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The town centre of Gopeng
Gopeng is a town located in Mukim Teja, Kampar District, Perak, Malaysia. It is situated approximately 20 km south of Ipoh, the state capital. The town is located on the west side of the North-South Expressway stretch of Tapah-Simpang Pulai. The limestone hills and the Titiwangsa Mountains are clearly visible; the expressway penetrates between them and the view of the Tapah-Gopeng stretch is one of the most picturesque areas on the west side of Peninsular Malaysia.
Once this town was bustling with tin miners and locals who busied themselves with the great tin mining industry of Malaysia until the collapse of the tin empire in 1980s. The name for Gopeng was named by a Chinese called Mo Peng (毛兵), but the British changed its name to Go Peng as the name is hard to pronounce. According to locals, there were once French, British and local tin mining companies developing tin mine industry there. Among them was called the Osbourne & Chappel which opened its franchise here in one of Gopeng's rich tin mine. Both locals and immigrants worked there. People started to flee the town and seek better opportunities in neighboring towns and cities soon after the collapse of the 1980s.
However, the love towards the town has never been faded and now Gopeng already flourished with heritage, cuisine and eco-tourism attractions developed by the locals themselves. Gopeng is also well known for limestone caves such as Gua Tempurung, located approximately 5 km from the town centre.
- 1 Member Parliament Gopeng
- 2 Significant landmarks
- 3 Town layout
- 4 Business and commerce
- 5 Attractions
- 6 Transportation
- 7 Public health
- 8 Demographics
- 9 Cuisines
- 10 Religious congregational buildings
- 11 Education
- 12 Notable residents
- 13 External links
Member Parliament Gopeng
Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR)
Pusat Khidmat Ahli Parlimen Gopeng dan ADUN Kawasan Gopeng.
93, Jalan Tasik, Pekan Gopeng, 31600 Gopeng, Negeri Perak.
Tel: +605-359 1766
Gopeng is often affiliated with the old mine giant water pipes stretching above the trunk road, Jalan Gopeng, between the Shell Gas Station and Masjid Baru Gopeng. The rusty pipes channeled the water all the way from the hill slopes into the tin mines in the lowlands which is now Gopeng. Locals called it Paip Besar (Malay), literally, "huge pipes" in English. Although there are no more mining activities, the giant pipes remained intact on the original stilts and became a significant landmark for recognizing Gopeng. However, in July 2010, most of the pipes were removed for scrap metal, leaving just a small section at the side of the main road - the ones that crossed over the road were removed.
Gopeng and its surrounding population is also known for an extremely high concentration of Rao people, with their famous Rao Dialect (Chakok Rao), the Adet Bojojak (Adat Berjejak in standard Bahasa Melayu), the Kelamei (a type of Rao distinctive cuisine) and the all-time favourite, Gulei Nangko (Gulai Nangka or Nangka Masak Lemak in standard Malay). The Rao are closely related to the Minang and Mandailing, instead of the Malays. Both the Rao and the Malays are exclusively distinguished culturally, particularly in language and cuisines.
In the central area of Gopeng, there is an old bus station. There are mosques, Buddhist temples, Hindu temples and a Sikh temple located near each other. The Gopeng Police Station is located near the Gopeng Post Office and a field named as Padang Bandaran Gopeng. This area is considered the central area of Gopeng since the field is essential for the locals for various occasions, especially for local soccer matches and other special events. Central Gopeng is filled with old pre-war shophouses which are extremely valuable for conservation and perhaps tourist attractions.
Among the most recognized places in the town centre, particularly nearby the Gopeng Bus Station is the Alif Cafe Restaurant, the local post office, the police station, Giat Mara Gopeng, Padang Bandaran Gopeng, Pasaraya Ku, the Goodyear Tyre Workshop and newly opened Indian restaurant Hega's Spice. The Podal Video Rental Service is located along the same row of shophouse of the Pasaraya Ku. There are local tailors and a brand new bundle shop located nearby the area. A newly opened stationery shop is located opposite the driving school office at the High Street.
