I left Damai Laut just after lunch, after my friend KT Chua, got his pick-up. The weather was gorgeous, so I decided to take my time driving home. I wanted to sample the mee rebus in Teluk Intan while havong a look at the famous menara condong (leaning tower). Left the hotel at 1.45, and reached Teluk Intan ‘City’ - yes, it has city status for a few years now - just before 3 pm. Parked my car right in front of the stalls overlooking the tower. Unfortunately I cant find any stall selling mee rebus there. The one with the signs were closed at the time. Too early I guessed. I settled for some mee hailam instead. Just taking my time.
Walked across the road into the tower. It was smaller than I thought. The surrounding building forming a barrack surrounding the plaza where the tower stood did not help matters when it came to scale. Weather was gorgeous, quick snaps, then I stepped into the tower building.
Kudos to the City Council for putting effort into both preserving the building and making it accessible to the public. There were a few buses taking local an foreign visitors arriving at the plaza at the time I stepped in. All with their cameras, standing a distant away to have their pictures taken with the leaning tower behind them. Really happy to see that some of them were Malaysians. Honestly, this is the first time I have been to Teluk Intan as far as I can remember.
The tower was opened to the general public. Entrance was free, and there was a visitor’s book for you to sign in as a token for the visit. Although 7 stories high, only the bottom three were opened. The upper floor housed what used to be a water tank - for the town - that was now emptied. There was also a clock which still belled every 15 minutes. I can see the pulleys and ropes everywhere, well greased to show it was still in great working order.
According to Wikipedia, the tower was built in 1885 by a local Chinese entrepreneur. It was meant to serve as a water reservoir, a clock tower and a site where the whole town folks congregate. The tower were also lit for ships entering from the sea - Teluk Anson as it used to be called used to be a useful port town for tin and petroleum - to navigate. Over the years the erosion and silt made the river mouth shallower and Teluk Intan lost much of its business to Lumut, to its north. A few years, it was discovered that the tower was built on an underground river, causing one side of the tower to lower, causing it to tilt. It was not exactly the Leaning Tower of Pisa, but the tilt was quite obvious.
So what was there inside the tower? Old pictures and writings about the history of the town. It still need a bit of curation but the fact that the place was preserved in the first place spoke volumes. Maybe in the coming years, there will be more exhibits on the tower floors. I spent some time looking around the building itself. The World Cup fever had definitely hit the tower. Flags adorned the side of the tower and there was a small football fiesta going on on the plaza next door. I wished that I did not have a time limit as I would have loved to explore more of the local building. There were a nice mixed of colonial, Malay and Chinese architecture in the town shophouses. Would love to go there again one day for a photography day trip. It was pretty scenic if you know what you were looking for.