When Bricks Came Tumbling Down

Text and photos by Lau Sook Mei

Debris from No. 5

Yesterday morning Hong received an alert that part of a shophouse front on Panglima Lane had collapsed. Oh dear, another one?

Pieces of bricks and tiles.

We saw a small pile of broken bricks and tiles on the ground. They came from the roof of No.5, next door to Restoran Wong Koh Kee. We were told that they came tumbling down at around 9.30am yesterday. Fortunately no one was walking on the lane.

Panglima Lane

One of the shophouses here.

Situated parallel in between Market Street and Jalan Panglima, Panglima Lane or Lorong Panglima is one of the more picturesque lanes in Ipoh’s Old Town. More popularly known as Second Concubines’ Lane it is narrow and pedestrian-friendly, a favourite haunt among shutter-bugs and artists from far and near. This was once a notorious place associated with wild, raunchy tales of happenings behind the walls of opium dens, gaming houses and brothels. It was said that wealthy tin towkays kept their mistresses here, hence its name. Perhaps it was just an excuse to visit the opium dens.

A touch of nostalgia.

Today in the shadows of the buildings on the lane you sense serenity and a quietness not found on the streets of Ipoh. Most of the shophouses here are uninhabited; some are dilapidated, some have collapsed.

On a good day do not be surprised to see clothes hung across the buildings.

There were talks and plans by the State Government to spruce up Panglima Lane to turn it into a tourism spot under the Ipoh Draft Local Plan 2020. But is this proposal in the best interest to the dwellers, the shop owners and the residents of Ipoh?

There is life and beauty still in Panglima Lane.


10 Responses to “When Bricks Came Tumbling Down”

  1. 1 Ruth Iversen Rollitt December 29, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    I went down this lane for the very first time ever when Hong took me there to delve in nostalgia last year. As a child of Ipoh I had never even heard of its existence! It was so sad to see how uncared for it was. And now it is really falling apart. It is criminal to let this happen. What will tourists want to visit Ipoh for if nothing is done to save the heritage? Wake up Ipoh, preserve the riches that are there.

    • 2 perakheritage January 14, 2011 at 12:47 am

      Dear Ruth, received the latest news that two shops have been targeted to be demolished soon, No. 5 included. What a crying shame that until now there’s no forthcoming assistance in monetary form or whatsoever from the authorities to preserve Panglima Lane despite the initial hoo-hah. We certainly hope that Ipoh will wake up now or when it does one day, all is gone.

  2. 3 thriftytraveller January 13, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    I am very impressed by your blogsite. Inspired by your articles on Ipoh’s disappearing heritage, I took a trip to Ipoh last Saturday and have written two posts on my blog http://thriftytraveller.wordpress.com/
    I hope you can find the time to take a look at my articles on Ipoh’s Heritage Walk.
    Best Regards

    David May

  3. 4 perakheritage January 14, 2011 at 12:32 am

    Thank you, David, for your compliments as well as the link to your blog. It is indeed a sad thing that many lovely old buildings in Ipoh with immense heritage and tourism potential have been left to rot. We certainly hope that things will brighten up in future. You’ve done a great job promoting Ipoh and other places in your blog. Keep it up and all the best!

  4. 5 Ruth Iversen Rollitt January 14, 2011 at 1:49 am


    Your Thrifty Traveller is wonderful and made me feel very homesick! I have forwarded your webite address to other ‘children of Ipoh from the good old days! Thank you!

  5. 6 thriftytraveller January 14, 2011 at 8:20 pm


    Thank you so much for your kind comments.

    I ‘googled’ your name and was delighted to be able to read about your fascinating life history and the work of your father.
    Best wishes.

  6. 7 PY September 10, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    City Hall & tourism board should work together with the owners, as to preserve these heritage. Allocation of funds to help KICK-START the repairs ASAP……. some might not have the $$$ to maintain these sick buildings and their options are to demolish or let it fall…… and down goes all these &100years antique.!!!

  7. 8 Papan Jones October 4, 2011 at 10:57 pm

    Early in September, two more buildings tumbled, bringing down partially a third. This incident kick-started consultations between owners and the authorities, with the participation of the PHS.

    Today, two conservationists-architects from Singapore and KL came to check out the site. The chair of the ad hoc committee of owners for the rehabilitation of Panglima Lane was invited to hear their assessment and suggestions on prioritising the works: in the short term, safety measures by shoring buildings under threat and in the long term, durable and sustainable conservation work for all the buildings in the lane to preserve the ambience which has attracted visitors.

    We live in hope that something good will come out of this. Destruction due to neglect and settlement of the street must stop. We hope that the efforts by the owners of the shophouses in Panglima Lane will spearhead a trend for community conservation efforts.

  1. 1 Immortalizing Panglima Lane « Perak Heritage Society Trackback on February 2, 2011 at 1:12 pm
  2. 2 Advancing Panglima Lane « Perak Heritage Society Trackback on October 14, 2011 at 12:23 pm

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Perak Heritage Society

Persatuan Warisan Perak
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