Welcome to the PHS blog, or heri.blog, if you like.

What this blog is about.
We are glad to start blogging in 2010 and we look forward to hearing from you. We offer quick response to heritage issues as they appear. We are not confined to Perak. We will highlight any lesson to be learnt about appreciation for our heritage.

What is heritage, and why does it matter?
Our heritage is shared by a multi-cultural people celebrating harmonious diversity. It is both indigenous and imported. It embodies our social history, our glories and our wealth. It gives us our identity. It figures in our daily life and our memories. It is of public interest.

Heritage is not simple. Its scope is vast, and its interpretations often conflicting. It is not easy to define.

In Malaysia, guidelines are set out in the National Heritage Act 2005. Read it and tell us what you think.

History is intrinsic to Heritage. History matters. Heritage counts. Heritage is what you have inherited, what you embrace, what you could live with and what you pass on to the future generations. It is about your pride and your values, your memories and your experiences.

Start thinking about what you value and you will fall naturally into sustainable conservation.

How heritage needs you, and what you can do to help.
Our heritage needs you — individuals, property owners, contractors, developers, architects, business owners, conservationists, you and me! It  takes individual, community and governmental efforts to protect and conserve our heritage.

You can play your part. Sign up as a PHS member or share your concerns for Perak Heritage by entering this blog.

This blog is an information exchange. Be our eyes, ears and legs. Alert us by email perakheritage36@gmail.com if you know of any heritage under-threat near you or anywhere in Perak. Remember, once gone, you can never get it back. So let’s try to prevent any destruction before it is too late.

This is our cyber-network. Let’s heri.blog!

We Care About Our Past!
Together we can make a difference.
Happy Blogging!


By Law Siak Hong
Conference and Workshop: Industrial Heritage at Stake
22nd– 24th October 2015, Sawahlunto, West Sumatra


City Cultural Centre: the conference venue

A confession: before the invitation to speak at the conference, I had never heard of Sawahlunto. So, google I did. I learned quickly that it is in West Sumatra, not far from Padang, and it is already tentatively listed as UNESCO world heritage for its authentic historical urban landscape and the industrial heritage of coal mining. For universal significance, they fall in with Criteria (ii) and (iv). It also boasts a contented community: it has the second lowest poverty rate among cities in Indonesia. The people are steeped in cultural history, homegrown and yet well-adjusted to contemporary sensibilities.


The Wayang Kulit Festival Sawahlunto 2015 was on and we caught some of the action after the evening conference session.

Built not only along hairpin roads hugging the hillside, houses and other buildings also line the river banks. Bridges link the various parcels of land, which are shored up by concrete embankments, engineered to impede erosion. Workers quarters are provided by the mining company and they exist now as kampongs in the city. Most of the historical institutional and commercial buildings, relatively small in size, date from early 20th century. Then, there is the viaduct for rail and road, and the triple silos fed by a conveyor belt riding on a tall, skeletal steel structure. They are huge, yet they melt into the landscape confidently. Get up close and you will realize the power of these industrial structures.


Kota Sawahlunto, bridge over the town’s river


Kota Sawalunto, homes on the slopes


Kota Sawahlunto street scene


Kota Sawahlunto triple silos and conveyor belt structure and vip tent for Wayang Kulit Festival.


Former mayor Pak Amran Nur addressing the conference

Started in 1887, coal mining ceased in 2000. People left and the district went into decline. Along came Mayor Bapak Amran Nur (2003-2013), now Director of Indonesian Heritage Trust. Pondering on his hometown’s fate, he began to restructure its economy and effectively eradicated poverty and improved welfare through healthcare and education. To prevent land degradation, he donated rubber and cocoa seeds, even fertilizer, to the people for cultivation and long term income. Small and exotic museums were set up, indigenous performing arts were developed, and tourist spots were generated. In a few years, he turned this beautiful verdant Minangkabau valley into a tourist destination. Already, tourism contributes one-third of the city’s income. But what is the sustainable number of tourists for this constricted valley? If the UNESCO inscription happens, more hotels and eateries will be needed. How would its cultural identity and that all-important “sense of place” survive under the pressure of tourism development?

