PREPARING for the upcoming Chinese New Year is not easy especially when it comes to spring cleaning and decorating the house.
Despite the long list of chores, many shoppers StarMetro met in SS2, Petaling Jaya are excited to usher in the Year of the Rat and share the joy with their friends and colleagues too.
Human resources senior executive Mabel Liew, who was looking for decorative items for her workplace, made a trip to SS2 as she felt it offered everything she needed.
“We don’t need to travel from one shop to another as we can get decorations and oranges here, ” she said.
Liew, who hails from Kuching, Sarawak, said prices of festive goods in SS2 were more affordable than at malls and there was a variety of choices.
Her colleague Nur Afiqah Ahmad Zawawi admitted it was her first time buying decorative items for the occasion and was awed by the selection available.
“There are so many things here that we want to get, we don’t know where to start, ” said Nur Afiqah, who works in Bukit Damansara, Kuala Lumpur.
She added that she had only recently learned about the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac from Liew.
“It is interesting to find out so many things in a short period of time but that makes us Malaysian, we learn about different cultures and religions by celebrating the occasion together, ” she said.
Stalls selling decorative materials saw on display rows of cards, soft toys, ang pow packets, lanterns and paintings of Chinese writings of good luck and prosperity wishes.
Sales executive Annie Wong also enjoyed the variety of decorations on sale.
“In my office, we decorate our desks as well and it is often difficult to find trinkets at affordable pricing, but I am happy to have found many here, ” said Wong.
Cary Ng, who manages a stall in the business centre, was waiting for last-minute shoppers this year as the school holidays would begin only on Jan 23.
“Many families prefer to shop later as they are still busy with work, ” said Ng, who sells decorative items for the festival.
However, she said those who had more time in hand or have to decorate their offices have been visiting her shop since it opened for business this month.
For mandarin orange seller Boon Lim, sales have been slower this year as the supply from China has dropped.
“We do not get many oranges this year and those available are smaller, ” said Lim, adding that prices were also steeper compared with previous years.
Many of his customers who were looking for the fruit were unhappy when they found out that per box now cost between RM13 and RM58.
“Last year we had varieties from as low as RM9 a box and customers return looking for it, thinking we have the same promotion this year, ” he said.
Besides mandarin oranges, Lim also sold durian, which coincidentally was still in season.
“Our customers can still get durian here but not many so we make up by selling other fruits to compliment the occasion such as locally grown pomelos and pears from South Korea, ” he said.
At noon, many customers who stopped their vehicles in front
of the stall were seen buying in bulk between five to 10 boxes each to be shared with friends and colleagues.
“We are getting 15 boxes to give to our clients as well as to share with our friends in the office, ” said Sandra Tan, who was seen buying the fruits with a colleague.
The pricing, Tan said, was acceptable and cheaper compared to shopping malls.
“The owners here allow us to open the box and check the oranges before paying, we can’t do that in the mall, ” she said.
Meanwhile those selling bak kwa (dried red meat) are expecting a long queue of customers when the celebration draws closer.
“Shoppers only get it a few days before the new year to take it back to their home town, ” said an operator who was busy grilling the meat while his workers weighed meat floss and other snacks at the stall.
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