Death Knell for Gopeng Pipelines

Text by Law Siak Hong
Photos by Lau Sook Mei

Pride and landmark of Gopeng: the pipelines.

Tuesday, 20 July, 2010: “Gopeng pipeline demolition at midnight”, thumped the SMS.

My reaction: oh no, these people are going back on their words – the authorities were unanimous in wanting to keep this landmark for Gopeng. Why this now?

Meanwhile, Rita, a friend in Papan had just requested a visit to Sybil’s Clinic with her friends from overseas. Before I shot off to Papan, I managed to write and email an appeal letter to Liz Cardosa, the Executive Director of Badan Warisan Malaysia (National Heritage Trust), CC to PHS Committee Members and other people who ought to know of the impending doom. I also SMSed a host of Ipoh and Gopeng contacts to try to boost a protest group at the site before midnight.

Concrete bridge supporting one pipe.

After the visitors had left Sybil’s Clinic, I composed myself and tried to visualize what might happen in Gopeng. I was bent on being there. I charged up my phone and the battery of my camera. I had a bottle of Stout for comfort.

The sky had darkened. Rain was approaching. It drizzled soon after I started driving to Gopeng. As I approached Gopeng, the limestone hills stood like sentinels, spread out on the horizon. In the background, the Main Range was morphed by low-hanging clouds. At the site, prayer piped from the mosque. By the morning prayer, the pipes of Gopeng would be gone, I thought with sadness.

Steel trestlework supporting the other pipe.

The President of PHS, Mohd Taib remained close to the situation. It was raining in Ipoh, he said. It was drizzling in Gopeng. Maybe the work will be called off, he opined. Nonetheless, he joined me at the mamak café closest to the pipes. There we could watch the traffic on the main trunk road to know if the road has been blocked for the demolition work. While waiting, we talked about heritage matters over cups of hot drinks. The drizzle never ceased. Nothing happened. Some time after midnight, we decided to take one more peep at the pipes before we said goodnight.

Wednesday afternoon, 21 July, 2010, post lunch, another SMS came to inform that the pipes were being dismantled.

(For more information on the historical pipelines, please visit


3 Responses to “Death Knell for Gopeng Pipelines”

  1. 1 Lynn Lees August 3, 2010 at 4:21 am

    Penny wise, pound foolish, perhaps? History comes alive when local people can see, touch, and walk through the places that have shaped their lives. Unique pieces of heritage deserve protection, not demolition. Towns all over the world have found that open-air museums of industrial sites attract tourists, school children, and local residents in order to find out how people worked and lived in the past. Perak District Offices should help Gopeng move in this direction, rather than removing important relics of past times.

    • 2 perakheritage August 8, 2010 at 12:11 am

      Thank you for the comments, Prof. How true. I remember when I was a kid, whenever we went for a holiday down south, as we approached Gopeng, Dad never failed to remind my brother and I to look out for the pipelines. This is Gopeng, he would say. I was thrilled passing underneath the pipes and right after I would look back till the pipes disappeared from view. To a little kid, I thought the pipes were gigantic. But now, like many of us, I shall miss that awesome sight that had been a part of my growing up years for a long, long time. For now, let’s see what the state government would do with what remains of the pipelines.

  1. 1 A New Landmark for Gopeng? « Perak Heritage Society Trackback on August 2, 2010 at 1:49 am

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Perak Heritage Society

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