With the owner of
Kong Wah Optical Lee Yoon Fah, 61 2nd generation owner
13 January and 12 February 2020
Kong Wah Optical 100 Jalan Munshi Abdullah
I am the owner’s son. My Dad started this business. Our shop has operated for 50 years or 60 years already. We started with the watch business then gradually we expanded our business from watch to opticals and we sell smaller accessories like pens and clocks.
At the moment we have 2 branches, one here and one more in Mahkota Parade. Actually our brand Kong Wah has been here for 50 to 60 years, it’s a family business. [There are] other Kong Wah branches in Melaka, I can’t say branch actually, it’s with the Kong Wah brand, they are all related to us. They are my uncle, my cousin, it’s our family lah.
Why did your father choose this business?
When he was young, he started repairing watches and then from that he started to sell watches. Maybe In the late 70’s, influenced by my uncle, he started the optical business.
Are you Melakan and what is your best memory in this place?
Yes I’m Melakan. 20 or 30 years ago, this area [Jalan Bunga Raya/Jalan Munshi Abdullah] was the busiest area in Melaka. Because all those shops that sell electrical parts, Chinese New Year decoration, clothing, are all located here. So, this is where everybody would come, not only for Chinese New Year but every festive season like Hari Raya, Deepavali. This whole street in Jalan Bunga Raya used to be crowded. Now this is very much less because of more shopping centres, and the crowd has actually diversified.
How big was the shop when your father started it?
Much smaller. This area used to have 15 to 20 shops, like very tiny stalls. Slowly those businesses either gave up or retired, but we are very fortunate to maintain our business.
Who will continue your business?
Hahaha, we haven’t any plans yet.
Does your customer prefer automatic or quartz watches?
What’s the most popular watch, and who buys it?
Casio G-Shock. I would say it’s mostly Malays.