Updated: Sep 3
Yau Tet Shin was born in Guangdong, China, in 1859. He arrived in Malaya penniless and illiterate and began working as a tin-mining coolie in Seremban. From there, he rose from rags to riches, eventually owning mines in Ampang and Kinta.
In 1891, he obtained the rights from Dato Panglima Kinta Muhammad Yusuff to build a theatre on Leech Street (Jalan Bandar). Today a coffee shop occupies the old theatre building.
In 1908, Yau Tet Shin began constructing town houses on the former paddy fields of the Dato Panglima Bukit Gantang Wahab, the beginning of the Ipoh New Town.
Dr Sun Yat Sen's wife, Lu Mu Zhen, visited Yau Tet Shin Mansion with her two daughters, Sun Yan and Sun Wan in January 1912 to rally support and raise funds for her husband's revolution against the Manchu Government in China. Chen Cuifen was also in the entourage.
Yau Tet Shin passed away in 1913, at the age of 54.
In 1962, a circular market building was built along Cowan Street (Jalan Raja Ekram) and was named the Yau Tet Shin Bazaar in his honour. The structure was demolished in 2002.
The Yau Tet Shin mansion at Jalan Panglima Bukit Gantang was used by the Anglo Chinese Girl's School in the 1920s. Today the mansion houses the Perak State Medical & Health Office (Pejabat Pengarah Perubatan dan Kesihatan).