With the theme of Industrial Heritage at Stake, Sawahlunto is a choice host for this Pansumnet Gathering. The conference attracted over 70 participants from Pansumnet and speakers from the Netherlands, Malaysia, Bandung and Jakarta (Java), and, of course, Sumatra. Led by our president, Mohd Taib Mohamed, the delegation of seven from the Perak Heritage Society arrived in thick smog, which registered an API of 1000, way above the health hazard level of 150! Despite that, clearly, each of us took home memories and knowledge beyond our expectations.


Group caption: While sessions were held indoor, walking to and fro the hotel and the conference venue took us to the street.

Through this encounter with Sumatra, my understanding of its cultural and industrial heritage made a quantum leap. Deeply rooted in culture, Sumatrans are warm and friendly; smiles are everywhere. In Sawahlunto, even boys and young men cruising by on motorbike would greet me with a respectful “pak”.

Sawahlunto awaits a new designation as world heritage. Go visit soon.


Gathering of heritage lovers.

Postscript: PANSUMNET is the acronym for Pan-Sumatra Network for Heritage Conservation. Our heartfelt thanks to: Sawahlunto Municipality, Pansumnet and Heritage Hands-On, joint organisers of Pansumnet Gathering 2015; the convener, Hasti Tarekat; the deputy mayor of Sawahlunto, and all the participants. A special mention: Pak Asdian of SEMEN PADANG, for his warm hospitality and the privilege of witnessing the SP Journalist Award at Basko Hotel in Padang.


Post conference site visit: in Padang, a special treat awaited. Built by the Dutch in 1905, SEMEN PADANG is the oldest cement plant in Southeast Asia. As technology advanced and plants were built, the old one was abandoned. University groups were invited to study the site and plan adaptive re-use, to turn them into public facilities.

PHS delegation to Sawahlunto


President’s Address at the AGM 2015

Mohd Taib, James Gough and Philip Pu at the AGM

With the formation of the National Heritage Department through National Heritage Act 2005 (Act 645), non-governmental organisations like us seem redundant. The same fate has fallen on Badan Warisan Malaysia, its voice becomes stifled. Yet, PHS and NGOs like us have remained relevant.

Other than the National Heritage Act 2005, there are legislations that cover heritage matters in Malaysia. The Town and Country Planning Act 1976 (Act 172) and Local Government Act 1976 (Act 171) both emphasize heritage preservation. However, along the way, in implementations, they slip up.

In Ipoh, there are 25 buildings/monuments/sites which are gazetted as “state” heritage through the Local Government Act 1976. However, to date, only a handful has been listed as national heritage under the National Heritage Act.

On 8th September 1999, through the Majlis Mesyuarat Kerajaan, that is, state exco meeting (No. 1348), the Perak state government declared Taiping a heritage town. Only a handful of its “33 firsts” have been listed as national heritage under The National Heritage Act 2005, and some of them have fallen to the ground. Recently, when Taiping launched the Taiping Heritage Trail, prominence was given to two electric buses donated by the Japanese government rather than the sites; the buses will provide transport to tourists on the route.

In Karai, the Victoria railway bridge will suffer the same fate of neglect. I have witnessed at least three events organised at the site, yet no effort has been taken to preserve it under The National Heritage Act although officers from National Heritage Department were present at the events.

Last year, PHS was consulted on Ipoh’s heritage by both MBI (Majlis Bandaraya Ipoh) and the Department of Town And Country Planning Malaysia. Sadly, we have not been informed on the outcome.

The old issue of vandalism at the pre-historic rock art at Gunung Panjang, Tambun was exposed by the Malay Mail recently. We have yet to see action by the relevant authorities.

