Although I was born in Ipoh, Tronoh (端洛) was my hometown until my parents shifted back to Ipoh in the early 2000s.
During my journey back to Tronoh recently, we passed by this picturesque scene of buffaloes grazing under the hot afternoon sun somewhere near Seputeh town.
This familiar scene reminded me of my childhood and school days. I have passed by this scenic spot many times when I travelled daily to and from school by bus. School was in Batu Gajah which was about 30km or 40 min drive. We depended on the green and white 'general bus' or 'school general bus' owned by the Ipoh Omnibus Company. Some of us used the private mini school buses. I would wake up at 5:00 am and helped mom with the housework while she cooked my breakfast and packed my lunch. My bus journey would start at 6:00am and I would arrive at school around 6:40am. After I left home and settled down in the Klang Valley, I always look forward to my 'balik kampung' trips and this is the scene that would remind me that I'd be home soon. The feeling is even more nostalgic now that my parents are no longer around. On and off, I still miss this 'cowboy town' as we fondly call it ... Yeah, yeah, Country Roads, take me home, to the place where I belong ...
The following pictures were taken in 2007. Now, some of the buildings are no longer in operation. Each of the pictures tells a story of Tronoh during my childhood days.
This is the post office (Pos Malaysia). The building used to be a converted kampong styled house with stilts. The office is at the front portion of the building while the back portion of the building is used as the living quarters for the postmaster. During those days, there was only one postman and he delivered letters by bicycle, rain or shine. The bicycle was red in colour and the letters or documents were put inside a bag which he carried around with him. We loved to hear the sound of his bell… Ring! Ring! Ring! It meant that we have letters and news from afar. Later, his bicycle was upgraded to a motorbike. Mr Postman also acted as the translator or letter reader for the illiterate villagers and town people here. Some of them did not have valid addresses (e.g. squatters or those who stayed close to the ulu-ulu jungle) but he knew where to find them to deliver the letters, aerograms, parcels and packages. We could also also hand over to him our letters to be posted. Those days many of us do not have a telephone line. Sometimes, he brought urgent news which may be good or bad in the form of a ‘telegram’. Everybody in town knew him, our one and only Mr. Postman. … Oh yes, wait a minute Mister Postman, wait Mister Postman. Please Mister Postman, look and see, Oh yeah, If there's a letter in your bag for me...
When I was little, I used to come here with mum and sister to deposit our Chinese New Year ang pow money, coin savings or savings from pocket money from grandpa, grandma, mum and dad. I really looked forward to coming here. At other times, I would also come here to buy stamps, first-day covers or aerograms to post to our pen-pals from overseas. Sometimes mum would accompany our neighbour,
“Tronoh My Hometown”, a copyrighted post, was written for Klang, Malaysia Daily Photo blog by Autumn Belle @ http://mymalaysiadailyphoto.blogspot.com/ on February 18th, 2011.
This is the Lutheran Church. It also functioned as a kindergarden in the mornings. My brother went to preschool here from 8am to 11:30am in 1980. On Sundays, many boys and girls liked to come here to take part in church activities, make new friends and to network. This church is situated next to the post office. There used to be a frangipani (plumeria) tree quite near to its entrance at the gate. We love to pick the white frangipani flowers to make into garlands to wear just like the girls we see on Hawaii Five O on TV. I have also seen grandma boiled the dried frangipani flowers with some herbs as a rejuvenating health drink for Aunt 'ku cher'.
The Penghulu’s house, the Forest Ranger’s hostel, the Police Station and police hostel, the National Type Primary English School (NTPS) and teachers quarters, the Water Works department head, Electricity Board head, Telecoms head and also our assistant headmistress, Mrs C’s houses were situated along this same street that leads from the town centre to the Ho Sin Ku Temple and the Ho Pak Yew tin mine at the end of the road. Each house looked like the traditional kampong house and has a garage next to it. We may have a bush or hedge around the perimeter of the house, but seldom any fencing that separates the neighbours from each other.
This used to be our school gardener, Mr M’s house. It is an all-in-one kitchen, living room, dining room cum bedroom. Although very poor, he had a beautiful wife and many children.
This was Cikgu M’s house. Mum used to bring us here to visit the cikgu during Hari Raya. His daughter attended the same school with sister and me. We really looked forward to our visits here and loved the lemang, rendang, chicken curry and many different types of colourful, sweet and tasty Malay kueh and cookies very much. We also got to sample homemade tea and rose water here. When it was time to go home, the cikgu’s wife would pack some of the raya food for us to bring home. At night this house would be decorated with colourful twinkling lights or the traditional oil lamps, 'lampu minyak' during the festive season. It was calm and peaceful then, so there was no need for any gate or perimeter fencing. We could just run up and down to our friend’s house to play hide and seek or ‘masak-masak’. We loved to play on the sandy floor under the house.
Additional Infomation from Wikipedia:
Teronoh (or Tronoh, Ternoh) is a small tin-mining town located some 30 km south of the Perak state capital Ipoh in Malaysia.
The tin-mining industry boom during the early 20th century saw Teronoh grow from a small village into a major town. The centre of the mining field containing the mine of the Tronoh Mines Company, Ltd. was the village of Tronoh. The Tronoh Mines Company Ltd. belonged to Chung Thye Phin, a rich businessman (towkay) and last Chinese Kapitan of Perak and Malaya. It was here in Tronoh that Thye Phin's famous deep-shaft mine could be found.
A railway line linking the town and Ipoh was completed in 1909 and used to transport tin ore. The tracks were dismantled by the Japanese during World War II and were never rebuilt. Shortly after the war ended the tin industry deteriorated, and with it, the importance of the town.
The main road that used to cut through town linking Ipoh with the seaside town of Lumut has been replaced by a new highway bypassing the town. Today Teronoh is a sleepy little town although that may change giving that two universities (Universiti Teknologi Petronas and Universiti Teknologi MARA) are in the vicinity.
Tronoh town offers some of the best and cheapest economic Chinese food in the whole of Malaysia, some claiming it to be even better than Penang's economic food.