Revival in full bloom at Chinatown

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 20 Jan 2019

Bringing back old traditions: A couple checking out lime trees for the upcoming Spring Festival at REXKL Flower Market in Kuala Lumpur. Inset: Leong.

KUALA LUMPUR: Beatrice Leong has lovely recollections of the trips she used to take with her grandparents to Chinatown, where she would see crowds buying plants and flowers to prepare for the Chinese New Year.

“I have fond memories from when I was younger, where flower markets were a big thing in the area.

“I remember coming here with my grandparents and the whole street would be filled with flowers,” said Leong, whose Kuching-based family made frequent trips to Kuala Lumpur during her childhood.

This memory of flower stalls lining Petaling Street was the inspiration for the REXKL Flower Market 2019, a pop-up flower market in China­town founded by Leong, 35, and her friends.

She said the pop-up flower market was meant to remind people about Chinese New Year being a celebration of spring.

“Chinese New Year is now more about receiving ang pows, buying new clothes but it is actually a celebration of spring.

“That is why you spring clean, you look at everything anew because that is when flowers bloom again. We want to recreate this tradition,” she added.

Leong and her friends, including architects Shin Chang and Shin Tseng, however, were not only trying to revive the spirit of Chinatown flower markets of the past or of flower-buying before the New Year.

The pop-up flower market – held at the former site of the Rex Cinema – was also meant to bring back Chinatown’s glory days when people would frequent the area for both their dining and entertainment needs.

“We want to revive the site of the cinema into a community-led cultural space.

“We thought this upcoming Chinese New Year would be a great time to get into the community spirit and recreate the tradition of locals coming here to buy the plants and flowers they need for the New Year,” she said when met at the flower market on Friday.

She said while she and her friends wanted the flower market to draw the crowds back to Chinatown, they also wanted the revival of the area to benefit the existing community there.

“We’ll have a reunion dinner with the community in the middle of February.

“We want the community to feel that they are part of the development,” she said.

REXKL Flower Market 2019 is open today, Jan 25 to 27, and Feb 1 to 3, from 3pm until late.

The location is at the site of the old Rex Cinema at 80, Jalan Sultan.

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Lifestyle , CNY , flower market , tradition


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