Hadiah Daripada Hati

Love for Kuala Lipis

IT IS only a four-page black and white brochure but visitors to Kuala Lipis would surely appreciate the efforts that had gone into its production.

There is a brief history of the town, its attractions and maps in the brochure. It even identifies the best banana fritter.

We did not get our brochures from a Tourism Authority office, or a tour agency, but from a hawker at the Alamanda Food Court.

Vincent Chong knew immediately that we were new to Kuala Lipis, and gave us the brochures when we started asking him about the town.

He piqued our curiosity when he told us that the brochure was written and updated by a local dentist, Dr Chan Chun Keat. We called Dr Chan, and he met up with us.

The dentist was inspired to come up with a brochure on Kuala Lipis because “there is so much more to this town.”

Most visitors see only a one-street town with Straits Eclectic shophouses, like those found in small towns all over the Peninsular Malaysia.

This town though has an interesting history. It flourished during the gold prospecting heydays of the 1920s, when the British extended the railway line to Kuala Lipis from Gemas.

However, its promise as a gold mining town and trading centre did not materialise, and the town remains a quiet stop in Pahang.

It was nevertheless the Pahang state capital from 1898 to 1955.

Locals like to point to the zero milestone in town. They claim that it marks the centre point of Peninsular Malaysia.

These days, Kuala Lipis is most famous for being the birthplace of popular pop singer Datuk Siti Nurhaliza.

She built her family a house in Kuala Lipis that costs millions of Ringgit. There are signboards to lead diehard fans to her family home, and even parking spaces for tour buses.

Kuala Lipis is also the birthplace of deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak.

Dr Chan, however, was not born in Kuala Lipis. He did not even grow up here.

He is actually from Bidor, Perak, and only made Kuala Lipis his home 20 years ago. He is married with two children.

“I came to Kuala Lipis after graduating from University Malaya in 1987,” relates Dr Chan.

Since then, he has strove to contribute to the community in Kuala Lipis.

“It is my Christian faith that made me believe that we should help another human being as long as we are able to help,” says the lay leader of the Wesley Methodist Church in Kuala Lipis. He also preaches, sings and plays the piano in the church.

Apart from producing the brochures promoting Kuala Lipis, Dr Chan also holds photography exhibition in his home in Desa Perwira.

“It’s my way of touching base with the people,” says Dr Chan who enjoys sharing how photographs can transform the ordinary into extraordinary.

Dr Chan is also involved in other community projects such as |holding health talks for the older residents, and organising an annual piano recital for the children.

source: the star online


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