Chan applying some varnish to the metal hoop which helps hold the barrel in place. Source: The Star, Lifestyle

86-year old Mr Chan Cheok Thiam has been making wooden barrels as long as he can remember. He started at the age of 16 and has been at it ever since. Mr Chan must be the only maker of wooden barrels in Malacca. He recalled that in the sixties, there were still three to four other makers along the same street itself. Mr Chan operates from a small space next to the Hang Jebat Mausoleum along Jalan Hang Jebat. Making wooden barrels is a painstaking, labour intensive task. He could only make a barrel a day, for which he sells at RM90. Any tourist to Malacca ought to make this a stop for very soon we will not be able to see this traditional craft anymore.

Mr. Chan Cheok Tiam has been making the wooden barrels maker for more than 50 years. He is still in business though he is way past retirement age where he is the only hand-made wooden rice barrel maker left in Malaysia and his children who have no interest in the trade, traditional barrel-making looks set to become yet another extinct craft industry handmade would be a thing of a past.

Address: Jalan Hang Kasturi, Melaka