A Malaysian Adventure
I was born in Kuala Lipis on the 19th of January, 1939--just before the outbreak of the 2nd World War.
Kuala Lipis was the State capital of the State of Pahang, Malaya. It was a lovely little town, nestled among the the hills of the Main Range mountains (Titiwangsa) of Malaya. It was a place tucked away among the lush, green, tropical rain forest. The town was built on the confluence of 2 major rivers of the country--the Pahang River, and the Jelai River. These rivers were full of fresh fish, and ideal for fishing, swimming, and boating--but there was also the danger of crocodiles!
Kuala Lipis had all the facilities of a State capital, but the town itself was small! The main part of the town was made up of 3 streets. Main Street was on higher ground, and Jelai Street was on lower ground, and it was on the bank of the Jelai River. It was in the shape of a crescent. And directly in the middle, was Cross Street. It connected the Main Street to the Jelai Street. At the point where Main Street and Cross Street connected, was an open space. This was the place where the Bus Station was located. And next to it, was the Railway Station. On one end of Main Street, was the Market and the Post Office, at the other end of the Main Street was the Police Station and the Fire Brigade Station. Main Street was where you could get all your groceries, provisions, photographic equipment, stationery, tailors and sewing materials, jewellers, and so on. Jelai Street was where you would find all of the craftsmen--tin and iron smiths, cobblers, tailors, carpenters, etc. And Cross Street was the delight of every child--that was where you found the hawkers, ice cream and iced-drinks, food stalls, and all kinds of preserved fruits to satisfy the variety of different tastes!
This was the town that my Papa had chosen to come to live in. This was 1926, and Papa had come all the way from Ceylon (Sri Lanka).