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Friday, February 18, 2011

Tronoh My Hometown

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, Aunty YT here to help her deposit her hard earned savings. Aunty YT was illiterate and made a living holding a few jobs e.g. ‘dulang-washing’ for tin ore, tapping rubber trees for latex, growing vegetables, rearing chickens and ducks or doing odd jobs like washing clothes or sweeping house compounds. She used to hide her savings under the pillow or in urns but quite often all the money would get stolen. One day, mum taught her how to save money by opening an account at the post office. She was very happy when she found that she could earn interest from the money saved and see her money grow.

“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.


  1. wow...this is certainly a long post. KInda quiet place from the look of it but people there must have been very friendly

  2. Look like you have many wonderful memory in Ternoh. The kampong house of Cikgu M's is beautiful.
    Thanks for sharing.

  3. You most have missed your good old days very much, my FIl was a kampung boy too and I never feel bored listen to his good old kampung stories!^-^

    Have a pleasant weekend!

  4. Sadly, there are plenty of dying towns in Perak. I originated from Perak too.

  5. wow, that's nice. I should go back to my place in taiping and hv a look there.

  6. Wow taking a trip down memory lane with John Denver and the Carpenters haha. With the North-South Highway in place seldom go through the old roads or even the coastal roads anymore. tQ for bringing back the good old times.

  7. It is so good you have captured some old specimen of the old town. It looks like ours too in the past. How i wish i have the camera already during those days when the old houses and streets are still with us. Now the scenes of the old are not there anymore, even our old house is not preserved even in photos. How i wish i have them too, nostalgia, nostalgia. I am sure, this feeling we have now is much obvious to our fellowmen who are now living in foreign lands. I am sure they miss the pictures of the places where they are born. BTW, you haven't seen my last post, which was almost like this in sentiment.

  8. Well. A narration so lively take to all places. Very very glad to read the lines and see pictures attached. Why not known, Very fascinating. Thank you and with Best Wishes.

  9. im origin birth place in tronoh mines at 1.30pm date 25 okt 1980...my grandfather Imam Abdul Wahab Haji Daud and my grandmother Enson@ azizah hj Saleh....i like tronoh mines...

  10. Wow! It sure brings back many happy memories for me, born and raised in Tronoh is me. Many things in this town is still the same this very day. Still go back every Chinese New Year. Should post pictures of the "kuih" store run by Oi Cher at the market. Still go for her kuih every time i go back to Tronoh. Does it ring a bell? How are you? I used to live in one of the shop houses near the market in New Street. How about you? Remember the coffee shop which sold the best kaya bread.

    1. Dear Anon, I'm glad to be connected with you who share the same nostalgia with me about Tronoh. How nice if I know your name or nickname. You can send me an email of pm me in Facebook to keep in touch :)

  11. Swarupha SuselaSunday, May 15, 2016

    tronoh is same as ever but townshop buildings rebuilted painted to give tronoh town a trim look..the aunty who sells kuih in front the market is still there...UTP has brought business back to the makan shops
    alot of makan shops has sprung up and one of is Kedai Paatti Tronoh Mines ...it serves Tamilian food plus their famous soup of the day...as you come from UTP gate towards tronoh town you will see simpang Bali traffic light and from there its 600 meters only..they serve lots of vegetables of all kinds for a indian makan shop...its clean...reasonable homecooked food..Tronoh has not lost its charm but its versatile ..new things happening moving forward to progress....drop by n enjoy Tronoh...

    1. Swarupha, thanks for the sharing of thoughts and info. I still go back to Tronoh every year. Always will.


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Autumn Belle


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