Quek Sze Ming

Accountant at Anyang Lantern Shop

“Only in Melaka, Chinese would hang the red cloth for 1st day until the 15th day of Chinese New Year. That’s what I know, from the eldest who told me.”

The Lantern Counter

Mr Quek politely decline to have his photo taken

Good morning Mr. Quek, can you introduce yourself?
Morning, I am working here since 2005. Their business here is own family business. Original business is tailoring, they are major is there. After that we do sell some decorations and handicraft and until now we are doing a festival decoration for season.

How long this business operate?
Not sure but since young I was here and they already selling. I think around 40 years lah.

How many branches do you have?
We have 2 branches only, 3 including the main one.

Mostly, who are your customers?
Mostly are tailors, for tailoring articles, now a lot of students, as what I know, those students who learn tailor, so they will drop in to get their material for project or any other learning material. For the festivals season and decoration, although they are hotels or housing, who want to decorate their houses or hotels. They will come drop by, take a look and buy. I am not sure who are they actually but walk-in customers mostly households, hotels, everybody lah. Because Melaka is cultural places, right?

How busy your business for this coming Chinese New Year?
Not as busy as previous year because now the competition, you know? Now a lot of people, they came in, everyone can do a business, even though they can do business online. As what I can see, previous year, you can do quite a lot but now declining, every year declaiming because now this a lot people doing an online business. Online business is really affected a lot of those shops, that’s what I know lah.

Where did you get the material?
We get it from China, most 100%. Before that, around 10 or 20 years ago, the stock we get from Taiwan and Thailand but the cost most effective is from China.

Are you Melakan?

What is your best memory in Melaka?
Best memory in Melaka since young, I like the seaside at Mahkota Parade when haven’t been built yet, that’s all sea, I like that. That’s my best memories and Klebang Kechil. This place is not very familiar.

How about your best memory about this place, this shop?
My best memory in this shop during festive season, this time you can see a lot of people, different people, different cultures. They came in to buy some decoration and some eldest (as what I know), they insist on doing certain decoration for traditional culture. They come to buy some really traditional items like Ang Chai [red cloth]. Only in Melaka, all the houses of Chinese will hanging the red clothes during Chinese New Year. Others state I am not sure, because as I know in KL, they don’t use it, they use only when they move into their house. Only in Melaka, Chinese would hang the red cloth for 1st day until the 15th day of Chinese New Year. That’s what I know, from the eldest who told me. Like my classmates from other state, they don’t use the red cloth for Chinese New Year.

What about the material of the cloth? Is it using one type of material?
In here we are selling 2 types of the material, the soft one, like rubber cloth and the rough one. Depends on the customers, some of them will like to put some decorations to make it more creative. Some of them would put flowers on it but seldom lah, maybe they put more organza and flower.

What the red cloth call in Chinese?
Ang Chai, this is the special in Melaka. In Melaka during Chinese New Year day 1 until 15 hanging the red cloth. Others state people using it for moving to a new house lah. And the Melakan style of red cloth from top to bottom [full], in other states they put half way or top only. This what I know, the special of Melaka. Other than that, like prayers depends on their dialect, like Hokkien they have their cultural prayers or something like that. On the 9th day or 8th day night, they having their own prayers, they put sugar cane and special decoration of tablecloth.

Thank You Mr Quek