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What people do on Valentine’s Day

by Peter Boon reporters@theborneopost.com. Posted on February 15, 2013, Friday

CUTE TOYS: Soft and cute toys are a hit among the younger customers, snapping them up for decorative items.

CUTE TOYS: Soft and cute toys are a hit among the younger customers, snapping them up for decorative items.

FLOWER OF FORTUNE: A special bouquet made out of 495 pieces of RM10 notes.

FLOWER OF FORTUNE: A special bouquet made out of 495 pieces of RM10 notes.

VALENTINE’S DAY SPECIAL: Wong shows one of his popular orders.

VALENTINE’S DAY SPECIAL: Wong shows one of his popular orders.

SIBU: A love-struck man spends a whopping RM5,000 on a bouquet of paper flowers for his girlfriend, ‘straying’ away from the usual fresh flowers and cute toys.

Tailor-turned florist Johnny Wong told The Borneo Post yesterday that his regular customer requested that 495 pieces of RM10 notes (RM4,950) be folded into flower petals and decorated with soft toys.

“The trend of showering loved ones with flowers folded from currency notes is picking up among the younger generation. Those in their 40s, however, still prefer to go for the old fashion and sentimental ways of giving fresh flowers enclosed with a card to their girl friends
or spouse,” Wong, who is manager of Ha Ha Fashion Design and Jane’s Florist, chuckled.

He said he was rushing to complete the order as the customer wanted the custom-made flowers urgently.

Wong was asked his specialty for the Valentine’s Day where the interview was interrupted several times as he attended to his customers.

Admitting that folding the RM10 notes into flowers was no walk in the park, he, however, said they needed to innovate to stay afloat in a competitive business, due to the mushrooming of florist
shops.

A specialist in fulfilling custom-made flowers, he said he would accept any amount of currency notes to be folded into flowers.

“There is no fixed amount, but we would politely decline if the amount is too big as we are worried of keeping stakes of notes in the register,” he said.

He has parted with the conventional practice of offering fresh flowers to parading myriads of colourful and bright artificial flowers.

“Gone are the days when people associated artificial flowers with fake feeling or affection. These days, the younger generation view artificial flowers in a positive light, equating them to everlasting love,” said Wong with a grin.

Fresh flowers withered fast given our hot weather and had to be disposed when dried up, he lamented, “but not artificial ones which you can keep as long as you like for remembrance”.

Selling from as low RM3.50 per piece to RM500, Wong recalled that he received his orders as early as last December.

Besides cute toys, he also placed on the rack, the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac calendar to go along with the bouquet of flowers.

He opened for business at 7am yesterday and closed about midnight.

Central Road here, which is home to a number of florist shops, was swarmed with people from all walks of life, ranging from teenagers to those in their 50s.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism reminded florists to display price tags on their flowers.

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