Thursday, March 9, 2017

Beautiful Lubok Timah

The signage of "Lubok Timah' against a backdrop of a scarred landscape belie a different picture.
Set amidst the scarred landscape of the quarries that is characteristic of Simpang Pulai is the tranquil oasis cum picnic ground that is Lubuk Timah. 

The signboard of Lubuk Timah against the backdrop of a hill that is being slowly leveled belies the beauty of this picnic ground in which a clear river runs through and which has a natural hot-spring together.


A bridge connects both sides of the river. 
When I visited this place in 2012 its attraction was just the river and hot-springs.

Earlier in 2012 the location was very basic.......

....the natural hot-spring was built around a cement enclosure next to the river.
The natural hot-spring was built around a cemented enclosure at the side of the river segregating it from the refreshing river water.

...the same hot-spring but upgraded.
The cemented hot-spring has been tiled making the experience more pleasant.

A 1Km distance away is a dam across the river. The access to the dam which used to be accessible by foot now has a tarred road that goes round the park.



The 'Dam' set in a tranquil setting
 Lubok Timah is a far cry from before. Now it has camping facilities, toilets, ample parking, picnic tables and even ponies for riding. 



It certainly is a far cry from when I last visited it and is very pleasant indeed.


Lubok Timah is an ideal getaway on a hot afternoon.
 Ipoh has so many scenic spots like these it’s a pity it is not promoted for one and all to enjoy.

JAG

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Quarried Landscapes


The hills of Simpang Pulai, awaiting a time when it all gone.



The hills of Simpang Pulai, Ipoh as seen from the North South highway

Simpang Pulai just outside Ipoh is a beautiful place even with is karst landscapes of carved out mountains and lime ponds saturated that it turned green.



The dominant  industry here for the last 50 years has been quarrying the vast amount of limestone hills here extracted initially for roads, cement  and the construction industry.





Now it is quarried more for its calcium carbonate powder or CCP used in a wide variety of industries.


The Kinta Valley limestone consists largely of calcite which is white in colour. Even though it is tinged with a touch of grey it has no effect on demand.

White limestone is used in a wide range of industries such as to whiten paper, in plastics as a filler and a multitude of other uses which include latex gloves, skin whitening and toothpaste.

The whole of the Kinta Valley is underlain with limestone present in the form of hills above ground and under the ground stretching from Kampar to Tanjung Tualang in the south, Chemor and Kanthan to the north and Simpang Pulai to the east.

The early limestone quarry owners 30 years ago applied for a portion of a hill. Sometimes a hill would be owned by three quarries.





The owners would carry out blasting on their side of the hill. When they had exhausted the lease they would leave a boundary between them scarring the landscape leaving the ‘scars’ behind.

Multi-national now practice top-down quarry operations until a time there is no hill left.
In recent years the interest of multi-national companies in Simpang Pulai saw the introduction of top down quarry operations. This was possible by their purchase of the entire hill but which will see the loss of the entire HILL…eventually.

A scarred hill left behind.
Then we shall witness a new landscape …..BARRENESS….. Time will tell.



JAG

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

All Souls Day 2016@St Michaels Church, Ipoh.

All Souls Day 2016 at St Michaels Church cemetery.




The weather was warm but the sky was cloudy with clear blue skies on All Souls Day 2016.

The cemetery at St Michaels Church had been tidied up and was covered with white marble chips, 
St Michael's Church. My parents are interred at the church cemetery.
White marble chips amidst a tidy setting make for a pretty picture.

Amidst the backdrop of crosses and a blue sky the cemetery looked a pretty picture.

Cemeteries are places we go to visit our loved ones but with age we tend to meet with old family friends seen only occasionally.

I was there to say a prayer at my parents grave and those i knew that were interred there.
The grave of Sybil Kathigasu at the cemetery. 

I stopped by the grave of Sybil Kathigasu, the heroine Eurasian nurse of Papan who was tortured by the Japanese during the 2nd World War and awarded the George Medal for bravery.

I similarly stopped by the grave of Datuk Brother Vincent Corkery, the former Director of St Michaels Institution (SMI) who passed away in March this year.
The graves of Fr Anthony Chong and Brother Vincent Corkery (right pix) Former SMI Teacher Clement Vythilingam at the grave of Bro Vincent.  

