now the trouble about trying to make yourself stupider than you really are is that you very often suceed. -c.s.lewis-

ipoh is in desperate need of more sign boards. it is one of most driver unfriendly town i have ever brought my car to and is a crappy place to get lost in because of its awkwardly located one way streets. the roads are not exactly arranged in any systematic order and the hotel i stayed at had to be at the most strangely designed junction in town.

and ws, i still can’t get that whole inner and outer circles thing. i kept getting lost halfway to kuala kangsar or gopeng, which is really very weird because i kept trying to go east or west but end up north or south.

oh, and then there’s the flasher, or rather flashers incidents. i don’t know why i kept coming across these lunatics, or why they, in the first place, decide to want to take a piss in the busiest roads, where traffic moves the slowest, facing the platoon of cars parading in broad daylight.

but on a serious note, i think something should seriously be done about the heritage buildings of perak. in my line of work, we take notice of these things, and it is sad to realise that people on the outside see all the wealth of culture encapsulated by these pre-war buildings, their architecture and their history, but the locals do not. a lot of the buildings have brokened windows boarded up with bits of rotting wood. some of them have their roofs fallen in and paint peeled at coroded by the forces of nature.

but through it all, they have withstood time, and as badly run down they are today, still ratiate a sort of olden day charm. one which gently asks for nothing more than a fresh coat of simple white paint, clear glass windows and a new zinc roof. and maybe just a bit of light at night, for an inner glow. i have seen a handful of refurbished heritage buildings and they are excellent bars, saloons, cafes and bookshops. but they are not many and certainly not enough. the possibilities are endless when it comes to these olden beauties, all it takes is a little making up.

shifting the responsibility of maintaining of these buildings is not doing anyone any good. i don’t bloody care who takes up the responsibility and am all for private refurbishment if no one has the so-called budget for these sort of thing. i’d rather have these buidlings leased out, even if for profit, rather than to see them as they are now – disintegrating to the ground.

on a more ppleasent note, if you are in ipoh, do drop by this little makeshift… well, its not that makeshift anymore since it has sorta became a permanent structure… anyway, sorta cafe called ‘rahmath’ it is located next to the sultan idris shah ii mosque @ the perak state mosque, opposite the birch memorial. note that the cafe is beside, not opposite the mosque ok, not that the foodcourt. i am personally recommending this place not only for the same food it cooks everyday – cabbage fried with taugeh, fried chicken, sambal chicken, sambal fried fish and dhal. the cafe is extremely jammed packed at lunchtime. we know. we waited a good three hours before we even found an empty chair, but the simple food is worth every minute. the food is good. very good.

and then mid afternoon comes. the cafe is still full of patrons. a small crowd of the town’s poor gather at the side of the cafe and chat tiredly. the cafe operation suddenly stops and the servers start making packs after packs of rice with rich dhal and chicken, the same portion what everyone else who are eating received, dished from the same pot, and distributes them to the grateful crowd in the streets.

i saw grateful eyes. i am behumbled. i know i should not be, but i am the one who suddenly feel embarassed.

i will never forget those grateful eyes.

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