I have a story to tell. It is about the Royal Selangor pewter empire. It all started in year 1885…
A young pewter smith named Yong Koon left his village in China and sailed to Malaya. He was armed with nothing but his craftsman’s tools and skills. From a small establishment which take in orders from tin miners and British colonial officers, the Royal Selangor is now a global brand with its pewter creations available for sale in 26 countries.
If you are interested in finding out more that the Royal Selangor Story, remember to look out for this book that is written by Chen May Yee, the great-granddaughter of Royal Selangor’s founder, Yong Koon. It is available in most major book stores.
Royal Selangor went throughout two world wars and weathered major challenges to become what it is today. The prestigious brand name still remain in the hands of the founding Yong family. Yong Koon’s four grand children play active roles in the company. If you happen to be around the Royal Selangor Visitor Centre, remember to look our for Datin Chen. She is more than happy to share with her visitors the story of the Melon Pot.
During WWII, a young man known as Ah Ham who resides in Kajang was looking for food in a well-stocked warehouse. He saw a melon shaped teapot and without any hesitation, he bended over to pick it up. A shrapnel whizzed above his head as he bended down. He firmly believe that melon pot is his lucky charm. He lives to tell the tale to his friends while pouring them tea from the melon pot.
In the early 1970’s, Ah Ham decided to polish his melon pot and so his friend took it to the pewter factory and someone immediately recognized the Ngeok Fook touch mark belonged to Yong Koon under the pot. Royal Selangor offered to buy over the melon pot but Ah Ham said no. However as Ah Ham grows older, he returned it to Royal Selangor and it is now in the company’s archival collection.
You should definitely pay a visit here to listen to the story while admiring the beautiful craftsmanship of the melon pot.
Do you know that there’s actually two Royal Selangor Visitor Centres located in Kuala Lumpur & Penang? It is quite sad that while most foreign tourists have been to the visitor centers, most local people are not aware of their existence. The visitor centre is actually a great place for family outings during the weekends. The Pewter Museum is an interactive and spacious area, where kids and even adults can learn more about the pewter industry.
We had so much fun standing on the giant weighing scale, trying to move the huge pewter ingots on the other side.
We also enjoyed playing with the different pewter instruments…
and posing in front of the wall of pewter frames.
We also caught a glimpse of some of the retail offerings available in the visitor centre. Apart from traditional tankards, tea sets, jewelleries, photo frames; Royal Selangor’s new offerings include wine sets, table wares, tech gadgets such as external hard discs and pen drives as well as zodiac inspired cuff links.
The products took inspiration from the Palace of Versailles, New York, Beijing as well as Terengganu. I love how the design team paired the product introduction together with gourmet delights coming from these regions.
All you need to do is just to sign up to www.royalselangor.com/blog/register and key in the unique code “EVKBCG” given. Click on “Your e-voucher” and the value and expiry date will be shown on screen. Click on the “Activate” button beside your e-voucher. Only one e-voucher can be used per order. The e-voucher’s alance can be re-use on your next visit. Offer valid till 19th October 2014.
Visitors can also join the guided tour to some “behind-the-scene” action. The tour begins with a complimentary beverage – icy cold 100 plus out of these tankards. The tankard is suppose to keep the drinks cold and chilly.
There are 250 skilled craftspeople and a 40-strong in-house design team in Royal Selangor.
Do you know that most Royal Selangor pewter products are hand-made? It took them years of training to be so skillful and so efficient.
We knew that it is definitely not an easy task to make a pewter product, especially we tried our hands on the School of Hard Knocks!
For only RM60, one gets to craft his/her own pewter dish using traditional pewter crafting tools with name engraving.
The boys can’t wait to start knocking already!
We got to bring home a certificate of completion and also our own custom-made pewter bowl.
If you feel like doing more hand crafts, try out the Foundry. At the Foundry, we took the opportunity to make a pewter accessory from scratch with methods used in the Royal Selangor factory today.
We were guided through the processes of casting, polishing and decorating by an experienced instructor. For the adventurous, you can also create your own freehand design without using a mould. We were so proud of the pair of pendant we made and we gave it to our husband-and-wife friend from Taiwan. They loved it so much!
The Royal Selangor Visitor Centre’s cafe is also one of the best hidden gem in Klang Valley. It is a nice, quaint cafe to chill on a weekend afternoon. After the workshops, we rested in the cafe while enjoying delicious lunches and cake.
The coffee, pastries and pai tees here are really, really good!
As you leave, remember to take a picture with the world’s largest tankard. It took 6 craftsmen in 2 1/2 months and a total of 2,000 hours to complete the job – from the preparation of the moulds to the final polishing of the tankard.
Unleash your creativity and brings out the designer in you at The Foundry! KBCG readers get to save 50% now. Purchase two The Foundry workshop passes for only RM 150! Remember to quote FOUNDRY KBCG when you mention this promotion code at the visitor centre, or by emailing to [email protected] or by calling 03-41450000 Promotion valid till 19th October 2014.
Head Office & Visitor Centre
Royal Selangor International Sdn Bhd
4 Jalan Usahawan 6, Setapak Jaya
53300 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: +60 3 41456000
Fax: +60 3 4021 6831