The gateway to Ipoh: The front of Medan Gopeng bus terminal guarded by two rusty armoured cars!!
Let me digress a little.
The other day I was in Malacca accompanying the wifey who was attending a course in a hotel in the heart of the Historic City. I have not been to Malacca City centre for quite sometime now, almost eight years actually. The furthest i have been was to the Bayview Hotel and made a turn back to the PLUS Higway. So you can imagine my shock at not being able to reeach the Mahkota Hotel quite easily. I was banking on my memory of the city centre eight years ago. But credit to the city council folks, the sign boards were really helping unlike in other towns like Kota Bharu, Kuala terengganu or even KL where the signboards were put up for those who knew the place rather than for those who did not. The transformation of the city centre, especially around the Dataran Pahlawan and the riverfront was quite amazing. Credit must go to the Malacca goverment for really developing Malacca, well physical development, at least. Even on normal weekdays the place was abuzz with tourism activities.
As I was saying, my wife made a passing remark that set me writing this piece. For the past 19 years we have been going back to Ipoh a few times a year, and the wifey was saying she has not seen much change in Ipoh in that period. She still can breeze through the city centre without much of a thought. After all, what little change that has taken place were mainly in the outskirts like Tambun, Jelapang, and Menglembu. But still the pace of the development was still a lot slower than Malacca. From the days of Ramli Ngah Talib to the days of Tajol Rosli, there is not much happening that I can tell my non Perakians friends with pride. I am still amazed at how the Jln Kuala Kangsar near the Yuk Choy School viaduct took seven years to complete! I cannot imagine why Ipoh cannot clean up the Kinta River and put up a beautiful waterfront like the famous one in Kuching? There was this plan if I am not mistaken, but I did not quite see it happening the last time I went back to Ipoh, which was not too long ago. I cannot see what is the focus of the development for Ipoh (if there is any). It saddened me to see the city which was at one time the cleanest in the country has gone to the dirtiest. Perak is blessed with so much natural resources apart from tin which has been completely plundered by the previous regimes. If Lee Kim Yew can turn that old Sg Besi open cast mine into a credible resort cum shopping area and residence, can’t ipoh city folks (or Perak for that matter) think of something about the many disused mining pools scattered around Chemor, Chepor, Tronoh, tanjong Tualang, Batu Gajah etc. The attempt by Tajol Rosli to turn Jelapang-Meru and its viccinity into IT hub has only turned the place into lifeless desert. Look at what happened to the former Ladang Strathisla area!
Maybe the PKR-DAP-PAS Pakatan do better than the plunderers of Perak before this.
P/s: Tq Ipoh Photo gallery (ipohforum.com.my) for the not so inspiring images of Medan Gopeng