|Ipoh was built by
miners and migrants - Cantonese and Hakka mining towkays and their
coolies, Malay aristocrats and small rubber-holders, Sematran
political refugees and journalists, European mining engineers and
planters, Ceylonese pressmen and printers, Sinhalese jewellers,
Tamil railway-builders and Chettiar money-lenders, Japanese
photographers, American Methodist missionaries, South Indian Muslim
food-seelers and petty-traders, Hokkien shopkeepers, French Catholic
and Eurasian educationists......
By the early 20th century, Ipoh was a modern,
well-planned town. Station Road was the financial and professional
centre of Perak. Led by a progressive Kinta Sanitary Board, an
active press, and sustained by an abundance of local pride, Ipoh sailed
through periods of tin booms and busts.
In the 1930s, Ipoh Art Deco
represented an architecture of confidence, mirroring an affluent society
of motorists and movie-goers. Those who made their wealth in the
Kinta valley built grand mansions in the plush suburbs and sent their
children to the best schools in Perak.
The Japanese Occupation
brought devastation, and changed the course of history. It was the
Japanese who made Ipoh the capital of Perak. The Emergency was
accompanied by a period of political awakening. In 1962, the Kinta
Sanitary Board became the Municipality of Ipoh, and finally in 1988 the
town of Ipoh become a City.
Ipoh, a pioneer tin-mining
town in the 1870s, became the meeting point of rivers, roads and
railway, and the commercial centre of the Kinta Valley, the largest
tin-producing region in the world.....