Sunday, August 23, 2015

Ipoh Trip

Had a fantastic weekend in Ipoh.

It was supposed to be a farewell-cum-gathering after 5 years of graduation. Another impromptu outing to match the current situation.
My last trip to Ipoh must have been like 8 years ago, and boy it hasn’t changed much. Besides the hot weather and big bright sun, which I don’t remember, it’s basically almost similar.
The weekend was about good food and history of the Malayan People's Anti-Japanese Army

Left Nilai to pick up Kel at around 7.30am yesterday, and reached BH’s place by 9am. Together with MP, 4 of us head up north. Before this, I had been contemplating a backpack/food hunting trip in Perak.
Our first stop was Pusing, a small laid back town for some local cuisine.

Ming Feong 鸣凤
Then we turned around the corner into Papan. Here lie the house/clinic of Dr. AC Kathigasu and Mrs. Sybil Kathigasu at 74, Papan Main Street. Excellent and selfless doctors, who would secretly provide medical assistance to the locals and resistance fighters during the Japanese Occupation (WW2), mostly during night time, for free. Being one of the few and most famous medical practitioners in Kinta Valley, Mrs. Kathigasu was especially kind and helpful to the locals, and were able to secretly owned a radio tuned to the BBC from this house, where vital information were passed on. Frequent night visits by strangers to the clinic seeking for help, ranging from malaria and bullet/gunshot wounds became an open secret. 

Was a little disappointed - Unable to go in
Book a time with Mr. Hong for admission
After the Japs found out the good work, and Mrs. Kathigasu was locked in various prisons, mainly Taiping and Batu Gajah. She was pumped with water, whipped, burnt, got her nails pierced. But she maintained she didn't know anything. In November 1943, Japanese war criminal Yoshimura (kempeitai / military police) tied her seven-year-old daughter to a rambutan tree infested with red ants and lit fire below her legs in order to force Mrs Kathigasu to disclose the whereabouts of Malayan People's Anti-Japanese Army in Papan, and also the number of British soldiers and Gurkhas in Malaya. At the most critical moment, her daughter somehow summoned enough courage, shouted and plead to place everything on faith, until a high-ranking Jap stopped the mess. When WWII ended, she was rescued from prison, in pain and semi-paralyzed with her spine badly injured, which caused prolonged pain.

If it wasn't for religion, how could she survive such ordeal?

Mrs. Kathigasu passed away on 4 June 1949. A road in Ipoh is named after Sybil Karthigasu, in memory of the great matyr's contribution during the war. The upcoming National Day on 31st Aug reminds all of us the struggle, hardships and bloodshed that happened in this country.
Nowadays, everyone is lucky, and maybe slightly too comfortable. How many of us young Malaysians still know who our heroes were? How many of us know the unsung heroes, forgotten history, and events not documented and publicized by the mainstream education and media?
I strongly believe that those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.
We then had lots of good Ipoh food. I particularly like the 杂果冰 and 雪花啤
At some cave near Simpang Pulai
Saturday night supper
 Fantastic egg tarts

Left Ipoh at around 3 just now after a quick nap. Reached PJ by 6, and Nilai at 7.

As I drove all the way from SS2 – UM – Federal Highway – MEX – Putrajaya – Dengkil – Nilai, I reminisced the journeys, whether rain or shine, day or night I took.

The Dengkil T-junction - the only place that jams up
I started missing Ipoh and my whacky bunch of friends upon reaching Nilai. Meeting up with you folks feels like going back to undergrad days. But the truth is, it’s been 5 years away from UNITEN.
I am blessed to have met you guys.
It’s also been a decade since I left home.
It’s the right time to return to where I came from.
It’s time for me to perform and achieve. 

Had a fair share of near-misses and would've beens in my life thus far