Reviving interest in Chinese calligraphy

Ngoi writing Chinese New Year couplets at his stall at the Taman Daya morning market.

AT THE Taman Daya morning market, retiree Ngoi Ming Kiong is attracting attention by showcasing his Chinese calligraphy skills on red pieces of paper.

The 68-year-old said it was his first time setting up a stall to write Chinese New Year couplets in public as he used to do it only at home.

“I first picked up this skill when I was 10 years old, after I saw my uncle writing with a brush and ink.

“I enjoy Chinese calligraphy very much and continue to pursue it by learning from teachers to improve my skills.

“I would write Chinese New Year couplets and give them away to my family and friends every year.

“The main purpose of my setting up a stall is not to make money but to have fun and create more awareness about Chinese calligraphy, as I noticed not many people are interested in this art anymore,” he said.

He added that his stall at the morning market in Johor Baru would only be around for three weeks leading up to Chinese New Year.

After completing his Chinese calligraphy work, Ngoi hangs the red pieces of paper on a rack to dry, which also attracts the attention of morning market visitors.

He said his customers varied from the younger generation to the elderly.

“I have made many new friends and some even said they wanted to learn Chinese calligraphy from me.

“I hope that more people can pick up this skill because it has taught me patience, focus and the importance of slowing down in a fast-paced world,” he added.

Meanwhile, in Sutera Mall, shoppers were seen buying hampers and other goodies as the start of the Year of the Tiger draws near.

Housewife Chan Pei San, 37, said she enjoyed going to the mall during the festive season as the decorations put her in a festive mood.

“This is not only during Chinese New Year; I think the mall puts a lot of effort into its decorations for all major festivals, which are Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Deepavali and Christmas.

“I look forward to reuniting with my family for the lunar new year celebration in Selangor,” said Chan, adding that she bought hampers for her mother-in-law and other relatives.

Sales executive Terry Goh, 39, said he brought his two young children to the mall to watch lion dance performances by the Nam Wah Kangkar Pulai Lion Dance Troupe.

“Not only did my children enjoy the performances, I did too, because it was a refreshing change compared to last year, where we mostly stayed at home as Johor was under the movement control order back then.

“I hope everyone will have a safe celebration with their loved ones and remember to abide by the stipulated standard operating procedures to curb the spread of Covid-19,” he added.

The first day of Chinese New Year falls on Feb 1 this year.

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