Thursday, 6 August 2015

Concubine Lane gets a new look - 25 July 2015

We revisited Concubine Lane and my oh my, what a change! If the change can preserve some of these buildings, then perhaps it's not bad. Hopefully, it will not commercialise the living & working town until it becomes a mere tourist attraction. 

Inside one of the shops, which has been converted to a souvenir shop with a display gallery. Others are turned to cafes, snack shops and homestays. But they're not the same. Unlike the nearby Kong Heng and Thean Chun coffee shops which have survived the war and changing times.

Remains of an old 1902 newspapers on the wall, now framed up and part of the wall decor.

We're fortunate to visit the Hakka Miners' Club at Jalan Bijeh Timah, which is just across the road after Concubine Lane. It's one of the prominent heritage buildings in the old Ipoh town, and was so exclusive it used to be only opened to its club members, which were mainly the rich Hakka miners and towkays (men only). 

Built in 1893, it has gone through a few restoration works. The villa is now turned into a museum and opened its door to the public since early this year. Admission is free but it's by appointment only.  

The enamel tableware on the long table. 
Hubby is a Hakka and his dad had worked in tin mining in its glory days, thus he could identify with much more than just a showcase of antiques and nice architecture. 

The Infinity Mirror
The ground floor displayed the house decor of a rich Hakka family, completes with a maid's room and kitchen, as well as a small section on tin mining. The 2nd & 3rd floors gave us an insight of the Hakka miners' club in its heydays, where they're free to commit vices, hidden from the eyes of the townsfolk. There's also an interesting section on the history of the Hakka migration from China and a journal writing of one of the immigrants.

Favourite Hakka dishes

The tour guide patiently walked us through every section.

The origins of the early Hakka people were traced to the Yellow River in China. They're constantly moving from one place to another, until they're like 'guests' in wherever they went, thus the name "Hakka".

Cotton candy floss used to be a hit amongst the kids in the past. Now, kids are spoilt for choice with sweets. 

Taken in 2009, the old charms of Concubine Lane.......

.... and the old spiral staircase hidden amongst the shops in Concubine Lane. Ipoh Old Town still has some picturesque corners and rich heritage architecture. There's always somewhere a bit more off the beaten track in Ipoh.

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