On July 11, 2015, local community leaders took a baby step to revitalise Market Lane or what was known as “Sam Lai Hong”, Cantonese for “Second Concubine Lane”.
Market Lane now joins Lorong Panglima (Concubine Lane or Yi Lai Hong in Cantonese) as the only two streets in Ipoh with road signages in Chinese.
Market Lane, believed to be established in 1894, similar to Panglima Lane (1908), the shop houses along this street were where tin tycoons kept their second concubines.
History has it that these two lanes (Panglima Lane and Market Lane), plus Wife Lane (now Lorong Hale) were owned by Towkay (Boss) Yau Tet Shin and the rental income from these properties was managed by his wife and respective concubines.
With the success of Lorong Panglima as a new tourist destination in this old section of Ipoh, where the majority of the shops have been refurbished and repurposed, it is hoped that interest in the area will spread to neighbouring streets so that more people in the community get to enjoy the benefits of tourism.
At this point, the attraction of Market Lane is just in its history and background, an area notorious for opium dens, gambling houses and brothels.
Over time, I believe that with the participation of local residents, Market Lane will be as popular as Panglima Lane.
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