With the owner of
Lee Wah Jewellery Fabian Fong Mun Kwai, 53
22 January 2020
Lee Wah Jewellery 85 Jalan Bunga Raya 06-282 1234
Operating Hours: 11am - 5.30pm (except Sundays)
This business was started by my dad in the 70s. He worked for somebody, saved some money and rented a shop. When the business flourished, he bought over the shop, and it continues until now. I think a long time ago, maybe 70-80 years ago, this shop used to be a sundry shop, owned by Indians.
When I was young, I used to come here to hang around. Later after I graduated, I couldn’t go anywhere, so I came here to work. In the 1960s-70s this was the trade zone in Melaka. It used to be so vibrant. Unlike now, it’s so quiet. We hope somebody would bring up this place and make it more vibrant.
How do we grade gold? From experience, usually by colour and touch. Lower grade gold will be less yellow, a bit greenish. If you buy gold in Malaysia you’re very safe, Malaysia’s gold business is very well regulated. Any problems with the purity of gold, you’re bound to be sued or go to court if the things are not genuine. Asian countries like Malaysia and Singapore have gold content that is among the best in the world.
We get our stock from suppliers with factories in Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Johor. Our customers are from all races. Malay, Chinese, Indian, Serani and even foreigners. About 30 years ago I sold a gold wrist watch to a Japanese customer which cost about RM7,000. And I’ve sold diamonds costing 5 figures. Normally my customers will buy ready-made gold, bracelets and necklaces. Sometimes they buy gold bars.
If you have money to invest in gold, this is the time to do it. For those who don’t have the spending power, they can always buy less, 1 or 2 grams per month. Buying physical goods is way better than paper goods. Better than paper trading. And much safer. If anything happens to the bank or gold institution, it’s better to have gold in your hands than paper.
Photo Credits: Black and white photos courtesy of Fabian Fong and family