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30-foot sleeping Buddha buried in Perak

 | January 11, 2017

Prop maker Charlie Choong says the statue, built of wire mesh and concrete, was too sturdy to destroy.


Photo Credit: Charlie Choong’s Facebook page

IPOH: There is a 30-foot sleeping Buddha statue buried deep beneath the earth somewhere in Kampong Senawar, Perak.

This is according to prop maker Charlie Choong, who helped build the statue out of wire mesh and concrete for the 1995 movie Beyond Rangoon.

“Usually, movie companies will tell us to destroy sets that we build for them after use because they don’t want the sets they paid so much for to be used by other people,” he told FMT.

“But the sleeping Buddha statue we built was so strong that we decided it would be quicker if we just buried the thing.”

Choong quipped that archaeologists might discover it one day in the future and think of it as a valuable relic.

“Can you imagine if hundreds of years from now, people were to go there and dig it up? They would probably think it was built by some ancient civilisation.”


Photo Credit: Charlie Choong’s Facebook page

Beyond Rangoon is a movie about Myanmar but had to be shot in Perak and Penang for political reasons.

Choong has built sets for several movies that had scenes shot in Malaysia. He started doing that in the 90s, and the films he has worked with include Anna and the King and the French production Indochine.

“I used to work with an engineering company,” he said. “When the movie companies came, they wanted to build things. So they went all over the place looking for people to do that for them.

“It seems they liked my work. Almost every year they’d call me back.”

Nowadays, however, with blue screens and computer-generated imagery, there aren’t many movies that require sets to be built. So Choong spends most of his time building props and doing restoration work, especially around Ipoh’s Old Town.

“You learn to be meticulous working with Hollywood companies because they would request almost a complete replica of what you’d find in the old days,” he said.

“What I learned from working with them I apply to restoration work. It is similar in terms of skill and style.”


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