Past glo­ries ofBatuGa­jah

A day trip to the for­mer Kinta dis­trict administrative cen­tre turns out to be an eye­opener for

New Straits Times - - Jom! Go -

The cur­rent church build­ing was built in 1928. to be­come a Euro­pean en­clave com­plete with a hospi­tal, gaol, po­lice sta­tion and of­fices. High-rank­ing govern­ment of­fi­cers lived here in their sprawl­ing bun­ga­lows. In 1892, a com­plex of three of­fices com­pris­ing the Land Of­fice, High Court and Sur­vey Of­fice was built in Changkat. Their pres­ence as the first im­pos­ing pub­lic build­ings in the dis­trict reaf­firmed Batu Ga­jah’s po­si­tion as the most im­por­tant town in the Kinta Val­ley at that time.

A lit­tle fur­ther down the road we reach the govern­ment of­fice com­plex. Our pres­ence at­tracts the at­ten­tion of the se­cu­rity guard who in­forms us that, be­ing a Satur­day, the com­plex is closed.

His stern fa­cial ex­pres­sion soon turns into a hint of a smile when we tell him that our only in­ten­tion is to take pho­to­graphs of the build­ings. The guard even com­ments that the Jalur Gemi­lang-cov­ered fa­cade makes the build­ings look more at­trac­tive than usual. We have come at the cor­rect time. Malaysia Day is less than a week away.

Point­ing to­wards the words “Court House”, Bes­mond re­minds me that Ipoh was just a small, sin­gle street vil­lage when this im­pres­sive administrative cen­tre was built. Ges­tur­ing at the or­nate Land Of­fice build­ing next door, he tells me that the Kinta Tin Rush saw the ar­rival of many Chi­nese im­mi­grants

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