It was a great deals when our father brought us along to Ipoh to visit our eldest brother who studied at one of the premier schools in the town. The town that blessed with so many attractions - the historical places, fascinating gardens, the varieties of foods. The limestone hills scattered around the area even make the scenary looks cool and refreshing. Whenever we visited there, I cant help myself from picturing my father buys a house somewhere around Ipoh, if it is not a big one but enough for me to enjoy the whole good things everyday.
After a long preach and some advice for my brother, my father would drive us to the heart of the town where we dined at Taman Kanak-Kanak with Leen Chee Kang and Satay Endut being our favourites. Across the road, The Angel Superstore once stood and being a place for wealthy people to shop in for quite sometimes before it was closed many years after an incident of a soldier ran amok and killed a soul. Now the building was taken over by Kamdar Superstore and the glory of the Angel's businesses remained as history.
Atuk once said that Ipoh long ago was opened and resided by my ancestor and half of the land properties in Ipoh were indeed belong to his great-grandfather. But due to the predicament in documentation matters that werent give my ancestor a right to beholding the properties, all the land fall to his competitors especially to chinese traders and British company who control the tin-mining activities through out Kinta Valley area. Regretted by the injustices that had been done to him and the poor level of struggling, my ancestor threw himself into the jungle area along The Great Perak River and settled down at our now kampung. To us, his story was hardly to presume anyway with neither evident nor any kampung-folks who had the idea about the true story are still around. Usually, we pretended to believe the story in front of him and laughed it as if it was a crazy joke without his knowledge.
In 1987, I was enrolled into a federal school in Ipoh under the sponsorship of the education department. During the first and second weeks, it seemed like an amusement to me but I grew homesick weeks after that. I missed my mom cooking especially when I had to digest meckerel (ikan jacket) as regular menu of the hostel. I voiced out my irks to my father over the phone or letters but he never bought. I felt so down and I prayed in every single hours and minutes that someday I can go back to my grandfather's side and live with him. The only remedy for my displease was the outing on Saturday daylight and in condition, we must get ourselves into the hostel before 6p.m.
It fells like freedom the moment I stepped into bus and I found myself at cinema, food-stall, mosque and library. For me, Ipoh offers me with so many things to rejuvenate and the activities that enable me to unload my problems. With least hectic traffic, I can easily dropped by to pamelo stall owned by Uncle Wai, who my father knew very well near Sam Poh Thong.
After graduated, I attached to a brokerage firm in town. The livelihood seemed so reasonable. The only thing that I bothered was my salary. It didnt competitive and the figure that I received every month was much smaller than my friend earned in KL.
There was someday I dumped into an old nyonya in a cab who was also heading toward the same point as I was. She asked my age and my occupation. She interogated me as if she was a police inspector. When I said that I intended to stay longer in Ipoh, she disapproved. "Haiya, young man. You are not so ambitious la...Ipoh is just a good place for retirement. For you young man, KL would be the best place to gather experience, more challenging yet offers you rooms to get extra income, maa...Haiya you go there laa..".
The old nyonya's words enchanted me and and 1996 I made my way to Kuala Lumpur and visited Ipoh if only I have a spacious spare time to accompany my mom or my wife to buy curtain clothes at Pekan Lama or when I had to indulge my wife's appetite for McDonald.
Ipoh still remains as a small city with a momentarily jiffy I shared with her. Whenever I am driving along the roads it reminisces me to the excitement I felt when my father first brought me there.