New ‘walking street’ concept planned for Ipoh


Hordes of people thronged the booths selling a variety of handicrafts at the event.

A PILOT project to establish a night “pedestrian walk” in Ipoh is in the pipeline.

Perak Tourism and Culture Committee chairman Tan Kar Hing said the recent Sama-Sama Ria Cultural Street Fest was a catalyst for the walking street idea, and they were currently looking for a suitable location for it.

He said the festival was something extraordinary that attracted a large crowd.

“We proved that Ipoh is not such a sleepy town and we can do something amazing, like this gathering featuring the culture, arts and products from all races which attracted a good crowd,” he said.

Tan added that they would discuss with the Ipoh City Council, shopowners and relevant industry players about starting the walking street project.

“If this is successful, we can have it in other towns,” he said, adding that he would work towards setting up a state art gallery as well.

Visitors watching the gamelan performance during the Sama-Sama Ria Cultural Street Fest in Ipoh. — Photos: SAIFUL BAHRI/The Star
Visitors watching the gamelan performance during the Sama-Sama Ria Cultural Street Fest in Ipoh. —Photos: SAIFUL BAHRI/The Star

“We have the talents and we should have a platform to showcase their work.”

At the Sama-Sama Ria Cultural Street Fest, Ipoh Old Town turned into a melting pot of cultures for visitors featuring performances and activities along Jalan Dato Maharajalela and Jalan Tun Sambanthan.

There were three main staging areas where various dances and martial arts performances were demonstrated to the crowd.

Among the acts were traditional Malay dances such as the belotah, lenggok, zapin gambus, dabus and silat gayong.

The crowd were also treated to the Indian martial art of silambam, peacock dance, diabolo or Chinese yo-yo, wushu, chingay, lion dances and orang asli sewang dance performances.

Visitors had fun trying on traditional attire such as the turban, saree, baju melayu, tengkolok and traditional Chinese costumes as well as playing the diabolo and gamelan and making a kolam.

Visitors checking out handicraft made by orang asli at the event.
Visitors checking out handicraft made by orang asli at the event.
 

An orang asli “village” was set up to offer visitors a glimpse into their lives, complete with the opportunity to use a blowpipe and wear their headgear.

Other activities included a 3.5km bicycle ride involving about 80 participants, a human foosball game and a human-sized board game.

Various handicrafts and souvenirs were sold and many food trucks provided visitors a wide selection of meals and snacks.

Chemist Tan Hsiao Lin, 37, said her family enjoyed being at the festival.

“We really liked all the performances.

“It was time well spent compared to the usual night out at the mall or pasar malam.

“It was also really good exposure for my four-year-old daughter and a way for her to learn about the cultures we have in Malaysia,” she said.

Indian traditional dancers performing a peacock dance at the event in Ipoh.
Indian traditional dancers performing a peacock dance at the event in Ipoh.

Visitor Christine M. said she too enjoyed the festival.

Along with some friends, she learnt more about some of the traditional customs of other races.

“There were information boards next to the respective activities and they provided some basic information about the performances and costumes,” she said.

State executive council member Wong May Ing, who represented Mentri Besar Ahmad Faizal Azumu at the festival, said the event was the perfect platform for all races to showcase what they could offer.

“It is similar to what the state government wants to do, which is to provide the opportunity for all Perakian talents to help develop the state.

“We should not be competing with people, but facilitate what they can do for the state,” she said.

(From right) Wong, Kepayang assemblyman Dr Ko Chung Sen, Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye and Tan taking part in the belotah dance at the event.
(From right) Wong, Kepayang assemblyman Dr Ko Chung Sen, Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye and Tan taking part in the belotah dance at the event.

Wong added that the state would honour its promise as stated in the Pakatan Harapan manifesto to look after the forests, which was a source of livelihood for the orang asli.

“We will ensure that our forests will not be easily cleared away,” she added.

The next Sama-Sama event will be the “Sama-Sama Gema” Drum Festival scheduled to take place at D.R. Seenivasagam Park on Sept 1 from 6pm to midnight.

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