Paid a visit to Tay Guan Heng Joss-Sticks Manufacturer at 4001 Ang Mo Kio Industrial Park 1. I had seen online posts about its impending closure, so I wanted to see the place for myself before it was too late.
The humble factory space houses a dying trade that has endured four generations. The family business was founded in the 1930s, and specialised in giant, traditional joss sticks made of cinnamon wood clay, burned during Chinese festivals such as the 7th Lunar Month.
Like the paper offering industry, this business produces intricate, but transient, works of art that last only as long as the festivals for which they are dedicated.
During my visit, I was fortunate to meet the proprietor, Mr Albert Tay. He readily shared about his work, showing me old photo albums of the business’ glory days, and clay sculptures and dioramas on display on shelves.
The business will close at the end of November. Why, I asked. “A lot of pressure… a lot of stress”, Mr Tay shook his head sadly.
Until then, work carries on in the factory, to fulfil final orders.
Tay Guan Heng is open Mondays to Saturdays, 11am to around 4pm or 5pm. It is closed on Sundays.