Saturday, October 8, 2011

Another glimpse from the inside

It's fascinating being an insider in the bespoke tailoring industry. I'm so glad I'm in it, looking out, instead of being an outsider trying to peer in.

I took the other apprentice out for lunch. I learn that he is only 19. He told me he has over 600 friends on Facebook. "How many do you have?" he asked me.

"None," I replied. "I don't do Facebook."

His working hours are long. 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday to Saturday.

"Before you came, there was another apprentice. He was very good. He got a job at another workshop," he told me.

It became clear to me that this apprentice did not speak English. He did not even know what the English word "tailor" meant. He has also never been to a tailor's shop. He probably doesn't own a suit. I've been at the workshop for three weekends, and for all three Saturdays he was wearing the same brown T-shirt.

"You said something about your parents being in tailoring?" I asked him.

"Yah, they make clothes."

"Why don't you learn from them? Why work for the sifu instead?" I asked.

"It's a different kind of make. Different price. The sifu's price is the most expensive in KL. So my parents say I should learn from him."

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