CRAFTS

Clog Maker
A lifestyle necessity for the locals, these bright red wooden clogs are called terompah. Not only are they durable, but also immensely functional as an anti slip footwear best used when walking on the wet floor of an Asian kitchen or bathroom. While most stores gear their designs to appeal to tourists, the production that remains true to its original form is still carried out in a little shack.

Bucket Maker
A forgotten means of storage once used by traders and households that is now being replaced by plastic buckets. The good, old-fashioned handcrafted bucket is a dying craft. The last of his trade in the old quarters, Mr Chan Cheok Tiam inherited his father's craft and singlehandedly soldiers on despite his advanced age. Timber is carefully selected for its quality, hewn, cured and carefully shaped into watertight staves that are held together by thin strips of metal hoops.

Blacksmith
Mr Chin Sim is one of the last blacksmiths in Malacca. He has been in this trade since he was only 12 years old and has continued on for over 50 years despite suffering from hearing loss and scarred hands. He used to make ship anchors for clients who came all the way from India and also repair and polish knives for butchers and fishmongers. The blacksmith trade is fast becoming extinct in Malacca as people find it more convenient to get new tools.

Shoemaker
Established in 1918, Wah Aik is managed by generations of shoemakers that specialise in the dying tradition of making shoes for bound feet in brightly colored silk and leather soles. Bound feet or lotus feet were symbolic of status and beauty as Chinese ladies whose feet are bound were those who would never have to work in their life. The foot is tightly bound to crush the bones at a young age to reshape and restrict growth to an ideal 3 inches by adulthood. Visitors can still purchase a pair as a souvenir. Wah Aik has also expanded their repertoire to offer delicate Nyonya beaded shoes.

Signboard Carver
Fwu Chang Trading was established just before the Japanese Occupation in 1939 specialising in traditional stone tablets and wooden signboards. Signboards in Chinese characters used to be placed above main doorways to indicate the business or a household, the family name and/or the province of origin. Signboards by the side of doors and on pillars are often Chinese phrases bearing well wishes. This complex craft requires knowledge of classic Chinese, refined calligraphy skills and mastery in woodcarving.

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