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Hong Kong mahjong carver among the many final of his sort, Latest World News

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HONG KONG (AFP) – Eyebrows furrowed in cautious focus as he chisels pictures and Chinese characters onto mahjong tiles, 70-year-old Cheung Shun-king is likely one of the final craftsmen of his sort in Hong Kong.

Hand carving enjoying tiles for the favored Chinese sport was once a supply of earnings for a lot of, however the introduction of less expensive machine-made units whittled away at their buyer base and turned their work right into a rarity.

Mr Cheung’s household alone used to personal 4 separate outlets, the place as a youngster he learnt his commerce.

Now just one stays.

“I have given my youth to it,” he mentioned of his work. “I don’t know if I’ll have the energy to carry on in a few years, but for now, I’ll continue to do it.”

Mr Cheung’s retailer is on a avenue lined with mahjong parlours, however none of them purchase their tiles from him.

“My mahjong sets are expensive,” he mentioned.

A full set of hand-carved tiles prices HK$5,500 (S$967), he mentioned, whereas machine-carved ones are round HK$2,000.

The value displays the time spent making them.

Industrial manufacturing of tiles takes about an hour, but it surely takes 5 days for Mr Cheung to finish the method of carving and colouring his tiles.

Mr Cheung portray Chinese characters on mahjong items. PHOTO: AFP
 

Many of his prospects purchase units as souvenirs and infrequently request customised pictures.

But Mr Cheung thinks this latest surge in curiosity in an previous custom could also be ephemeral.

“It is only in these last few years that people have felt a sense of nostalgia” and are available to purchase his tiles, he mentioned. “What if a few years later no one feels nostalgia?”

Despite his perception that his trade will proceed to say no, Mr Cheung mentioned he’ll work for so long as he can, till there isn’t any demand.

He used to conduct workshops for younger individuals however doesn’t need to tackle apprentices due to his pessimism.

“To learn (this skill) isn’t a matter of one or two months – attempting it wouldn’t work if you didn’t immerse yourself in it for two to three years,” Mr Cheung mentioned.

“If, by then, handcrafted mahjong tiles are no more a trend, then this skill would become useless.”

Mr Cheung doesn’t know easy methods to play mahjong himself – his curiosity lies solely in crafting the tiles.

He mentioned that being known as an artist, nonetheless, is flattering, and a “big compliment” for him.

“If others say it is art, then it is art. For me, it is my job, as I have to make a living,” he mentioned.


Hong Kong mahjong carver among the many final of his sort, Latest World News.
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