There is a tree preservation order under the Town and Country Planning Act. The National Landscape Department has documented heritage trees under Tree Inventory System (2008-2010). Trees that are more than 30 years old would be preserved, and 1,220 heritage trees in Perak have been listed. As such, the Ipoh tree (near Ipoh Railway Station) is value at RM123,735.60; Pokok Hujan-Hujan along Jalan Seenivasagam Ipoh, 120-years-old, at RM1,301,900.98 and those at Taiping Lake Garden which are 125-years-old have been rated at RM1,068,712.84.

PHS acknowledges the initiative from the private sector, including Town House Museum in Taiping and Han Chin Pet Soo in Ipoh by Ipohworld. I hope that there will be more private initiatives and that the state authorities will give them due recognition.

Lately I have rendered help to two PhD candidates, three Master degree students and one undergraduate on their theses, all of them relate to heritage. I was appointed as “Felo Industries” by Politeknik Sultan Idris Shah in Sabak Bernam, Selangor for 2014-2016.

I would like to thank all members of the PHS community for their support in making PHS relevant to the struggle to preserve our heritage.

Thank you.

Mohd Taib Mohamed gifting tokens of appreciation to Dr Olanweraju Ashola Abdullateef

Mohd Taib Mohamed gifting tokens of appreciation to Sam Tan

Mohd Taib Mohamed gifting tokens of appreciation to Law Siak Hong

Sam Tan delivering his power point presentation


The façade of venue for AGM: Sarang Paloh Event Hall, Jalan Sultan Iskandar (Hugh Low Street), Ipoh.



th May 2015

2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

ang Paloh Event Hall
No. 12 & 14, Jalan Sultan Iskandar
(Hugh Low Street, Old Town),
30000 Ipoh.

Please register
your intent to attend the AGM. For details, see below.


  1. President’s Address
  2. Minutes of the 11th Annual General Meeting
  3. Annual Report
  4. Treasurer’s Report
  5. Proposed review / amendments to PHS Constitution

5.1 Term of Office of office bearers:
The term of office for the post of President will be for 2 terms.

5.2 Voting:
Future voting will be secret ballot as against a show of hands.

  1. Any other matters


  1. “Understanding Heritage” by Sam Tan, UTAR Kampar Campus
  2. “Maintaining Buildings” by Dr Olanrewaju Abdullateef, UTAR Kampar Campus
  3. “Charcoal Industry of Coastal Perak” by Law Siak Hong, PHS Vice President


  • Members may renew their 2015 membership on the day.
  • Only Life and Ordinary Members may vote at the AGM.
  • Non-members may attend the AGM as observers. Why not sign up as member?
  • Light refreshments will be served.

To help us plan the catering, please register your intent to attend the AGM by emailing to perakheritage36@gmail.com or phone Hong: 0175061875.

Thank you.  

Darryl Collins Talk 2014


From Cambodian villages to cities:

Preservation of

traditional Khmer wooden houses

An illustrated talk by 

Darryl Collins

13 July 2014 (Sunday)

8:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Sarang Paloh Event Hall

No.12-14, Jalan Sultan Iskandar (Hugh Low Street),

Ipoh Old Town

Admission by donation:

PHS members RM15

Non-PHS members RM25


Peggy 016-5230711 or

Hong 017-5061875 or


To avoid disappointment, book now!


Perak Heritage Society

Sarang Paloh Event Hall

Summary of talk

This talk explores the development of traditional Khmer wooden architecture in Cambodia from early Angkorian to modern periods. Traditional wooden architecture can be identified from bas-reliefs on stone temples to pagoda and palace wall paintings from the early 20th century. Recently, the Center for Khmer Studies conducted workshops, documented the architecture of wooden houses existing throughout the country and classified domestic architecture by style. Because of changing attitudes & lifestyles, old wooden houses are disappearing. Preserving them by moving and restoring them is one great way of saving the best examples.