Bro Vincent appeared to have a good number of visitors and this included former SMI teacher Clement Vythilingam.

Interestingly Bro Vincent lies next to Fr Anthony Chong a former priest with St Michael’s Church.

 Also at the cemetery paying his respects to his parents. was Martin Jalleh, a religious yet political commentator who posts regularly on his Facebook page,
 
Martin Jalleh offering flowers for his parents. 



A lovely morning of fond memories.  


JAG 

Saturday, October 29, 2016

St Joseph’s Hall: Reflecting the Growing Catholic Community at St Mary’s Chapel

A grand opening for St Josephs Hall 



















The official opening of St Joseph’s Hall at St Mary’s Chapel, recently marked another milestone in the growth of the chapel.

The hall which is linked to the Chapel was officiated by Vice Provincial of OMPH Church Rev Fr Eugene Fernandez CssR after the 10am Sunday mass on October 9th 2016.

Rev Fr Eugene Fernandez officiated at the opening of St Josephs hall.
St Mary's Chapel with St Joseph's Hall on the left. At the hilllock behind is 

...the Grotto at St Mary's 

 In his homily Fr Eugene said that the opening of St Joseph’s Hall was a testimony of the faith of the catholic community at Tg Rambutan.

“St Joseph’s Hall is a reflection of a community that is walking with Jesus and a show of their strong faith throughout the years” said Fr Eugene.
Clockwise. The chapel built by three local youth in 1979 and subsequently enlarged during the time of Fr David Anthony.
..after which activities such as mass, baptism's and wedding was held there.
Indeed the Catholic community at the 8th milestone, Kg Tersusun, Ulu Kinta has grown from a community of five families in the 60’s it now boasts of having over 100 families, a chapel and hall and a grotto atop the adjoining hill.

A slide presentation of the history about the community stated that during the 60’s and 70’s the community was served by the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, 16 Km away.

The community initially held their Mass at the nearby Methodist School. It was not until 1979 that three local youth from within the community built the chapel at the present location.

The community subsequently enlarged the chapel during the period with Fr David Anthony after which various activities such as mass, feast day, baptism and weddings was held. 

The chapel then was built on government land. In 1987 their application for the land was approved.
The chapel received approval for the land in 1987 and the current St Mary's Chapel was blessed in 1992
The Catholic community at St Mary's. From 5 initially to well over 100 families now.

 It was not until 1992, with a grant of RM70,000 from the Penang Diocesan Fund and together with donations from the parishioners, the present chapel was built and officially blessed and opened by Bishop Antony Selvanayagam.

According to Peter James, Chairman of St Mary’s Project and Upgrading Committee, the project to build a hall was mooted since 2007.

“The initial plan was to have an open hall which was completed in 2010.

“However as there was bouts of theft and vandalism by monkeys from the adjoining hill despite having iron grilles the committee decided to build a closed hall”

A fundraising was started in 2013 and resulted with the opening of St Josephs Hall.

The mass and opening ceremony saw an attendance of over 350 who also attended the lunch. While St Joseph’s hall accommodated over 200 diners the rest spilled over to the tents outside.
St Mary's Chapel 2016 a far cry from 1979, thirty seven years ago.
The Offertory on October 9, building materials, sweets and a souvenir.

The morning mass was held smoothly amidst a melodic choir and a responsive congregation.
A view of St Mary's from the top of the Grotto. 
A full house luncheon at St Joseph's Hall paying attention and ....
...listening to Rev Fr Eugene Fernandez, Project Chairperson Peter James and viewing the slide presentation of St Mary's brief history.
Fr Joseph Stephen with members of the Project committee. 
Lunch is served ....
...with ample seating comfort to enjoy ones meal
Fr Joseph Stephen and Peter James presented souvenirs to thank the benefactors (l-r) Lawrence and Kathy Tham, Francis and Irene Ng, Dato Simon and Datin Miki Chan and Michael and Phyllis Goh

 In contrast to the images of a young and growing chapel some thirty years ago the progress that St Mary’s Chapel displays now is a clear testimony of the faith of a community that has helped it grow and progress.
The multiple members from the Redemptorist Congregation who have worked with the residents to grow the community over the last 40 years. 

Communion (video) at St Mary's Chapel, October 2016.



JAG