Business and commerce
There are two banks operating at the centre of the town, the BSN (Bank Simpanan Nasional) and the RHB Bank. A newly opened Pasaraya Ku is located exactly next to the town bus station. It became one of the large all in one mini supermarket in Gopeng replacing the Soon Hing Supermarket which is now has ceased operation in High Street. There are also several hair salons both the traditional Indian barbers and the modern hip hair salon operated by locals. There are also a few gold stores in the town and numerous convenient stores located all around the town.
Once, Gopeng had a cinema, an old wooden building which was situated at the town's only roundabout now. After the cinema left defunct, it started to decay and finally demolished, creating a vacant land. At that time during the 1990s, mobile theme park was held there with merry-go-round and the Ferris wheel. Soon after, a roundabout was created and new row of modern shop houses started to be built at the foundation of the old cinema. There is not even a single portion of the old cinema left to be preserved. However the Wayang Lane (Lorong Wayang) name is derived from the late cinema itself commemorating the glory and almost forgotten history of the one and only Gopeng's cinema.
Medan Purnama is a mini business centre comprising small restaurants, computer workshop and a few smaller kiosks. It is located on the same foundation of the Old Gopeng wet market which was redeveloped in mid-1990s. The people of Gopeng now have a larger and proper wet market located at the edge of Jalan Tasik (High Street).
Adilkap Sdn Bhd is located along Lorong Tasik (High Land), just next to the RHB Bank Gopeng, operating the JPJ driving license test compound as well as driving lessons for beginners.
Other commercial activities equally dispersed into restaurants, hawker stalls, photo studios, workshops and convenient stores.
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Gopeng Guesthouse is the only bed and breakfast in Gopeng. Based on simplicity, the concept is Malay traditional ‘kampong’ house. In addition to providing accommodations and books for exchange, the guesthouse offers outdoor activities such as whitewater rafting, waterfall abseiling, river tubing, sunset hiking, and cave exploration. They also organise cultural trips to the nearest Orang Asli Village and food trip for food lovers. The trips are designed to benefit the local communities and the environment. Their trips enable the tourists to explore the environment and mingle with the local communities so that they will be aware of the social value placed on their natural and cultural heritage to foster community-based conservation.
The guesthouse is located directly across from Gopeng bus station.
There are daily intercity bus services. The Kinta Omnibus runs between Kampar, Kota Baru Estate, Batu Gajah, Gopeng and the Ipoh Bus Station at Medan Kidd. There is only one known public bus commuter service in Gopeng. Express bus services from various locations will generally pick and drop passengers in Gopeng, many of these express buses are en route to Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Penang to the north. Taxi services are also available in Gopeng, they are stationed at the Gopeng Bus Station.
There are no public hospitals in Gopeng. Many of its residents depend on private clinics operated by various doctors. There are seven registered local medical practitioners under the National Medical Research Register of Malaysia in various parts of the town, including the rural settlements.
Gopeng is a multi-cultural society. The majority of Gopeng's residents are ethnic Chinese.
It is believed that there are more than 100,000 people, consisting of the Orang Asli (Semai), Malays (native Perakian Malays, Rawa and Mandailing), Chinese (Cantonese) and Indians (Tamils and Sikh Punjabis).
The once booming tin mining industry attracted many Chinese immigrants to live and work in Gopeng along with the British occupation of Tanah Melayu. The huge influx of Chinese migrants dwarfed the local Malay population. There are also significant numbers of people of Indian descent (mainly Tamil), Malay and Orang Asli (Peninsular Malaysia's indigenous people) living in Gopeng.
Gopeng is well known nationwide for its Rawa community which is believed to be the center of the Rawa in Malaysia. There are a significant number of Rawa descendants reside in Gopeng. From Kampung Gunung Mesah Hulu and Kampung Gunung Mesah Hilir to Kampong Rawa, Kampung Jelintoh to Kota Baru Estate, the Rawa people resided here for centuries, long before the tin mines were established. Gopeng is actually the name of the town center, not the entire area. Earlier settlements such as Sungai Itik, Jahang, Kampong Pulai, Gunong Mesah, Gunong Panjang, Culik and dozens of other settlements were opened by Rawa and Mandailing settlers centuries earlier.