Darryl presents a series of photographs which document living with traditional Khmer wooden houses – utilising interior furnishings and adopting environmental spaces for contemporary living.

The length of the presentation will be about 60 minutes.

About Darryl Collins 


With a background in the Arts of Asia, Darryl Collins studied at Sophia University, Tokyo (1978-1981). Later, he spent two years travelling as a curator for The Shogun Age Exhibition from the Tokugawa Art Museum, Nagoya (1983-1985). He gained his Master of Arts in art history at the Australian National University in Canberra in 1993. He first journeyed to Cambodia in 1994 with a team from the National Gallery of Australia, to work with an Australian Government funded project at the National Museum of Cambodia in Phnom Penh. He co-authored Building Cambodia: ‘New Khmer Architecture’ 1953-1970, published in 2006 and for some five years lectured at the Department of Archaeology, Royal University of Fine Arts, Phnom Penh, and completed in mid-2004 a 1-year consultancy with the Department of Culture and Research, the APSARA Authority, Siem Reap. In 2004, Darryl began part time work at the National Museum in Phnom Penh as manager for the 9 year Collection Inventory Project. He registered works of art and transferred early French records of the museum onto a purpose-designed database.

Darryl resides in Siem Reap and spends his spare time writing and researching art, architectural and cultural topics.



e-flyer for Perak Stamp Fair & Exhibition

Stamp Fair v2

Taiping’s Old House Museum

Text and photographs: Law Siak Hong

The Old House Museum in Taiping is intriguing, to say the least.

It has not been that long since the former owner passed away and the building sold. But in that short time, antiques and curios dealer, Mr Tan Kok Siew, the curator of Old House Museum, has managed to turn it into an Aladdin’s cave. The large townhouse is filled with his impressive collection, comprising furniture, kitchen utensils and wares, period paraphernalia, household items, and some rare historical prints and artifacts.

Shining silver trophies from a sporting life; a vintage lantern with decorative etched glass.

There are plenty for everyone to like and admire. In the rooms, the displays go by theme. The passages are not spared; interesting framed and flat items are judiciously grouped and arranged. It reminds me of The Time Tunnel in Kea Farm, Cameron Highlands – this is another must-see.

Portraits from the family album; old, decorated glass oil lamps with hood illuminated by a spotlight.
Colourful tiffin carriers in the kitchen; back windows of the house looking out to the stable below.
This passage way is a gallery of pop icons and movie stars as well as photographs of 1950s and 1960s.

It is commendable that Tan has left the house as found but had it cleaned from corner to corner. Pulling him aside, I suggested that he should investigate the heritage of the house and tell the story of the generations who lived there. It would be quite a riveting story, a part of the tapestry of Taiping’s social history.

Lim “Ji You” built the house, probably the first three-storey townhouse in Taiping; historical items hang in the passage way.
Out of bounds to visitors, the jaw-dropping wooden spiral staircase can only be admired.
Freshly-painted brick column and the original terracotta floor.
Wouldn’t it be better if the hall is fitted out as original as possible to tell the story of the Lim family?
A welcome speech during the briefing session.
Go admire the beautifully preserved screen behind Sharon Chan and Tan Kok Siew.

Organised by Sharon Chan for the Taiping Heritage Society, the group visit attracted over 30 members and their family, who were taking photographs with great enthusiasm, posing with the myriad of artifacts on display and sharing memories evoked by the place and its display. When all’s done, we were treated to an afternoon snack of delectable nyonya kueh, provided by the Taiping Heritage Society.

By the dining table is an ornate ancestral altar which faces the main road, Jalan Kota.

Ever the hospitable smiling host, Tan must be congratulated for a job well done.

Located at 2A, Market Square, the Old House Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Entrance fee is RM5 per person. For further information, phone 019-5513058 or email tpgkapitan@yahoo.com.

