‘Durians’ for the departed

Just as prickly: Shieh holding the paper durian, his first time making them for the Hungry Ghost Festival. — THOMAS YONG/The Star

JOHOR BARU: The King of Fruits is on the “menu” this Hungry Ghost Festival.

These paper durians – complete with prickly thorns and stalks – are the latest masterpiece of prayer paraphernalia shop owner Raymond Shieh.

He said it was his first time making durians for the month-long festival, which starts tomorrow.

“A customer who came all the way from Pontian (about 70km from here) asked for a basket of durians for her late father, who used to grow and pick the fruit before he passed away.

“It took me about a week to produce the rattan basket filled with seven durians.

“I wanted the thorns to be prickly to make it more convincing so I rolled the paper into a cone shape before attaching them one by one onto the main body,” he told The Star in an interview.

According to Shieh, the customer was overjoyed at the sight of the finished product.

During the Hungry Ghost Festival, on the 15th day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar on Aug 12, paper offerings such as hell notes, houses and cars are usually burnt for loved ones and wandering spirits to satisfy their needs in the netherworld.

Shieh, who studied graphic design in college, started his prayer paraphernalia business in Taman Ehsan Jaya here eight years ago.

Last year, he tried his hands at making the “Covid-19 vaccines” as his customers had wished for their departed loved ones to be protected from the pandemic too.

Shieh said there were more orders for unconventional “hungry ghost gifts” this year, adding that he had also produced a fishing rod, a pair of badminton racquets and shuttlecock”.

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Hungry Ghost Festival , durian , spirits


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