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Towkay Lau Ek Ching JP
Lau Ek Ching, born in 1880 in Fuzhou, Fujian province, was one of the Chinese elite in Ipoh in the pre war era. He became the Secretary and Attorney of Foo Choo Choon, gained success as a miner and became influential in the Perak Chamber of Commerce. He was one of their members to lobby the British Resident in 1925 to address the urgent problem of flooding. He joined the Kinta Sanitary Board in 1924 and became President of the Chinese Philanthropic Society and Honorary Secretary of the Perak Chinese Maternity Association. He was made Justice of the Peace in 1927 for his services to Perak.
When the price of tin and rubber fell dramatically in 1929 Lau Ek Ching actively lobbied the government again seeking action to overcome the difficulties experienced by the miners and planters.
In the late 1920's Lau Ek Ching became a property developer and was influential in establishing the layout of the town through his work on the Town Planning Committee. In recognition of his contribution to the development of Ipoh he had a street named after him within the development of and elegant neighbourhood of Townhouses which he built between Anderson Road and Cowan Street (in the 1930's) in Ipoh New Town. He was the owner of the Ruby Theatre building, custom-built by him to be leased to the very experienced cinema manager, Ong Ee Lim.
English educated and a Christian he was buried in the Methodist cemetery in Connolly Road.
Towkay Lau Ek Ching had a mansion built for himself and his family at Jalan Pasir Pinji, Ipoh. Sadly, after he had passed away in 1957 and the value of tin had dropped the building deteriorated. Consequently in 1976, the condition was such that it required significant finance to bring it back to a safe and habitable state. Therefore, the Towkay’s granddaughter, Patricia, made the decision to sell the property for demolition.
After the sale, we understand that Patricia continued to live in Ipoh.
To read more about the Ruby Theatre, click here.
To see pictures from Lau Ek Ching's funeral, click here.
To read more about Lau Ek Ching Street, click here.