In collaboration with Kenny Phang of Defy Media.
Kwai Chai Hong is set to usher in the Chinese New Year 2024 with the unveiling of its captivating “Rise of the Dragon 蟄龍覺醒” installation, a dynamic celebration of the Year of the Dragon in jolly spirit, revolving around a highly popular and ancient game created since the Qing Dynasty.
This year’s thematic concept is centered around the rich history of Mahjong. Kwai Chai Hong emphasised its role as more than just a game for the Chinese community, akin to the significance of the game of chess to the Western community.
Zeen Chang, Managing Partner of Bai Chuan Management, expressing her thoughts on the installation, states, “Mahjong is known once upon a time as Chinese people’s favourite pastime. The symbolism of the game extends beyond our diverse Malaysian community, where unity strengthens our collective spirit. It is traditionally an activity fit for all ages and people, fostering the values of leisure and bonding, and even with known ties to cognitive improvement. The intricate Mahjong game, requiring a various mix of tiles to form unique combinations, serves as a metaphor for our nation’s strength in diversity and unity, something Kwai Chai Hong is always passionate about.”
Collaborating with local artists based in Johor Bahru, Wong Jia Min, and Lee Chaer Shean from plus + plus, the duo is renowned for their creative contributions in architecture. The pair presents the centerpiece – a Mahjong game set in the heart of the cul-de-sac surrounded by the silhouette of a dragon traversing above.”
In harmony with the theme, plus + plus draws inspiration from the dynamic movement of reshuffling Mahjong tiles. The act of ‘reshuffling’ (‘洗牌’) becomes symbolic of a fresh beginning, aligning with the essence of Chinese New Year, particularly significant in the Year of the Dragon.
According to Wong, the game of Mahjong, played in rounds with reshuffling, mirrors the act of resetting the year, symbolising prosperity, union, harmony, and peace for the new year.
“The Mahjong panels and wire mesh collectively craft the silhouette of a Dragon, awakening from its long slumber as winter ends and soaring the skies, representing hope for a better and more prosperous beginning in the Year of the Dragon.
This installation is more than an artistic display; it is a tangible representation of hope, inviting individuals to contemplate and embrace a new life chapter as they welcome the Year of the Dragon,” Lee said.
Chang further remarks that the Rise of the Dragon 蟄龍覺醒 is aptly named for installation to represent the beast which has hibernated long and has finally gathered enough strength to take on the new year with renewed vitality and power.
“Just like how each mahjong game is played, the start of the game is where both our hands are mixing the tiles in fluid circular motions and rhythms, like the ascension of the Dragon’s spirit slithering awake from its slumber.
Kwai Chai Hong is proud to embrace, preserve and revive cultural traditions, as much as the joy of sharing unique parts of history with other Malaysians.”
Kwai Chai Hong will be open to the public daily from 9AM to 12AM. The Rise of the Dragon 蟄龍覺醒 installation will be available from 25 January 2024 to 3 March 2024. Come celebrate the Chinese New Year at Kwai Chai Hong with your loved ones and be sure to check out the 10 amazing eateries in the area!
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