In Ipoh, flag sellers report billowing sales with new government

John Bunyan
Fong Lee Seng Hup Kee store owner Lau Siew Ngor adjusts a Jalur Gemilang in front of her shop in Ipoh August 24, 2018. ― Pictures by Marcus Pheong

IPOH, Aug 24 — Fong Lee Seng Hup Kee store owner Lau Siew Ngor, who has been selling flags for the past 60 years, said sales this year have increased by a third from before.

“Before this the customers would be from government agencies or private companies, but this is the first time we are getting so many individual customers.

“Last week I had a few customers at the age around 50 who bought the national flag for the first time. I believe people have more sense of belonging towards the country with the new government in place,” she told Malay Mail.

The 59-year-old also reported an increase in Chinese and Indian buyers this year.

“The sales also increased about 30 per cent compared to the past years and we are also expecting more sales in one or two days prior to Merdeka,” she said.

Lau, who inherited the business from her grandparents, said the shop at Jalan Lahat Taman Falim was first opened in 1943 as a snack and stationery vendor, but added flags to its inventory in 1957.

Fong Lee Seng Hup Kee store in Ipoh sells various sizes of the Jalur Gemilang ranging from 2m wide to small handheld flags.

Lau said the best-selling Jalur Gemilang range from 2m wide to small handheld flags.

“The price is between RM3 to RM10. But of course the price varies if customers wanted customized size,” she said, adding she receive customers as far as Sitiawan and Sungai Siput.

Dimenxion Concept Design Printing Sdn Bhd owner Muhammad Faiz Reduan, 27, also said sales of Jalur Gemilang increased this year.

Muhammad Faiz said the price for last minute orders will increase as they need two to three days to complete a batch of flags.

“Making flag involve two processes ― printing and stitching.

“Therefore the job it's a bit time consuming and we need our workers to work overtime if there is a last minute order. That's the reason why we have to increase the price,” he said. 

Sunny Lai, 60, said this is the first time he is buying the Jalur Gemilang.

“All this while, I never decorated my car or house with the flag for Merdeka, but this year the mood is very different and I'm happy to celebrate Independence day,” he said.

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