This is a rattan chair and it has been in the family for some years. It is one of the first set of chairs I purchased at a time when rattan made chairs were popular. It has stood the ravages of time and after more than forty years it is still in its pristine beauty. The strong, solid Manila cane is as good as it was originally. With new bindings at its strategic corners and a coat of shellac finish it appears brand new.
On many occasions I have seen several of such chairs though with different design casted aside at rubbish disposal dumps just because the owners felt that they were out of date or unbearable to see their sights anymore in their homes. Seriously they have thrown antiques and valuable pieces away without realizing that the pieces could be repaired and made good again.
I remember paying Ringgit sixty only back in 1959 for a rattan settee out of my first take-home salary as a beginning teacher. The rattan furniture craftsman, a Chinese had his workshop under a neighbor's stilt house and later he expanded his business. He moved to Butterworth in Penang and opened a rattan furniture shop near the Australian Air force base. Way back in the early sixty's rattan made furniture was sought after and the shop was able to supply all sorts of models and items from rattan. No wonder that large containers of rattan furniture found their way overseas and especially to Australia. I am certain they will remained as family heirlooms for generations to come.
Alas sadly we do not seem to recognise the masterpieces that we have in our homes. Let them be furniture or even the very homes that we lived in. There is a tendency to go for the new and supposed sophisticated branded items and caste aside the pain staking craftsmanship of yesteryear. It is a tragedy that we invented ourselves because in later years we will come crawling paying handsomely for such items which will be offered in the best of the antiques shops.
I am including a picture of the very derelict house that I posted earlier and now it is taking its stand again just a stone's throw from where we are. This is another example of the old being discarded simply because we do not appreciate or value its contributions. Perhaps we do not care to refurnish or rebuild thinking that it would be costly or there are no craftsmen to undertake the task. In short we do not care would be the simplest answer to all the excuses.
I would be too happy if friends would help to advise me of old Malay wooden homes left unkempt and abandoned. Perhaps we can help to reawaken its golden years.