Hammering Into the New Year

Mr Tan Koon Tat is a carpenter that has been creating festive decorations from scratch for the past decade. The 57-year-old never fails to put up spectacular setups every festive season in his neighbourhood around Block 179, Woodlands Street 13. This year, he’ll be working on the upcoming Chinese New Year decorations, which were inspired by the Chinese Zodiac Sign of the pig. Pristine Chay captured Mr Tan as he worked in his carpentry studio.

TINKERING TIME: Mr Tan builds his creations from his carpentry studio located in North Link Building, near Admiralty. He has been a carpenter for over 40 years and runs his own business. (PHOTO: PRISTINE CHAY)
TOOLS OF THE TRADE: Mr Tan always ensures that his tools are in-check and placed in order before he starts work on the decorations, which are usually inspired by the residents in his neighborhood. (PHOTO: PRISTINE CHAY)
TRANSFORMING BARKS TO BEAU: Mr Tan has to carefully select each piece of wood and peels away the old rotten bark of the branch to save it from rotting entirely. (PHOTO: PRISTINE CHAY)
RACE AGAINST TIME: Mr. Tan takes less than a day to construct the side of the beams as he has to work fast in order to put together the decorations before Chinese New Year. (PHOTO: PRISTINE CHAY)
CAI SHEN YE’S SKELETON: Standing eerily at the side of the studio is the skeleton of the second God of Fortune (财神爷) that is being worked on. Mr. Tan creates its body by stuffing a mannequin with sponges and pieces of wood. (PHOTO: PRISTINE CHAY)
BEAMING WITH PRIDE: Standing over two meters tall, the well is one of Mr. Tan’s proud centerpieces. It will be filled with water and the beam would hold a bucket that can be lowered into the well. (PHOTO: PRISTINE CHAY)
WELL OF FORTUNE: The well is constructed using only wood and cement so that it has a realistic look. Residents believe that the well can bring fortune as it is part of this year’s decoration theme. (PHOTO: PRISTINE CHAY)
SPRING AWAKENING: To signify spring is here, Mr Tan will use flowers and place them along the well and corridors of the neighbourhood. (PHOTO: PRISTINE CHAY)
HARRY TROTTER: Everything on the pig mannequin is made from scratch by Mr Tan, including the spectacles which are made with a single wire bent into the shape of a pair of ‘Harry Potter’ inspired glasses. (PHOTO: PRISTINE CHAY)
PIG OF FORTUNE: One of the two God of Fortunes’ Mr Tan has created, which he hopes will bring good fortune and laughter to the residents. (PHOTO: PRISTINE CHAY)

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