Saturday, November 19, 2011


The Trishaw of SMI Ice-Cream Man -A Piece of Fond Memory
We ran a story about Mohd Ali, the St Michael's ice-cream man on October 18, 2007.
"....At the foodcourt, SMI ice-cream man always cuts a lonely figure. He is also a man of few words and because of that, not many people know that his name is Mohd Ali. That lonely man of 82 is not lonely anymore. He is now back in India, a country where he came from when he was a very young man. His wife and two daughters are still there."
All the years of selling ice-cream, Mohd Ali had not used any motorised vehicles to transport his weighty metal container to and from school to his Kinta Height flat - a distance of at least a km. For five days a week, Mohd Ali (imagine his age) would cycle on his trishaw(beca), struggling on his pedal power when he encountered the slopes and patiently enduring the blaring horns from vehicles when he moved too slow. He had to cycle from the school to the French Bakery every two days to get fresh stock of bread as "he knew pupils and teachers alike like it".

Those Were The Years ...The Ice-Cream Man (right) and Pakcik Din, Bus Man
All the years of hardship had somehow weakened him and that contributed to his frequent bouts of asthmatic attacks. "It was getting very serious early this year, rendering him very fragile and weak. Still he wanted to come to school to sell. The noodle man, Ah Fatt, helped him greatly by carrying his goods to school," Solaiappan said, adding that Mohd Ali would just sit at his stall and attending to his young and eager customers.
Solaiappan is SMI Kacang Putih Man.
His health deteriorated further in June 2007. Mohd Ali decided to vacate his humble abode at the flat and to return to India. He was also advised by his sons-in-law who are working in Johor and KL to stop working for good. At last, he relented.
SMI ice cream man left behind only two items in St Michael's. One is his faithful trishaw, the other is our sweet memory of this faithful old man, one who has spent virtually his entire life in St Michael's.
 Mohd Ali had to go without saying goodbye to all Michaelians. Deep down, Mohd Ali considers himself a son of St Michael's and he left with a very heavy heart.
 "He spoke highly of the school, the Brothers and the old boys. He remembers Brother Paul and Brother Vincent vividly and always spoke on the ways they managed the school. His greatest joy was being able to serve here in St Michael's," Solaiappan said.
Note: Ice-Cream Man passed away not long after this article was written.

A gift from Mr Yeap to the Michaelian Heritage Gallery
As we have mentioned, he left behind a trishaw. I have been tracing Mohd Ali's trishaw for years. It was last year that Brother Matthew informed me that Mr Yeap Mok Chin, currently running a fruit stall at the SMI foodcourt was in possession of the trishaw.
"Mohd Ali asked me whether I want to buy the "beca". He was willing to part with it as he was going back to India. He said he has no intention to return to Malaysia," Mr Yeap recalled.
Mr Yeap offered the Ice-Cream man RM50 and he readily accepted. My Yeap has been taking care of the trishaw for the past 5 years. We are grateful that Mr Yeap is willing to donate the trishaw to the Michaelian Heritage Gallery for posterity.
We are going to send the trishaw for restoration because the metal frame is heavily rusted. Further deterioration may cause the frame and other parts to break off.
Our efforts to preserve all things Michaelian are worth-while. We will keep all of you posted soon on this story.

"Cherishing Our Past, Embracing The Future"
Thank you and Happy Holidays!
Signing off,
Peter Khiew

November 27, 2011- After being refurbished, we plan to display the trishaw in the Heritage Gallery. Visitors can then pose for pictures with this masterpiece.

1 comment:

Ivan Tan said...

I used to have ice-cream with my friends when we were in the afternoon session...

Any idea where will the trishaw be located?