Inside Penang

  • Iman Khalida (Owner of Straits Heritage)

The beginning of the Straits Heritage Antique Shop, located at Lebuh Buckingham, Penang, is a passion project that strengthens the bond between a daughter and her father. The shop has been around for over 19 years. Her father began with just a small interest in collecting vintage and antique items over the past 50 years. At one point, when her father kept collecting and collecting, the number of antique and vintage items became so large that their house started to overflow. When her father retired, he slowly began to sell the items he had collected.

 

By opening an antique shop, he began to gradually let go of the items he had accumulated. Iman got involved when the MCO (Movement Control Order) hit Malaysia, bringing shops to a point where they could not fully operate, and her father had to sell items online. From there, she started helping her father sell most of the items through online platforms.

 

“When I first started, I didn't have the interest… but after a while, I began to love it, and at that time there was no turning back,” says Iman. From then on, she began helping her father run the shop. Her interest sparked especially when she realized that some of her father's collection, once sold to people, could no longer be found anywhere. Her passion grew as she began collecting her own antique items, starting with small pieces and gradually moving to larger items at her house.

 

Growing up, always seeing the antique items her father collected, she honestly didn’t like them at first. However, after realizing how rare and unique the items were, she began to appreciate and love keeping these antique and vintage pieces. Speaking of her favorite items, she particularly likes tiffin carriers. The tiffin carriers used by the Baba and Nyonya were brought in from Czechoslovakia in the early 1900s, making them special with details such as flower patterns and the wording “Selamat Makan.”

 

“Sometimes I think, should I go back to my 9 to 5 job? But after thinking about it… the satisfaction is not the same,” said Iman, reflecting on her current work. It goes back to the inner passion that drives us to do what we truly want to do.

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