Thursday, October 8, 2009

Kinta Lane(近打巷)

Kinta Lane(近打巷, Lorong Kinta) is named after Kinta valley in Perak, formerly a rich tin mining area where Ipoh city is located. Kinta River is the river now still flow across the city, divided the Ipoh city into old and new town.

Kinta Lane is located between Burmah Road(车水路) and Macalister Road(中路), the Burmah Road end is located at former Rex cinema, and across Burmah Road are Khaw Kongsi and Penang Hakka Association. The end on Macalister Road is opposite New Lane((紐冷), which is a popular street food night market. Kinta Lane is within the square bordered by Anson Road(安顺路), Penang Road(槟榔路), Burmah Road(车水路), and Macalister Road(中路). There are few roads that run parallel to Kinta Lane. Starting from Macalister Lane(姓王公司後) , then Kinta Lane, after that is Madras Lane(油绞巷), Jalan Zainal Abidin(formerly Jahudi Road,再纳阿比丁路 ), Lorong Selamat(平安巷), Rangoon Road(仰光路), and Lorong Abu Sittee(三星巷).

The two side roads of the Kinta Lane are Jalan Talipon and Lebuh Ong Chong Keng(王宗镜街). Both side roads connect to Madras Lane.

Rex Cinema

It is mainly a residential area, and Rex cinema was formerly located near the entrance at Burma Road. The cinema has closed and the location is now a furniture shop. Rex cinema was showing English films in the old days. My first James Bond film was seen at Rex cinema in late 60s. Opposite the cinema across the Burmah Road is the Penang Hakka Association and Khaw Kongsi. Rex cinema is the first fully air-conditioned cinema in Penang, it was opened in 1939, few days before Christmas. The cinema was one of the cinemas under the chains of Shaw's Brothers,which included Capital, Sun, Oriental, Great World Park and New World Park. Some of the cinemas were no longer operated.

The church of Penang First Assembly of God was once at 12, Kinta Lane, the church later moved to 60, Rangoon Road before having their own Church premise at 286, Macalister Road. The location is now a hotel,named Golden City Hotel.

The area is slowly developed into business area, as one row of shops was renovated into a furnishing city, as they called it.

By the way,if you want to repair your old bag, there is a shop at Kinta Lane.

This is the entrance at Macalister Road junction. The high rise building at the back is Sunway Hotel, which is located at New Lane(紐冷), the famous street food market at night.

The dipiladated buildings. The high rise building at the back is state UMNO Head Office.

The colonial buildings

The only hotel at Kinta Lane, Golden City Hotel at 12, Kinta Lane. This is also the place once the venue of Penang First Assembly of God Church in early 60s. May be before the hotel was built.

The view of the street, toward Macalister Road

Beautiful pre-war double storey residential houses

This is popular hair salon

Look at the beautiful colonial residential house. Which is better looking?. The one at the right has spoiled the beauty of the design by fitting the air-conditioners at the front of the builidng.

Just renovated residential houses, but suspected it is going to be used as commercial usage

One of the land is under construction. Behind is high rise building, state UMNO building.(UMNO is one of the Malay political party from ruling coalition)

Beautiful baba mosaic wall tiles

The Goh-kha-ki(corridor) of the residential houses, with their beautiful nyonya-baba tiles.

The elegant door and window

The view of colonial residential houses from outside

The door and window

Another design type for the window

The view of the row of the houses(now shops)

Look at the window

Look at the signboard and other advertisement materials, how they have covered up the architectural beauty of the building. Should we have standard rule and guidelines for fitting of signboard and advertisement on heritage buildings?

The newly renovated earmarked for Furniture City

The view of Kinta Lane

The old venue of Rex cinema is now a furniture outlet,Mekio

The entrance from Burma Road, the corner shop is still a coffee shop. In the 60s and 70s, this coffee shop is very busy due to its location opposite Rex cinema.

There are two off roads on the right of Kinta Lane, leading to Madras Lane; Jalan Talipon and Lebuh Ong Chong Keng. Madras Lane Chinese Methodish Church is right at the T junction with Jalan Talipon. Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan (Cina) Hu Yew Seah, an old Chinese school is nearby, a small lane beside Jalan Talipon, which lead to the side of the school, but now it has fenced up.

Jalan Talipon

The lane off Kinta Lane, between Kinta Lane and Madras Lane.

There is a beautiful colonial mansion at the end of the Jalan Talipon. DAP Penang office is here. There is an old worker quarter for Telekom, and transmission tower on the right of Jalan Talipon. That may be the reason the road is called Jalan Talipon, which is Malay word for telephone.

The Madras Lane Chinese Methodist Church

The staircase to the worker quarter

The window

The view of the street, beside Telekom's worker quarter

The transmission tower

The living heritage(mobile hawker), Old colonial building(heritage) and the modern high rise building of a political party

The mansion at the corner of Madras Lane/Jalan Talipon

The alley lead to side of Hu Eu Siah school, at the back of the mansion

KOMTAR at the back; the seat of state government

The street view

DAP Penang office, the base of current state political power

The row of colonial houses just opposite DAP office

The street view

Lebuh Ong Chong Keng(王宗镜街)

Lebuh Ong Chong Keng is located between Kinta Lane and Madras Lane. It is a side road just behind Rex Cinema until Madras Lane, which is behind Telekom building. This is a quite street with only single row of pre-war residential houses, only 5 houses.