The Rawa people are sub-ethnic from the larger group of the Malay race (bangsa Nusantara) who speak with a noticeable different form of language from the standard Bahasa Melayu (Malay Peninsula Standard), similar to the other variations of Bahasa Melayu dialects around Malaysia like the Northern or Kedahan, Perakian, Terengganese, Sabahan, Pahangnite, Sarawakian, Kelantanese and the Minang (Negeri Sembilan). The Rawa dialect is well preserved in Gopeng, for many of its Rawa residents are concerned with conserving the Rawa dialect. The Rawa people speaks Rao Language with certain words and dialect resembling the Negeri Sembilan's Minangkabau community.
The Rawa people and the Rawa dialect are thriving in almost every Rawa settlements in Gopeng. Genuine Rawa dialect could be found in villages neighboring the Gopeng town area. Famous cuisine associated with the Rawa is Kelamai, Gulei Lomak Nangko (Gulai Nangka), and Rondang Atok (Rendang Tok), which are still available in Gopeng, particularly during wedding ceremonies and festive seasons. Among the best known tradition of the Rawa is Adet Berjojak (Adat Berjejak).
Durian is the most anticipated fruit season in Gopeng, with dozens of stalls erected in various parts of Gopeng town and numerous Malay villages around Gopeng. The rambutan, langsat and nangka are also popular during the fruit season. People will usually stop and buy these local fruits along their way from Ipoh to Kampar. Self-erected fruit stalls will be visible from the trunk road along the areas from the Gopeng Exit PLUS Expressway Toll to Gunong Mesah.
Gopeng Lai Fun or rice noodles is a well known dish locally, particularly among the Chinese community in Gopeng and surrounding towns. It is best served with laksa and homemade tauhu. Gopeng tauhu is distinguished with its darker top rather than ordinary tauhu which is light brown.
During Aidilfitri holidays, the Kelamai becomes the highlight of the day and it became the signature cuisine of the Malays in Gopeng. The Kelamai partly resembles the Lemang but Kelamai is treated with tedious care and complicated procedures of preparing the bamboo and its contents. It tastes sweeter than Lemang with the addition of red sugar, and the Kelamai is in dark brown in colour. People have to crack open the bamboo just like the Lemang itself to have its contents to be served for the guests. In other variations, coconut floss are also served on top of the sliced Kelamai to add to the sweetness.
Besides the Kelamai, Gulai Nangka is also well known as a local Malay favorite. It is usually served at most local Malay wedding ceremonies. Gulai, also known as Masak Lemak, is a yellowish gravy with numerous variation in its contents. The Gopeng Malays use the jackfruit or Nangka (in Malay) instead of meat or vegetables. Gulai Nangka is best served hot, together with white rice, belacan, and ulam.
Religious congregational buildings
Mosques, Madrasahs and Surau
There are dozens of mosques in Gopeng and its outskirts, mainly in the Malay concentrated neighborhood including those remotely located. There are mosques, madrasahs and a handful of surau as well. Most of the local Muslims attend their Friday Prayers weekly at the major town mosques such as the Masjid Baru Gopeng and Masjid Ar-Rahman located in Gunung Mesah Hilir area. These mosques were also used for small community services for the local Muslims of all races.
- Masjid Al-Azim Kampung Gunung Panjang
- Masjid Al-Mardhiah Kampung Sungai Itek
- Masjid Ar-Rahman Kampung Gunung Mesah Hilir
- Masjid Jamek Gopeng
- Masjid Baru Gopeng
- Masjid Jamek Kota Baru Kota Baru
- Masjid Kampung Changkat Legong Kota Baru
- Masjid Kampung Changkat Tualang Kota Baru
- Masjid Kampung Redang Sawa Kota Baru
- Madrasah Ihsaniah Kampung Tersusun Kampung Pulai, Kampung Tersusun Kampung Pulai
- Madrasah Al-Muttaqin Taman Gopeng Baru, Taman Gopeng Baru
- Madrasah Lama Kampung Lawan Kuda, Kampung Lawan Kuda
The Gopeng Kuan Yin Temple which is located next to the Gopeng Fire Station is believed to be 137 years old since used by the local Buddhist for prayers and religious activities. It was recently refurbished to enhance its charm and glory. There is also another one located in Kopisan.
