The barber shop is still open for business.
The barber at work
A barber and his tools
Gnasergaran in his shop
Gnasergaran contemplating the future in the ghost town

A 66-year-old barber decides to stay put in Pekan Kampung Kepayang Sungai Raia despite it almost becoming a ghost town, writes Effendy Rashid

WHILE other businesses in the building have moved out, 66-year-old R. Gnasergaran stays put at the 132-year-old crumbling, wooden shophouse at Pekan Kampung Kepayang Sungai Raia in Sungai Pulai, near Ipoh.

He’s a second-generation barber who has learnt his trade from his father, M. Ramaya, and has been doing so for the past 52 years.

His loyal customers are not only satisfied with his service but do not complain that he is staying put at the dilapidated building.

Gnasergaran has no qualms staying back in the near-ghost town, where he has been living since young.

According to him, the town used to be a busy hub during the heyday of the tin mining era. It was believed to have been founded by Toh Sedewa Wahab Domba, a Orang Kaya Enam Belas appointed by the then Perak Sultan.

The town used to serve as a trading centre for passing ships until 1953. Sungai Raia was the main hub for the people and traders throughout Pengkalan Pegoh, Pengkalan Baru and Pengkalan Tekah, to get daily fresh supplies of meat and fish and to trade in rubber and tin.

pictures by Effendy Rashid

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