The only row of residential houses

The street view

Dr Ong Chong Keng 王宗鏡医生(b 1904-d 1948)

Lebuh Ong Chong Keng(王宗镜街) is named after Dr Ong Chong Keng in 1954, who was a leading figure in Malayan Chinese community. He was educated in Penang Free School and was the school Head Boy in 1922, and also a boy scout and a cadet officer, He went to Hong Kong for further study in medicine, and graduated as a medical doctor (MBBS) from University of Hong Kong in 1928. A respected doctor in Penang and was a member of Malayan Union Advisory Council(1946). He represented Malaya at the UNESCO education conference in Nanking, China(1947). He was inaugural member of Legislate and Executive Councils of the Federation of Malaya(1948). He was shot by the communist on 31-8-1948. He left behind wife and two daughters, Dr Mollie(a doctor)graduated from Hong Kong University and Sally Ong,graduated from University of Malaya(ref:Malcolm MacDonald: bringing an end to empire(1995), by Clyde Sanger, published by McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP). As reported from University of Hong Kong, Mollie Ong, daughter of Dr Ong Chong Keng, enrolled as medical students in 1948. But some source reported there are 7 children, include Pamela Ong Siew Im, the author of his biography.

He was the Penang Municipal Commissioner from 1936-1941

He was also the founding member of Penang Medical Practitioners' Society on 27-5-1932, the meeting was chaired by Dr Emile Smith, leader of Eurasian community and medical practitioner, with 18 founding members. The founding member included Dr NK Menon(leader of Indian community), Dr Lim Chwee Leong(father of Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu), and Dr Ong himself. The meeting was held at 337, Anson Road.

Dr Ong was also the past President of Rotary Club of Penang from 1938-1939 and past President of Hu Eu Siah(輔友社,1914) where he promote education for woman.

The late Dr Ong Chong Keng was Hon Librarian for Penang Library from Oct. 1945-47; he was the first post war librarian, and wrote an article on the library during the war, which is still appear in the official web site of Penang Library,

He was a member of Malayan Union Advisory Council(1946), Chinese representatives in the council are Sir HS Lee, Dr Ong Chong Keng, Tan Eng Chye, Dr Soo Kim Lan and Dr Tan Cheng Leng.

The late Dr Ong Chong Keng was associated with the appeal to British government to list Wesak Day as a public holiday. The following is the extract from Malaysian Buddhist Association official website on the history:-

"After the Reoccupation of Penang by the British, to be exact early in 1946, some leading Buddhists in Selangor suggested that the Penang Buddhist Association should set the ball rolling in asking the Government for a Public Holiday in Malaya on Wesak Full Moon Day. Unfortunately, however the Committee of the Association was not prepared to take. the lead, although it was ready to give support to the idea.

Thereafter, opinions of leading Buddhists including monks were sought. The Chinese Buddhists wanted to celebrate the occasion on the 8th Day of the Chinese 4th Moon, but the Southern Buddhists (Singhalese, Siamese and Burmese) insisted on the orthodox day i.e. the Wesak Full Moon Day. The late Hon'ble Dr. Ong Chong Keng was requested to sound the late Sir Edward Gent, the then Governor of the Malayan Union, during his visit to the Penang Buddhist Association on Thursday, 12th September 1946. In the event of Sir Edward being favorably dispersed towards the idea, he was to see Mr. Malcolm McDonald, the Governor General. Unfortunately, on the 12th of September, Sir Edward, due to indisposition, could not turn up but Mr. Malcolm McDonald was present together with Mr. S. N. King, the then Resident Commissioner of Penang.

The matter was not mentioned to the Governor-General, as it was felt that the proper person to be first consulted was Sir Edward. A few weeks later the late Dr. Ong managed to broach the subject with Sir Edward at Kuala Lumpur. The latter was quite willing to do everything he could to help the Chinese and Southern Buddhists if they could come to an agreement over the date. Towards the end of 1948 the twin brothers, Messrs. Khoo Soo Jin and Khoo Soo Ghee, together with a few eminent Buddhists from all over the country succeeded in getting the Chinese Buddhists to agree on having the Wesak Full Moon Day recognized as the appropriate day. This matter was fully discussed in January 1949 at a committee meeting of the Penang Buddhist Association which decided to give unanimous support to Wesak Full Moon Day being regarded as the proper day". (extract from Penang listed the Wesak Day as public holiday in 1949, but Dr Ong was not able to see the effort bear fruit as he was murdered in 1948.