There are many Hindu temples in Gopeng and the most prominent located at the entrance of the Gopeng town, just to the right of the Gopeng Road uphill, next to the Sikh Temple. It is called the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple of Gopeng. There is also another Hindu temple in Kopisan which is called Arulmigu Maha Muthu Mariamman Thevasthanam and lastly at kota bahru. It is called Sri Maha Mariamman Temple, Kota Bahru
The Sikh Temple of Gopeng or the Gudwara Sahib Gopeng is located next to the Hindu temple at the entrance of Gopeng town centre, near to the Taman Changkat Golf and a row of shop houses.
Gopeng has several schools such as:
- SK Gunung Panjang, Kampung Gunung Panjang, Gopeng
- SRK Gopeng Jalan Ilmu (Sekolah Rendah Kebangsaan Gopeng Jalan Ilmu)
- SK Gopeng (Sekolah Kebangsaan Gopeng)
- SRK Sungai Itek (Sekolah Rendah Kebangsaan Sungai Itek)
- SRJK(C) Man Ming Gopeng (Sekolah Rendah Jenis Kebangsaan Cina Man Ming Gopeng)
- SRJK(C) New Kopisan Gopeng (Sekolah Rendah Jenis Kebangsaan Cina New Kopisan Gopeng)
- SRJK(C) Lawan Kuda (Sekolah Rendah Jenis Kebangsaan Cina Lawan Kuda Gopeng)
- SRJK(T) Gopeng (Sekolah Rendah Jenis Kebangsaan Tamil Gopeng)
- SMK Idris Shah Gopeng (Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Idris Shah Gopeng)
- SMK Seri Teja Gopeng (Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Seri Teja Gopeng)
- SBPI Gopeng (Sekolah Berasrama Penuh Intergrasi Gopeng)
There is a matriculation college, Kolej Matrikulasi Perak (KMP), located near the small town of Kota Baru Station, in the outskirt of central Gopeng. Located on a small hill in an oil palm estate, KMP is well known for its breathtaking scenery overlooking the Titiwangsa Mountains and numerous limestone hills especially on a clear day.
- Malaysian cartoonist Datuk Mohammad Nor Khalid, also known as Lat, was born in the small village of Kota Baru, (not the state capital of Kelantan) on 5 March 1951. Most of his cartoons portray the daily life of Malaysians in various perspectives and are published in mainstream newspapers such as the New Straits Times. One of his famous Kampung Boy books was published by the French. Kampung Boy was also adapted into an animated series on local and international television.
- Datuk Abdul Aziz Shamsuddin is the former Minister of Rural & Regional Development (31 March 2004 – 17 March 2008), a Rawa descendant of Gopeng, also the UMNO Gopeng Division Chief.
- Amir Sofea, ex-singer rock band (Sofea) originally from Kampung Gunung Panjang.
- The grandparents of the Malaysian rap trio KRU are the resident of Kampung Tersusun Kopisan Baru. Their grandfather named Abdul Wahab Fenner @ James Thomas Fenner died in 2006.
- Dr Sun Yat Sen, the leader of the historic Chinese revolutionary leader, stayed in Gopeng briefly during the period 1909-1911.
- Akil Hayy, "Ustaz Rock" ex-singer for rock band (D'Riyadh), originally from Kampung Gunung Mesah Hilir.
- Mr. Eu Kong Pui (1853–1892), founder of the traditional Chinese herbal medicine under the title of "Eu Yan Sang"
- Rashid Maidin was born on October 10, 1917 in Kampung Gunung Mesah Hilir, Gopeng. He was one of the senior leaders in the Malayan Communist Party during the Second World War. He died at the age of 89 on September 1, 2006 in Sisakoin, Narathiwat, Thailand.
- The grandfather of the champions of Akademi Fantasia, Season 8 finale concert, Shahir AF8 is the resident of Gopeng, Perak.
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