Ipohworld's World

Saving Yesterday For Tomorrow
  1. Ngai C O says:

    Hi,

    I am sitting on a wooden one bought for me some years back. HaHaHa.

    Take a while to get used to as the body has to adjust itself to the contour of the body. Once the body aligns itself, one would like feel more comfortable. Sometimes I also take nine winks.

    Certainly not a common sight nor sought after by today’s generations.

  2. Ipoh Remembered says:

    Dear felicia

    Is that rocking-chair made of rattan? I remember lots of rattan furniture in Malaya. It was exotic to Westerners at the time, but nowadays one sees as much of it, or maybe more, in London and Paris and New York!

    Since mediæval times international trade has always been an agent of change. For example, it was the lure of spices that first brought the mercenary West to South-east Asia.

    Today, in our complex society, virtually everyone needs to trade — but some people want “free trade” whereas others want “fair trade.”

    In Ipoh in the ’50s, in the Gunong Rapat area not far from the aerodrome, there used to be a workshop where blind people made a range of items including baskets and small items of furniture out of rattan, selling these products to visitors for not very much money. At that time no economist in the world was thinking of “fair trade” — but of course those blind people were silently hoping for it: their livelihoods were at stake.

    At the time, Ipoh’s workshop was considered rather advanced, both in the way it was financed and operated and in the way blind people were trained and enabled to fend for themselves. Moreover, the items made and sold were of high quality. Do you know if the workshop is still there? Do the workers now get a fair deal for their skill and their effort?

    • Ngai C O says:

      Hi,

      Shutters have come down on most Rattan shops in Ipoh, including the popular one a few doors from Kong Heng, if I am not mistaken.

      It seems to belong to yester years. In its place is Ikea type stuff or leather.

      Although Rattan lasts generations and has been handed down time and time again, the set that I grew up on has long gone many years ago, given away free. Has it survived !???!!!

      • Ipoh Remembered says:

        Dear Ngai C O

        I’m surprised and disappointed to hear that most rattan shops in Ipoh have closed down.

        Surprised because I’d have thought the export trade would now be profitable. Perhaps costs are even lower in China?

        Above I mentioned Ipoh’s old workshop for the blind. Do you know if it still exists?

  3. Ngai C O says:

    Hi Ipoh Remembered,

    Google Passion for rattan – Community – I Star.

    A rattan furniture maker’s story tells all about the industry.

    There is no demand either locally or globally.

    One may wish it weren’t the case.

    Rattan furniture may have its aesthetic values but it is difficult to blend in with modern decor and tastes…..

    Unless a clever soul comes out with some designs that appeal the palate.

    In contrast wicker baskets can easily fit in to modern tastes.

    • Ipoh Remembered says:

      Dear Ngai C O

      Thanks for the link you provided. I have not yet looked at it but I will do so.

      Meanwhile, here …

      https://tinyurl.com/rattanchairs

      … is a pair of old-style rattan arm-chairs for sale, asking price USD 5000.

      Yes, five thousand dollars for two arm-chairs.

      And here’s a less substantial chair …

      https://tinyurl.com/onechair

      … offered at USD 300.

      I don’t know what keeps Ipoh’s craftsmen out of the market. Perhaps the link you provided will explain. Thanks again.

  4. S.Y. says:

    I used to have a set of rattan furniture – one rattan table with glass top, one three seater sofa and two arm chairs. Cost me about RM400. It was in the 1970s. It was lasting but I do not remember whether I gave it away. There was a shop in Jalan Bandar Timah, Ipoh where they sell rattan furniture and repair them. It got a bit expensive with the costs of the repairs. I then discovered a partial shop in Pasir Pinji where this 60 years old man (he was a bachelor) who repair them at a lower cost. Both these shops are no longer around. In answer to Ipoh Remembered question as to what keep these craftsmen out of the market. Firstly, it is tedious work and to weave the rattan is not easy besides being taking a toll on your hands and fingers. It requires skill and the younger generation is not prepared to spend time to learn the trade.

    I also had a rattan rocking chair though I preferred my wooden rocking chair. Nowadays, we do not see furniture of solid wood – everything plastic or synthetic materials.

  5. Ipoh Remembered says:

    Thanks for your comment, S.Y..

    In answer to Ipoh Remembered question as to what keep these craftsmen out of the market. Firstly, it is tedious work and to weave the rattan is not easy besides being taking a toll on your hands and fingers. It requires skill and the younger generation is not prepared to spend time to learn the trade.

    Yes, I see.

    I also looked at the newspaper article that Ngai C O mentioned above and got the impression that in some cases, even though skill is not lacking, a lack of capital may be a factor.

    Meanwhile it seems that craftsmen in Indonesia, India, Thailand, and elsewhere are still making these products for the export market. I imagine they do not get much of the profits.

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