Monday, February 02, 2009

Chinese New Year '09: Ipoh

I am back to Ipoh for the first time in 3 years to celebrate the Chinese New Year. For the past 2 years, training had brought me to faraway Aussie land and I was unable to celebrate with families and friends. This year, my training is over and coupled with the unfortunate economic downturn, I am on standby for a long long time before being called up for the next phase. I took this opportunity to meet up all my long lost friends. Little did I know this year is the 10th gathering anniversary for my Form 6 buddies, many of whom I have not met since we left school. Some are attached or married now and some grew from vertical to horizontal size.

Ipoh is a great place for photography. It has many natural limestone hills and unique old colonial/pre-war buildings. One of the famous building is none other than my own school, St. Michael. My photographer buddy Jonsern came down to visit me and he brought along his DSLR. That gave me more reason to head out for some happy triggers. Unfortunately the sky was not so friendly. We woke up to a morning rain showers. Add to our misery, the guard did not let us in. If there's any Michaelians reading this, please help me ask the school admin why old boys are not welcomed back to the school. I purposely chose the weekend so as not to disrupt any school lessons. I explained and even offered my identification card to the guard, yet she chased us out and locked the gate. Oh and she was sleeping initially. We could have just walked in but I chose otherwise and approached her. If tourists and even old boys are not allowed to visit this great building, then I suggest the school being stripped off its Heritage Building status. Why promote the building as tourist attraction when tourists are being turned away at the gate? All my other school friends told me the same story. Not content to leave empty handed, we lurked outside the fence. Amazingly, the rain had given us a rare photography opportunity. The field was flooded and it created a mirror perfect reflection of the building. What an amazing sight!

The Ipoh Padang opposite my school now has a giant flag pole. Otherwise, it looked much the same field I used to play on 15 years ago.

The Kinta River beside my school has now been turned into a riverfront with cafes. I was surprised to find the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Golden Gate Bridge here as well. Wow, super budget holiday to Frisco and Sydney.

The Ipoh railway station offers great pre-war era photo opportunities. It has been featured in many dramas and movies. It was my first time visiting the building interior, after all the years I lived here. What a shame.

The City Hall is as attractive as the railway station. Shooting across from the park, Jonsern managed to capture a superb shot of the building through the water fountain arch. That has got to be the best pic of the day. I had a wonderful time taking pictures here as well because there are many flowers with beautiful backdrop.

Last stop of photography in Ipoh has got to be one of the limestone hills. Didn't want to be trapped with the crowd in common tourist limestone caves, we headed to the more secluded limestone hill + lake + wild greeneries; Gunung Lang. Well, if China has got their Gui-Lin, Ipoh too has got its own. At some areas, it looked almost similar to the real deal.

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