“This kerongsang represents an era of Singapore that’s long gone. If you look at other similar pieces, you’ll find that the quality isn’t as refined or as delicate as the one my father acquired from two Peranakan
sisters in the ’70s,” says her mother, Madam Chng Hwee Siang.
“Both my grandmothers were Peranakan and we were veryculturally influenced by that, so it’s really a piece of heritage. For me to inherit something from my mum, which also once belonged to her mum, makes the kerongsang priceless. I’m also a very sentimental person, so the emotional value of receiving this piece is quite high,” shares Pamela.
For Madam Chng, whose father started Poh Heng in 1948, the kerongsang also represents the unique connections that have been passed down through her family.
“It is important for families to stay connected through the shared histories of the objects we own. I’ve always tried to give my children something that will trigger an emotional response,” she explains.
“When you give out money, it’s spent and then forgotten about, but heirlooms like jewellery will be with you forever. Even if you don’t wear them, there’s still the emotion and sentiment of receiving it.”
Pamela wholeheartedly agrees. “If you really want something people will appreciate and keep, it’s jewellery. Plus, the object will soon have its own history, and history always has value.”
Text: Natalya Molok