Girls Day Out

2023
Domestic Textiles (Cotton fabric, cotton-polyester mixed fabric, curtain lining fabric, cotton duck fabric, cotton fabric covered buttons, topstitched with cotton threads)
112cm x 135cm

Ways of Seeing, CULT Gallery
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Based of a family letter titled ‘Tales of Our Ancestors’ written by my maternal aunt about our family’s lineage. The letter traces back to about five generations, back to great, great grandparents of Peranakan Chinese and Indonesian descent. This series of work concentrates on a specific excerpt from the letter on the scarcity of textiles during the Japanese Occupation in Malaya. The textile material has played an important role within generations in our family especially for the women at home. It gave them a medium to self-express and provided a sense of security and comfort during times of violent censorship and colonialism.


“During the Japanese Occupation, there were no textile shops. Our Matriarch bought cloths in bulk, sold by the yard, for her many daughters, from travelling cloth peddlers whom they nicknamed ‘le long kor’. The term ‘le long’ comes from the Malay word meaning ‘to auction’ but in this context it meant to ‘sell cheaply’. And the ‘kor’ actually was to describe the sounds from the moving bicycle wheels due to the heavy load it carried.The cloths were mainly plain colours of dark red, blue and brown or otherwise with small or big checks (gingham) all made in China. Floral designs were not available to them possibly because they were more expensive and the ‘le long ko’ thought they were not affordable by his rubber estate clients. Madam Lee Kooi Ching sewed all the clothes for her siblings as well as shirts for her father. Where she learnt this sewing skill from was unknown. ”

Girls Day Out

2023
Domestic Textiles (Cotton fabric, cotton-polyester mixed fabric, curtain lining fabric, cotton duck fabric, cotton fabric covered buttons, topstitched with cotton threads)
112cm x 135cm

Ways of Seeing, CULT Gallery
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Based of a family letter titled ‘Tales of Our Ancestors’ written by my maternal aunt about our family’s lineage. The letter traces back to about five generations, back to great, great grandparents of Peranakan Chinese and Indonesian descent. This series of work concentrates on a specific excerpt from the letter on the scarcity of textiles during the Japanese Occupation in Malaya. The textile material has played an important role within generations in our family especially for the women at home. It gave them a medium to self-express and provided a sense of security and comfort during times of violent censorship and colonialism.


“During the Japanese Occupation, there were no textile shops. Our Matriarch bought cloths in bulk, sold by the yard, for her many daughters, from travelling cloth peddlers whom they nicknamed ‘le long kor’. The term ‘le long’ comes from the Malay word meaning ‘to auction’ but in this context it meant to ‘sell cheaply’. And the ‘kor’ actually was to describe the sounds from the moving bicycle wheels due to the heavy load it carried.The cloths were mainly plain colours of dark red, blue and brown or otherwise with small or big checks (gingham) all made in China. Floral designs were not available to them possibly because they were more expensive and the ‘le long ko’ thought they were not affordable by his rubber estate clients. Madam Lee Kooi Ching sewed all the clothes for her siblings as well as shirts for her father. Where she learnt this sewing skill from was unknown. ”

Girls Day Out

2023
Domestic Textiles (Cotton fabric, cotton-polyester mixed fabric, curtain lining fabric, cotton duck fabric, cotton fabric covered buttons, topstitched with cotton threads)
112cm x 135cm

Ways of Seeing, CULT Gallery
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Based of a family letter titled ‘Tales of Our Ancestors’ written by my maternal aunt about our family’s lineage. The letter traces back to about five generations, back to great, great grandparents of Peranakan Chinese and Indonesian descent. This series of work concentrates on a specific excerpt from the letter on the scarcity of textiles during the Japanese Occupation in Malaya. The textile material has played an important role within generations in our family especially for the women at home. It gave them a medium to self-express and provided a sense of security and comfort during times of violent censorship and colonialism.


“During the Japanese Occupation, there were no textile shops. Our Matriarch bought cloths in bulk, sold by the yard, for her many daughters, from travelling cloth peddlers whom they nicknamed ‘le long kor’. The term ‘le long’ comes from the Malay word meaning ‘to auction’ but in this context it meant to ‘sell cheaply’. And the ‘kor’ actually was to describe the sounds from the moving bicycle wheels due to the heavy load it carried.The cloths were mainly plain colours of dark red, blue and brown or otherwise with small or big checks (gingham) all made in China. Floral designs were not available to them possibly because they were more expensive and the ‘le long ko’ thought they were not affordable by his rubber estate clients. Madam Lee Kooi Ching sewed all the clothes for her siblings as well as shirts for her father. Where she learnt this sewing skill from was unknown. ”

Girls Day Out

2023
Domestic Textiles (Cotton fabric, cotton-polyester mixed fabric, curtain lining fabric, cotton duck fabric, cotton fabric covered buttons, topstitched with cotton threads)
112cm x 135cm

Ways of Seeing, CULT Gallery
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Based of a family letter titled ‘Tales of Our Ancestors’ written by my maternal aunt about our family’s lineage. The letter traces back to about five generations, back to great, great grandparents of Peranakan Chinese and Indonesian descent. This series of work concentrates on a specific excerpt from the letter on the scarcity of textiles during the Japanese Occupation in Malaya. The textile material has played an important role within generations in our family especially for the women at home. It gave them a medium to self-express and provided a sense of security and comfort during times of violent censorship and colonialism.


“During the Japanese Occupation, there were no textile shops. Our Matriarch bought cloths in bulk, sold by the yard, for her many daughters, from travelling cloth peddlers whom they nicknamed ‘le long kor’. The term ‘le long’ comes from the Malay word meaning ‘to auction’ but in this context it meant to ‘sell cheaply’. And the ‘kor’ actually was to describe the sounds from the moving bicycle wheels due to the heavy load it carried.The cloths were mainly plain colours of dark red, blue and brown or otherwise with small or big checks (gingham) all made in China. Floral designs were not available to them possibly because they were more expensive and the ‘le long ko’ thought they were not affordable by his rubber estate clients. Madam Lee Kooi Ching sewed all the clothes for her siblings as well as shirts for her father. Where she learnt this sewing skill from was unknown. ”

19 February 1969, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Photograph by Goon Kok Woh (maternal grandfather)