Ipoh is, without a doubt, one of the prettiest cities in the country, with its limestone hills, hot springs and charming old town. Now on the cusp of a powerful resurgence, it is clear that the city’s renaissance is now. It was in this light that The Edge recently released its first-ever destination magazine dedicated to Ipoh and, together with its partner and longstanding associate Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd (KLK), organised a dinner for select guests from Ipoh and Kuala Lumpur to preview the magazine. The event was held in conjunction with the gentle unveiling of 22 Hale Street, a beautiful gallery-museum conceptualised and created by Puan Sri Sandra Lee, wife of KLK CEO Tan Sri Lee Oi Hian.
Tan Sri Lee addressed the guests with his trademark warmth and gentle, unassuming style. “A very warm welcome to this small town of Ipoh,” he began. “I am very glad people like Lonely Planet and now, The Edge, have made us not so lonely. Many of you know that my family and I were raised in this lovely and charming city and that KLK was founded here in Ipoh in the 1960s. The headquarters, till today, remains in Ipoh. I am honoured to be able to share some interesting stories with you in this special edition of The Edge and I hope this acts as a stimulus to make Ipoh an even more vibrant city.”
Ho Kay Tat, publisher and CEO of The Edge Media Group, gave an equally warm speech. “The idea is to bring to the fore the rich history of Malaysia — its arts, culture and people. We started with Penang and Johor last year and so we said let’s do something on Ipoh. It was also ideal that KLK has a deep history in Ipoh and, not forgetting, is our landlord as well. So, whatever the landlord wants, you’d better do it,” he quipped.
Puan Sri Sandra, the visionary and key driving force behind 22 Hale Street, also shared a little about the inspiration behind her new gallery-museum, saying: “The bigger motivation was my late father-in-law [rubber baron Tan Sri Lee Loy Seng]. From the start, my intention was to set up something that would serve as a personal tribute to this man.”
Also present was The Edge Media Group chairman Datuk Tong Kooi Ong, who wrapped up the formalities by presenting Tan Sri Lee and Puan Sri Sandra with framed mementoes of their respective Ipoh stories.
Guests were then taken on a private tour of 22 Hale Street, visiting and seeing precious and personal exhibits up close in the various spaces, particularly the Tycoon’s Room which honours the legacy of the tin industry pioneers of the Kinta Valley, the Peranakan Room which pays tribute to a brave and generous Nyonya with a deeply personal link with and love for the Lee family and the Old Town, and Kam Kong Hotel, which gives visitors a look at life in Ipoh in bygone days — a time of Rediffusion and rickshaws. After the tour, guests stopped by to shop for beautiful handmade crafts at a pop-up store operated by Persatuan DAYBREAK, a non-governmental organisation that offers vocational training for people with disabilities and which Puan Sri Sandra also heads. Dinner was then served amid the charming old-world ambience of Dong, 22 Hale Street’s Asian-fusion restaurant.
KLK Bhd CEO Tan Sri Lee Oi Hian and Puan Sri Sandra Lee;
Datuk Tong Kooi Ong, chairman of The Edge Media Group,
and Dawn Cheong; and The Edge Media Group publisher & group CEO Ho Kay Tat and Karin Ho.
Dong at 22 Hale Street, Ipoh.
Appetiser tasting platter of Laksa Prawn, Otak-Otak, Chicken Satay and Pie Tee; Nasi Kerabu with Chicken Rendang; Nyonya Kueh and Bubur Cha Cha.
Mumm NV Champagne; Jacob’s Creek Reserve Shiraz 2015.
An abundance of radost, a green-centred variety of spray chrysanthemum, in little vases and flickering tea lights.
Batik jewellery pouches for the ladies and a set of batik coasters for the men, all from Persatuan DAYBREAK, an Ipoh-based vocational training centre for differently abled people as well as preview copies of Ipoh.
The assembly of guests comprised personalities from the Kinta Valley, Kuala Lumpur and beyond and included Datuk Liew Sew Yee, chairman and CEO of Thong Fook Corp; Datuk David Tan of Little Katong; Sarah Ho, executive director of Hovid Bhd; See Kok Shan, curator of the Time Tunnel museum; Jane Leong, alternate director to Tan Sri Leong Hoy Kum, Mah Sing Group; Yong Yoon Li, executive director of Royal Selangor; Ng Sek San, principal of Seksan Design; Benjamin Yong, CEO of The BIG Group; Elaine Hew, GM Marketing Communications, Mercedes-Benz; and Pat Liew, founder of BritishIndia, among others.
See our video in collaboration with Mercedes-Benz, which took us there in style:
Videography: Shepherd Pictures
Coordination: Kong Wai Yeng
This article first appeared on Aug 6, 2018 in The Edge Malaysia.