A New PHS Committee is Born

Photos by Law Siak Hong and James Gough

The spacious hall – setting the mood for smooth proceedings at the Annual General Meeting

The 11th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Perak Heritage Society (PHS) went smoothly and the new committee for 2014-2015 duly elected. For those who missed it, here’s a summary, and some photographs of the proceedings.

As members and guests arrived, the atmosphere of anticipation was palpable. The AGM got underway soon after the appointed time. Because of the lack of quorum, the meeting was adjourned and, accordingly, reconvened half-an-hour later.

James, Phillip and Mohd Taib – duties at the registration table

Browsing at the table books produced by the Department of Town and Country Planning

In his address, out-going president, Mohd Taib bin Mohamed expressed pride in PHS winning the state Tourism Award. But it was Advocacy, the keynote of his address which resonated.

“… Advocacy is an eight-letter word. It is disheartening that it is not only the community and government who lack understanding of heritage but we, members of PHS sometimes overlook the tenet of heritage. As such the new PHS committee will need to look seriously at heritage advocacy… For three years I have attended the state’s pre-budget dialogue sessions. Proposals for the state to provide incentive for heritage building owners and to create fund for heritage conservation works and research into our heritage had all fallen on deaf ears.”

Left: Mohd Taib delivering committee report. Right: Votes counted.

Sook Mei taking count of votes during the election of committee members

After both the management report and the financial report were adopted, the old committee stood down. The election followed. Out of twelve nominees, eleven were voted in, while the remaining was designated Honorary Auditor. Immediately after the AGM was adjourned, the new committee met briefly to appoint the office bearers. By consensus, status quo was maintained. For the names of the office bearers and committee members, see Information at the end of this summary.

As the hanging of the exhibition at Sepaloh Art Centre was still in progress, the preview had to be cancelled. We could not risk taking the heritage walk while rain threatened to fall. We wish for understanding if there was any disappointment.

As we were preparing to leave, Liz Cardosa of Badan Warisan Malaysia walked into the hall, having come straight from a meeting in KL. She might be late but her effort said much for her support for PHS.

A final word about the venue for our AGM: Sarang Paloh Event Hall is housed in the historic Bank of Malaya, built in 1920. The spacious hall was well presented for the AGM and, somehow, the sandwiches and cup cakes matched the feel of the place.


Attendance: 23 members & 7 guests/observers:
Life members = 6
Ordinary members = 16
Associate member = 1

Committee office bearers and members (2014-2015):

President: Mohd Taib bin Mohamed

Vice President: Law Siak Hong

Honorary Secretary: James Gough

Honorary Treasurer: Phillip Pu Yoke Loong

Committee Members:

Charlie Choong (new)
Peggy Lim (new)
Mohd JakiMamat
Jayakumary ap Marimuthu (new)
Gurmail Singh
Tajuddin bin Tahir
Sam Tan Seong Yeow (new)

Honorary Auditor:
Iris Cheng

Perak Heritage Society

Persatuan Warisan Perak
(Reg. No. 1254) was registered with the Registrar of Societies in August, 2003.

Office and Postal Address:
85C, Jalan Sultan Abdul Jalil,
30300 IPOH, Perak, Malaysia.
(opposite the Syuen Hotel)

Fax: 05-253 5507

Website: https://perakheritage.wordpress.com

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 108 other followers

Perak Map



All data and information provided on this blog site is solely for informational purposes.

PHS makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, topicality or validity of any information found here and will not be liable for any error, omission or delay in posting this information, or any loss, injury, or damage arising from its use or display.

All information is provided as-is. We reserve the right to review and reject any comment deemed unsuitable for general public reading.


© 2010 Perak Heritage Society
All articles and images featured are the property of the Perak Heritage Society, except where noted.

Please acknowledge and credit PHS for any material taken from our blog.

For commercial applications: To copy, download or use any text or image file, you will need our permission. Contact us before you take them.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 108 other followers