Taiping

Hola! I've been busy since I got back from Taiping. It was straight into the Chinese New Year celebrations. It was the usual, reunion dinner with relatives and first day gathering with relatives.

 

The Taiping trip was good. I'm always pleasantly surprised at the generosity and hospitality shown by locals when ever I go to a strange new place to do a shoot. Taiping was no exception, the people there was nice enough to take us around and show us their wonderful town.

 

It was nostalgic for me as well as I haven't been to Taiping in many years. When I was staying in Bagan Serai, I used to go to Taiping every weekend with my brother for art class. After art class, we would hang out at the supermarket below the Panorama hotel.

 

Not much of Taiping has changed. Just the addition of a few buildings and The Store has taken over the supermarket I used to hang out at. There's a Tesco and a Giant now.

 

The streets of Taiping are all grids so they all run North-South and East-West. Can't really get lost in this town. When the British first planned the town, Taiping was the first modern town in the whole of the Malayan peninsula. The only other large town was the Penang Island. The Brits had a lot of foresight to plan large streets like these. In the background, you can see Maxwell Hill (also known as Bukit Larut).

 

I've seen the old black and white pictures of Taiping. There were a lot more trees then. This picture I took is based on a black and white photo I saw. Amazingly, the streets and the building in the old photo still looks exactly the same as in this photo.

 

Of course back then, it was much easier for the photographer to setup a tripod right in the middle of the crossroad to take this picture. The streets were all packed dirt and horse carriages were the mode of transport. The rest of the of the people walked. You can still explore the whole of Taiping itself on foot. The buildings on the left and right are still the same. The clocktower in the background of the picture is still the same too.

 

This market was where I used to have lunch.

 

I had breakfast at this shop near the market. They had some new Chicken Kuew Teow Soup. Not bad. I liked sitting by the street listening to everyone speak hokkien. Just thinking, that 200 years ago, people were having breakfast exactly the same way.

 

I was looking for a toilet after breakfast and I turned into the Wisma Hasil and suprisingly, The Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri has the cleanest toilet in the whole of Taiping! I'm not kidding, this toilet is spotless clean and the floor is dry and it smells nice too.

 

Even the "New Club" feels old. Back when the Brits started it, it was still new but now it's an 'old' club. I took a closer look at the past presidents board. There's a blank between 1941 and 1945. It makes you wonder what happened too all the club members during World War 2. A blank says a lot.

 

 

 

I managed to stop by and visit the Commonwealth graves. Very somber and well maintained. A lot of young soldiers died defending Malaya during WW2.

 

A lot of the graves did not have names on it, all that was written was "A soldier of The Indian army is honoured here". I think the bodies were probably beyond recognition when they were buried after the war.

 

After Ipoh I stopped over in my hometown, Ipoh to stay the night. I visited my grandmother and relatives there. I also took the time to visit my old primary school, LaSalle primary school.

 

Brought back a lot of memories. I don't remember much but I do remember our teacher used to lead us out to the school field and we'll sit under the trees.

 

Most of my schooling years, it has been at a missionary school. I when to a Methodist Kindergarden in Ipoh, a missionary primary school in Ipoh and a missionary secondary school in Petaling jaya. The only non-missionary school I when too was Chim kindergarden in PJ and Bagan Serai secondary school. Did it make me a better person? Hrmmm... I'll just say it made me what I am today.

 

The best thing I like about Chinese New Year is the easy moving traffic in town. I like visiting the shopping malls during the first few days of CNY. The malls are empty and it's easy to walk around and find parking.

 

I managed to take this panorama picture of Damansara Perdana and Mutiara Damansara from the rooftop parking of One Utama new wing. Who knows, 200 years from now someone will take a look at this photo and wonder how much Petaling Jaya has changed... or how much it looks alike.

 

 

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2 comments:

Cheryl said...

i love that graveyard in taiping. all the white tombstones neatly arranged in a row. something so peaceful and surreal about it. there's one epitath there that was so touching - about the stars in the sky shining down on where a mother's beloved son now lies.

and is that a picture of casual market (or cashier market)? upstairs is a supermarket right? can't remember the name. i love eating there - the taiping chee cheong fun (red/pink sauce variety), taiping char kuay teow and indian mee rebus :P

and the panorama hotel used to be famous for the interesting 'characters' that worked there, hehe.

my parents are from taiping, and so are my cousins. used to go there a lot during school holidays :)

luxen said...

I forgot the name of the supermarket, I used to go there to play video games when I was young in the weekends. The Store has now taken it over and also run a few other "The Stores" around the town in close vicinity.

The red light district area of Taiping is called Jalan Tupai. According to the locals, in the old days there were a lot of prositutes walking on the streets in that area servicing the chinese tin mine workers then.

Now, the area still has those dodgy KTV's but not that many after the police cleaned up most of the place.