Last weekend I was back in Ipoh. Well, I have not been to the real Ipoh for quite a while now. Normally I would have just turn off at the Ipoh Selatan exit proceed to Tasik turn off and headed straight to Chemor or at best Kg Tawas in Tasek where our BTPN is situated. Ipoh city itself is rather smallish without much attraction. Well, that was what I thought until I checked in at the Riverfront. The hotel cum apartment is built next to the Kinta river. The developer somehow have done a tremendous job in building a tin mine museum, still under construction, I believe, put up some colourful lights, built bridges, built riverside makan stall ( it has a RM8 per scoop Haagen Daaz ice cream stall), and provide a river front walk. The ingredients for a successful and happening place are all there, but somehow it doesn’t quite happen. It was a Saturday night and the place was not really on fire. Only a handful of Chinese tourists and some curious local folks like me and my kids.
What was wrong. For a start, the river is still murky, strewn with floatillas, and yes, smells like a sewer. The smell was so pervasive in this hot weather, when we arrived my daughter was asking me who in the right frame of mind would build a hotel in front of a drain! and why did I chose a hotel in front of a sewer. I was telling her it is not a drain, it is the famous Kinta River. I was still expecting a Kinta River like it was in the 70s. Pristine, fast flowing and teeming with riverine lives. While I do salute the effort by the developer to make up the place, but the state Government or the Ipoh City Council should clean up the river. They should learn from Malacca where the river cruise along the Kampong Morten is a splendid scuccess. Perak, from my experience is good at building tourists spots but very poor at maintaining them. Soon after the pompous launch, the place would start to rot and no sooner it will be fogotten. Kompleks Sejarah Pasir Salak is a good case in point, so are Pesisiran Sayong and Tasik Raban. It is a real pity. Perak has a lot to offer. No wonder my wife was saying in the 20 odd years she has been coming to Ipoh, she hardly notice any change, except recently in the Meru area. Oh my Ipoh. Come on Dr Zambry, surely you can do better than Tajul Rosli or Ramli Ngah Talib.