Dr Ong was the member of the Executive Council of the Malayan Federation. The Federal Legislative Council(Dewan Perundangan Persekutuan Tanah Melayu) was the legislative body of the Federation of Malaya and the predecessor of the Malaysian Parliament. It was formed in 1948 after the abolition of the Malayan Union and the formation of the Federation, as part of the United Kingdom's promise to grant self-rule to the Malayans. The council was composed of representatives from the Malay, the Chinese and the Indian communities. Initially, all representatives were appointed by the British High Commissioner for Malaya. The council convened its first meeting at Dewan Tunku Abdul Rahman, Kuala Lumpur on 1-2-1948. The council was officially opened by the Governor General of Malayan Union (from 1-4-1946 to 1-2-1948), Sir Gerard Edward James Gent,who become British High Commissioner in Malaya from 1-2-1948 until his death on 4-7-1948. He was succeeded by McColm McDonald, who was good friend of Dr Ong. Onn Jaafar, Mentri Besar of Johore state(was member representing the Malays), and Dr Ong Chong Keng (was member represented the Chinese), and British Minister for Colonial affairs Lord Listowel also attended the meeting.

He was Justice of Peace and Member of Federal Legislative Councillor

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Dr Ong Chong Keng was shot by the communist on 31-8-1948. He was tricked to go out to see a patient at 9p.m., he was lured to a remote plantation in Julutong, on the outskirts of George Town, where he was shot dead by communist. He was found dead with bullet wounds in his head at 7 am in a lane in a squatter area at Trusan Road(now Jalan Trusan), between Perak Lane and Sungei Pinang Road, a turning off from Perak Road(now Jalan Perak). When the manager of his dispensary told him that a young Chinese man came to the dispensary at 9p.m.,and informed that there was a sick man in Jelutong. He left his house by motor cycle to pickup the young Chinese caller, who was on pillion to Jelutong. Dr Ong left his motor cycle at Trusan Road, and walk one of the many footpath in the village. He was found sprawled face downwards with his medical bag closed by.

It was reported that he was killed due to the issue of introduction of IC or Identification Card system.

The film "Alien Orders" produced by Crown Film Unit, Central Office of Information, UK, which includes a broadcast from Malcolm MacDonald (the son of the former PM Ramsay MacDonald) from July 1948 in which he discussed the attempt by ‘militant Communists’ to ‘establish gangster rule in Malaya’ (The Straits Times, 8 July 1948, 1). It also shows the murder of Dr Ong Chong Keng, a Federal Executive and Legislative Council member, on 31 August 1948. Speaking at the council a month earlier, Dr Ong had urged the ‘Chinese who are taking part in these activities to leave the country and go back to China’ (The Times, 2 September 1948, 4). Upon his murder, The Straits Times stated that he had been murdered ‘because, as is only too well known, he had all along been opposed to Communism and had not hesitated to denounce it’ (The Straits Times, 2 September 1948, 1). In relying on existing library material, the film shows events and broadcasts that may be deemed outdated within the context of the Emergency. However, The Straits Times did note the historical significance of Dr Ong Chong Keng’s murder in an article in April 1951. This murder ‘more than any other factor roused the people into realising the grim realities of terrorism’, it stated, marking the beginning of ‘Red terror in Penang’, and showing ‘at close range the cold blooded reality of the Communist menace’ (The Straits Times, 24 April 1951, 6).(source:

Ironically, the father of Tun Abdullah Badawi, Abdullah Fahim who decided the Independence date for Malaysia in 1957, he selected 31th August, which was coincidentally the same date when Dr Ong was shot. That was 9 years later.

A biography of Dr Ong Chong Keng was written by his daughter, Pamela Ong Siew Im with the title "Blood & the Soil" published by Times Books International in 1995. Pamela Ong is the wife of late Lim Kean Siew, who was a lawyer and politician, and famous personality in Penang. Pamela Ong is a lawyer, veteran sportswoman and president of the Penang Arts Council. She is the author of ‘One Man's Will’, an account on the life of Datuk Oon Jaafar, and ‘Blood and the Soil, a biography on her late father Dr Ong Chong Keng who was shot by the communists in 1948 when she was seven. She is now active in charitable work in Penang.

王宗鏡醫生- 年輕的城市之父



1936 年,年輕而充滿改革抱負的王宗鏡醫生在一場競爭激烈的槟州中華總商會會長改選裏,擊敗了保守派勁敵林清淵(林建壽律師父親)。他的勝出震驚商海,隔天的 “海峽亦果”標題形容來勢洶洶,勝利凱旋的他爲“最年輕的城市之父”(The Youngest City Father)。






(extract from Kwong Wah Daily(光华日报), by 康燈海 )

Related articles
1. Alien Orders,
2. Blood and the soil : a portrait of Dr. Ong Chong Keng, by Pamela Ong Siew Im(1995), published by Times Books International
3. To heal the sick:the story of healthcare and doctors in Penang, 1786 to 2004, by Hean Teik Ong(2004), Penang Medical Practitioners' Society
4. Malcolm MacDonald: bringing an end to empire, by Clyde Sanger(1995), published by McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP, Pg 313
5. Growing with Hong Kong: the University and its graduates : the first 90 years(2002), by University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong University Press, Chapter 2 pg 51
6. Penang Library official website ,, an article written by Dr Ong on Penang Library.
7. Obituary, Sept 18,1948,, pg 579
6. The Straits Times, 2 September 1948, pg 1 & Pg 7

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