As prices surge, the Chinese community find themselves forking out more money for the auspicious occasion and getting less.
PETALING JAYA: Welcoming the Year of the Dragon has been heavy on people’s pockets, as prices surge for the festive items needed for the Chinese New Year celebration.
Justin Kok, 40, typically adorns his house with lanterns and other decorations to mark the festive season. This year, he is acutely aware of the expense.
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“I am spending more but what I’m getting is actually less,” he said.
“(The prices of) lanterns have gone up this year by 20-30% compared to last year. The same goes for other decorations as well,” he said.
However, this has not deterred Kok and his family from embracing the Year of the Dragon with joy.
“It’s a once-a-year celebration. I believe we should still celebrate it happily, no matter what,” he said.
Foo Yeong Ginn, 37, has been spending more this festive season as well. But he, too, remains in good spirits.
“If you compare prices before and after Covid-19, they have increased a lot, especially for eggs, chicken and other meats. Regardless, we definitely need to celebrate Chinese New Year joyfully,” he said.
Cheah Siong Eyin, 67, said inflation wouldn’t have much impact on his spending.
“It’s the Year of the Dragon, it’s supposed to be a good year. I might buy a little more because of that.”
Putting customers first
Some vendors have decided against passing on their increasing costs to customers, to ensure that they can celebrate the New Year comfortably.
Charmaine Yee, who sells fruit in Petaling Jaya’s SS2 district, decided on this policy for the benefit of her customers.
However, despite this, she said business is down 10% on last year.
“Due to economic concerns and news about the increasing sales and service tax, people are holding back on spending this year,” she told FMT.
Tommy Lum, the owner of a dried meat shop, said customer footfall was actually up 30% but this had come at a cost.
“Sales have increased, but net profit on each sale is down.
“It’s challenging to celebrate Chinese New Year in the midst of inflation, but we won’t increase the prices of our products until we really need to.”
However, Low Yuan Yee, who runs a decoration shop, said the price of her merchandise has increased by between 5% and 10% in one year, while customer numbers have dropped.
“Nowadays we have online shopping. Physical shops face difficulties because of this, and when customers do come in, they spend around 10-20% less than they did last year.
“In this economy, everything has increased in price – not only (decorations), but food and beverages and other items as well.”