Translated by WINNIE CHOOI
Sin Chew Daily
KUALA LUMPUR -- Passing by Jalan Sultan, Kwong Fook Wing Tailor Shop easily escapes attention. To many people's surprise, the shop has come across many interesting stories which could easily arouse the curiosity of the public.
Stepping inside the tailor shop you would invariably be impressed by the photographs on display on both sides of the entrance. On one side was a picture of foreign diplomats and senior officials wearing suits made at Kwong Fook Wing .There is even a photograph of the 5th Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Sultan Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah posing with Queen Elizabeth.
On the other side of the glass showcase is an old-time black and white photo taken in 1974 of the country's second prime minister Tun Abdul Razak handshaking hands with Chairman Mao Zedong of China. Also there is a historical photo of Tun Razak scaling the Great Wall of China.
Owner Kwong Jin Liu told Sin Chew Daily those pictures had been sent back to the shop personally by Tun Razak as a token of appreciation for making him a pair of suit for his official visit to China.
Offer to make suits
Having been in existence for the past 97 years, Kwong Fook Wing Tailor Shop has witnessed glorious moments during its heyday. For instance, foreign diplomats who used to walk into the shop to order tailor-made suits would not forget to write thank-you letters after they returned to their countries.
Kwong also shared with Sin Chew Daily how they had been picked by Tun Razak to make him a suit.
The incident took place when Tun Tan Siew Sin and several senior officials visited the shop. Due to its superb sewing skills, Tun Tan and other officials recommended the shop to their friends including the then prime minister.
According to Kwong, those senior officials would normally ask whether the PM had visited the shop whenever they dropped in.
Handwork getting praise
The situation lasted for some time until a British royalty received some gift from Tun Razak during his vacation in Malaysia and was brought to the tailor shop by Tun Tan Siew Sin. The next day, Kwong's tailor was told to go to the prime minister's residence after Tun Razak saw the British official's new suit.
Ever since Kwong and his son first went to the prime minister's residence, Tun Razak was contented with their handwork and subsequently arranged Kwong to tailor made a suit for his son, the current Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
Recalling his first visit to the pime minister's residence, Kwong told Sin Chew Daily they were treated well by all the staff and the prime minister himself, although they were only lowly tailors.
Even though Tun Razak was very busy most of the time, he would show up on time so that they did not have to wait too long.
Free photo as gift
Kwong tailor-made a long sleeve suit for Tun Razak before his visit to China and out of his expectations, he received a photo from Tun Razak taken in China as gift.
Kwong said five years before Tun Razak passed away, he would order an average of three sets of new suits every month.
"Before the prime minister left for England for medical treatment, I noticed he was becoming thinner and every time I did his measurements, he would tell me not to make tight clothes. I was concerned with his health but he would tell me he would gain some weight back soon," added Kwong.