My late grandmother came from a small village called Ketior in Kuala kangsar. I remember back in the 60s and early 70s, we had to take the Wai Thong red and blue bus from Kuala Kangsar (KK) to Manong, passing through a tiny town called Jerlun. We got down from the bus after Jerlun and walked a few kilometres to Ketior.
My daughter was recently posted to KK and I had to sort out her accommodation and helped her to settle down in that royal town. The last time I was in KK was in May this year for the Teachers Day celebration. But the visit was so hectic and intense I hardly had any chance to explore the town and its vicinities. So when the Deepavali break came along I took the opportunity to stay in KK for a couple of days. I decided to take the long route back to KL passing through vilages and towns that I have not heard for a long time. We passed through places like Jerlun, Lempor, Ketior, Ara Panjang, Jeliang, Ulu Kenas, Kuala Kenas, Manong, Semat, and Blanja. When I was young, my mother always told me about aunties and uncles who lives in these places. Most of them had long gone and I do not think their children know us. I definitely don’t. It was areal pity. We lost a generation of relatives. I wonder if anybody out there from these places, who are relatives and descendants of Megat Aminollah or Puteri Bee would come forward and reconnect.
Anyway, that aside, the journey took us past Blanja, passing through the new Jambatan Nordin to Parit. I was relating the story to my wife, how jambatan Nordin would invariably closed to traffic for days on end in November and December due to flooding. I saw the pillar of the old bridge still standing. The journey was a real breeze with hardly any traffic. My wife was commenting on the number of abandonned traditional old houses with diagonal wooden walls and ornate verandah – it was quite astounding. These are the Perak heritage worth preserving. We took a coffee stop in Teluk Intan. There is this traffic light at the junction of Kampong Gajah, Telok Intan and Changkat Jong. It was at this traffic light in 1996 that my old 230E’s piston cracked and had to be towed to workshop. We were on our way to Pangkor and we had to take a taxi to Lumut. Imagine me, the wife and five young kids and our luggage standing by the roadside waiting for the AAM people to come. I end up making friend with the one Ah Yan who repaired the jalopy, despite a hefty charge for the repair, he was such a pleasant man, I keep coming back to him every time i need to service the car.
We also took time to look at the leaning tower of Telok Anson. Now I know that Mr Anson was a governor in Penang, I wonder what was he doing in Telok Mak Intan in the old days?
It was such a pleasant journey, we only reached KL around 8.30pm, almost six hours after we left KK. I am glad that I took the long and slow journey as I had the chance to discover Perak which I have not done for a long time. To be fair to my wife, I never really shown her this side of Perak before – thanks or no thanks to the PLUS highway. 2012, being a Visit Perak Year, I wonder how successful is it. I believe Perak should be more aggressive in promoting its attractions. Next time if I had the chance I want to explore the north east of Perak with places like Selama, Batu Kurau, Kuala Kurau, and Parit Buntar.