Just a little thought…
When my groupmates and I have decided to focus on joss paper for our project, I was excited yet scared at the same time. Since young, I have buried all inquisitive thoughts to myself and have never dared to ask my parents in details about joss paper. I once believed that keeping silent and being ignorant accrue to respect for the spirits and deities. I am definitely glad that I had the chance to interview the amiable Mr Yeo Hung Teo and of course… Ask anything and everything that I have always wondered about!
It was very kind and sweet of Mr Yeo to fork out his precious time (when he could use the time to paint his lanterns) to explain to us his field of work. He even went the extra mile to print for us all the articles that featured him, in full colour!!! His artwork is indeed priceless and remarkable but what touched me the most is his approachable and humble character. I did felt a tinge of heartache when he told us that such traditional lantern painting and crafts will vanish as he did not have any sucessors.
This field-trip is indeed an eye opener for me and has definitely made me feel more connected to my roots. I also felt a stronger sense of identity with my culture and tradition. In fact, I feel that these sunset industries are very good research materials for the younger generation of Singaporeans to understand more about their culture and tradition.
Thoughts for the Field-trip
Little did I know that through this project I am able to gain so much in both knowledge and perspective. I am really thankful that our group has chosen to venture on this journey to discover one of the sunset industries in Singapore, the Yeo Swee Huat (Joss Paper Agency).
After the fieldtrip, I realised that every culture is unique and there is always a meaning behind every practice. For instance, the meaning behind burning paper clothes of deities and different colour is used to represent different practice. Admittedly, being a Chinese, I felt disgrace. This trip was surely an eye-opener and was a good opportunity for me to learn more about Chinese culture.
Talking to Mr Yeo Hung Teo was a fruitful experience; I strongly believe that my group mates and I have learnt so much from him. He welcomes anyone who is willing to learn and also enjoy sharing his experience with us. It’s definitely our blessing to meet Mr Yeo!
I feel that such dying trade should be given more attention, especially to the younger generation as they should know more of their own culture. In this modern day, tradition and culture has overtaken by technology, many of us have forgotten about our culture practices, and soon it will be vanished one day. What a pity!
A little thought…
This has been an incredible learning journey for me. Never have I thought that there would be so much for my group-mates and I to learn so much. As we came from different backgrounds, all of us had different knowledge of our Chinese culture. I am sure that after embarking on this project , all of us has learnt more about our culture and there is still so much more to explore and to find out.
I am thankful for our group to have decided on choosing this aspect of our Chinese heritage to document and it was a privilege for us to be able to interview Mr Yeo Hung Teo who has so much to share. Given his experience and skills in the lantern making trade, I feel that much more recognition should be given to people like him so that more are aware of their existence and their trade.
It would be a real pity if this art form disappears in Singapore as he is unable to find a successor. As this could mean that we will be losing part of our heritage and the future generations might not know of their existence. I feel that it is a pity that our locals do not really appreciate his art works as i feel that they are remarkable and intricate. However, My Yeo mentioned that many from overseas do appreciate his art work and has even brought his piece to an exhibition in London.
In our fast changing world, I feel that some traditions and cultures should still be kept if not, will we ever be able to understand our heritage?