Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Kampar, My Ancestral Home

Thanks, Wikipedia.

Kampar is a town in the state of Perak, Malaysia.

It lies within the Kinta Valley, an area once rich in tin.

Kampar was, with Ipoh, one of the world’s tin capitals during the British colonial era.

Many of Kampar’s tin mines closed in the 1980s when tin prices took a tumble and never recovered.

Kampar was a famous World War 2 battleground between the British and Japanese armies. The battle was vividly documented by Kampar-born historian Chye Kooi Loong.

Kampar is named for the Kampar Malay people, the indigenous Malay people of Sumatra’s modern-day provinces Land Riau (or Kampar), Medan, Jambi and Palembang.

The Kampar Malay people are descended from the Sultans of Johor and earlier, the kings of the Hulu Selangorian Aboriginal Malay people of Selangor.

They settled in Kampar, Perak during the heydays of the Johor Empire.

Kampar is now the site of the Tunku Abdul Rahman University’s campus.

The university is a private university owned by the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA), a member party of the ruling National Front (BN) conservative coalition.

Kampar will soon have its very own hypermarket, Tesco of Britain, near the university.

Famous Kamparians include:

- Hip-hop singers, composers, producers, lyricists and film-makers Norman, Yusry and Edry Halim, better known as KRU;

- China-based singer Eric Moo;

- Historian Buyong Adil;

- Ex-Cabinet Minister Datuk Seri Aziz Shamsudin;

- Singaporean water treatment company Hyflux’s founder Olivia Lum;

- Online recruitment business Jobstreet founder Mark Chang;

- Scientist Dr Yeap Wai Kiang, best known for researching artificial intelligence technology;

- Top Malaysian cartoonist Datuk Muhammad Noor Khalid or Lat;

- Jurong Bird Park of Singapore’s executive director Wong Hon Mun;

- C. L. Hor and Ben Hor, the directors of Malaysia’s first Chinese martial arts film Kinta, filmed in 2007;

- Eu Kong Pui, founder of Chinese Malaysian herbal company Eu Yan Sang;
- Film-maker and playwright Low Ngai Yuen;

- Magazine journalist Wahti Mahidin (daughter of World War 2 hero Colonel Yeop Mahidin of Kuala Kangsar);

- Azhari Ahmad, founder of Islamic spiritual group Raihan;

- Danish-Malaysian Indian singing sisters Heidi and Saseline Sorensen or SOAP of "This Is How We Party" fame.

Kampar is famous for its food, especially Cantonese Chinese food.

Famous delicacies of Kampar include fish meatball noodles, savoury chicken biscuits, claypot rice, prawn noodles, rice noodles (chi cheung fun), mouse tail noodles, fried tofu, fried hor fun (fettucini), wantan (ravioli), glutinous rice, giant chicken rolls (min pau kai) and Cantonese pastries and puddings.

The Leong family which owns the company Wing Lok Yuen Chicken Biscuits is Malaysia’s most famous producer of the savoury biscuit.

Gua Tempurung or Coconut Shell Cave, the largest limestone cave in Peninsular Malaysia is located in Kampar and is a major tourist attraction in Perak.

The first President of China Dr Sun Yat Sen once lived in Kampar.