CNY-themed face masks become trend


Lim Chin How

Liew Ei Lan

Gabriellia Hazel

The CNY-themed face masks are readily available at many stores, malls and even pharmacies around Kuching. — Photos by Roystein Emmor

KUCHING: Chinese New Year (CNY)-themed face masks are in trend nowadays, with the occasion being celebrated during this time of Covid-19 pandemic.

In a survey conducted by The Borneo Post, it appears that many shops, malls and even pharmacies here have been selling these three-ply masks imprinted with colourful and festive designs.

Many of those being sold bear CNY motifs in the traditional colours of red, yellow and gold – depicting lanterns, firecrackers, Chinese calligraphy conveying good wishes, and even oxen to signify the ‘Year of the Ox’.

This year, the first day of CNY falls on Feb 12.

“These three-ply face masks have been selling like hot cakes in my pharmacy.

“What I have on display at the counter here are the last ones available in our stock,” said Lim Chin How, who owns and runs a pharmacy at Jalan Stutong here.

He said after CNY, his plan would be to sell festive-themed face masks for other celebrations such as Hari Raya and Gawai Dayak.

Meanwhile, a vendor at a mall here said these themed masks represented two things – as a requirement for the wearers in compliance with the standard operating procedures (SOP) set under the present Conditional Movement Control Order; and also to mark CNY being celebrated amidst the Covid-19 situation.

“Customers have been asking me for the fabric-based face masks, but I don’t sell them at my shop in the mall here.

“The ones sold here (at the mall) are the three-ply, disposable face masks. Compliance-wise, they should do enough,” said the vendor, who requested anonymity.

Nonetheless, there is a high demand for fabric-based face masks either for ready-to-wear purchases or for customised orders, in that they are washable and can be used several times – unlike the disposable ones.

The Jen Hing Tailor along Wayang Street here sells a variety of hand-made, fabric-based face masks – each with its own festive print.

“I have been receiving lots of orders from customers over the past couple of weeks.

“The fabrics that I use to make each face mask are imported from China. It would take me about two hours to sew one face mask.

“What is on display here is actually the last batch from our available stock,” said the tailor, who declined to be named.

Liew Ei Lan, who is among many shoppers on the lookout for these CNY-themed face masks, regarded them as ‘a fashionable trend amidst the pandemic’.

“The celebration is a little different this year – there’s still much uncertainty on how and when this pandemic would come to an end.

“Whatever it is, wherever we go now, wearing face masks has become an essential part of our daily life,” said the 46-year-old housewife.

Expressing similar sentiments, hotelier Gabriellia Hazel believed that the CNY-themed face masks would help elevate the mood and bring in some festive cheer in the midst of this pandemic.

In this respect, she also viewed wearing these vibrantly-designed masks as ‘helping to boost morale while at work’.

“I bought some from a pharmacy. I never thought that these masks would be available during this time. They really suit the current festive season.

“Since some of the hotel guests are celebrating CNY, wearing these fun face masks would surely brighten up their mood,” she added.

The tailor shows a set of fabric-based, hand-made face masks available for purchase at her shop. Moreover, she is wearing one of her own designs.

These CNY-themed three-ply face masks signify two key things – as a requirement for the wearers in compliance with the SOP; and also to mark the CNY celebration during the Covid-19 pandemic.