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Saturday, May 3, 2014
British expat's passion for Ipoh
Ian Anderson sharing the rich history of Ipoh with the Swiss tourism students in Jalan Panglima. Pic by Farhan Najib
IPOH: A group of Swiss students, who were here on a five-day tourism exposure of the city, was mildly surprised to learn that the person guiding them on the tour was himself an expatriate.
For Ian Anderson, a 75-year-old retired navy commander, the chance to show the heritage of the city to the students was one not to be missed. Having lived in Ipoh for 15 years, Anderson said the city was an interesting place to visit as it was rich with history rooted in the vast tin-mining legacy.
He, however, lamented that not much was being done by those given the charge to promote tourism in Ipoh, especially the state-related tourism agencies.
"People often ask me why I speak to people about the beauty of the city? Why do I take pains to narrate its rich past? "My simple answer, and it is the truth, is that no one else is doing it. Not the authorities certainly," he said, after ending his 90-minute session with the Swiss students.
Anderson, who has carved a name as a heritage conservationist of Ipoh in the last decade, spends much of his time collecting and conserving heritage items such as old photographs, restoring heritage buildings and holding exhibitions on Ipoh.
He made his mark in literature on the city by compiling and editing a book entitled Ipoh, My Home Town which is sold in bookshops for RM100. Anderson also runs www.ipohworld.org, which is an outlet for him and his team to preserve the city's history online.
With the tag Saving Yesterday For Tomorrow, Anderson said he hoped not only to record Ipoh's past but also to create interest in the younger generation to love the city. His passion for the city's past was demonstrated when he spoke to the Swiss students as he showed them around Han Chin Pet Soo, a Hakka tin miners club. The club was set up in 1893, while the clubhouse was built in 1929.
Anderson also took them to the nearby Concubine Lane (now known as Lorong Panglima) where he spoke of the Chinese tin mining tycoons of yore and their activities. Swiss student Vanessa Zimmermann said she was impressed with Anderson's knowledge of the city.
"We learnt a lot about the city from Anderson. "His narration of the rich past of Ipoh's tin mining industry and how it was built since the 1870s is excellent. "And, knowing that Anderson is an expatriate makes it more inspiring for us to learn more about the city.
"My observation of Ipoh is that while it is a nice place to visit and live, it is quite hard to go from place to place because there are no proper signboards," she said, adding that the authorities needed to focus on how to make Ipoh attractive to young people.