Mooncake Festival At Kwai Chai Hong Inspires Racial Unity

ith September coming to an end soon, the Chinese community are starting to really get into the spirit for the Mooncake Festival.

Also known as the Mid-Autumn Festival, it is the second most important festivities after the Chinese New Year. The festival normally falls on the 15th day of the eighth month of the Chinese lunar calendar, and is traditionally meant to offer thanksgiving for the harvest season.

Come Sept 29, Kwai Chai Hong or ‘Little Ghost Lane’ in Cantonese, will come alive with various events to usher in the joyous occasion. Situated in the heart of the city, the heritage lane is a hidden alleyway between the busy streets of Lorong Panggung and Petaling Street.

Long neglected and in bad shape, the heritage lane has since been given a major makeover to bring back the golden age of Chinatown in the 1960s, thanks to a five-year restoration project undertaken by Bai Chuan Management Sdn Bhd since 2019.

The 36-metre long heritage lane was a sight to behold. Once you enter the area, you will be greeted by the colourful red bridge and impressive murals that portray the daily life of the bygone era in the 1960s. Drawn by local artists, the murals are arguably one of the most Instagram-able spots in KL Chinatown.

On Aug 23, this writer was among several other media representatives who were invited by Bai Chuan to the official opening of the Mooncake Festival cultural exhibition themed ‘Moonlit Dragon’, which incorporates dragon and full moon elements.



White plates lining the entrance arch that read “Kwai Chai Hong” greeted this writer, who was mesmerised by the decorations. At times, wind chimes were music to the ears as they danced in the breeze.

“Welcome to Kwai Chai Hong’s ‘Moonlit Dragon’,” said Bai Chuan Managing Partner, Zeen Chang as she greeted the media and influencers who were captivated by the breathtaking landscape at the alley, which was decorated with white plastic plates.


As we were caught up in the moment, our focus shifted to a giant replica at the end of the section of  the alley, in what appeared to be the dragon head with black eyes.

“This is our ‘Moonlit Dragon’ created by a local designer Wong Kai Yi... the lighting installations illuminate the night and create a wow-effect that attracts visitors,” said Chang.

Drawing inspiration from Chinese culture and its ever-present dragons, the 29-year-old young designer's creation is an awe-inspiring sculpture of translucent plastic plates supported by a framework of wooden scaffolding. 

"When one looks at the plates, they are reminded not just of the dragon’s pearly scales, but also of ancient Chinese coins strung together by string. 

"The giant dragon’s pose is dynamic, its coils weaving in and out of the Kwai Chai Hong shoplot facades as if it is dipping in and out of our reality," Chang said. 

She said the installation theme this year is inspired by the values and teachings of Chinese folklore inculcated since birth and how they became a part of the daily lives.

"Kwai Chai Hong is always at the forefront of showcasing installations with themes surrounding Chinese culture presented in fresh and oftentimes thought-provoking manner to tease our visitors, particularly the younger generation. It is our way of preserving Chinese tradition through modernity.

"Drawing inspiration from the rich culture of Chinese traditions, 'Moonlit Dragon' exudes a magical ambience that will leave visitors spellbound. 

"With meticulous attention to architectural detail, the exhibit combines various branches of Chinese culture, folklore, and symbolism to create an amalgamation of Strength and Beauty," she said, adding that the theme transcends the boundaries of traditional mid-autumn celebrations and reconceptualises the meaning of 'Strength in Unity' in giant proportion.



Commenting on the creative inspiration, Wong said the Mid-Autumn Festival holds a special place in the hearts of the Chinese people which inspires him to transport visitors to a realm of wonder, where the mythical dragon and the moon come together in harmony.

"The captivating interplay of light and shadow creates a breathtaking scene, as if the dragon's spirit in dynamic flight, puncturing through the building's façade—an extraordinary spectacle that merges art and architecture.

"The artwork serves to guide us as an integral thread woven into the intricate tapestry of our cherished Chinese lineage, as the Moonlit Dragon connects the past and the present, igniting a sense of belonging and reverence, honouring the footsteps of those who came before," he said. 


In all, almost 10,000 plastic plates were used to construct the piece, which was built over a period of three weeks before being shipped over to Kwai Chai Hong for installation.

“I read a lot about folklore. What struck me the most was the dragon because of the energy it exudes, it is very dynamic, and the essence of unity and power it represents," Wong said. 

Chang said the theme has beautifully recounted the legendary narrative of the protective Chinese dragon — a symbol of unity, peace and prosperity.

"The legend speaks of a time of turmoil and discord, when children from different villages envisioned a mythical creature that could unite tribes and foster harmony.

"Thus, the dragon was conceived, embodying the serpent's agility, the tiger's strength, the eagle's grace and various other qualities. This timeless creature remains a profound emblem of peace in Chinese culture.

"Similar to the legend of the dragon, which started as an imaginative creation by children and evolved into a heritage of values and traditions, our artwork, too, embraces creativity and imagination as forms of endearment," said Chang.

The dragon symbolises strength, grace and protection, and the moon signifies unity and wholeness. 

"The Moonlit Dragon installation further reflects the heart and spirit of Malaysians, illustrating their history of unified strength transcending backgrounds, ethnicities and cultures, all while safeguarding their heritage," she said. 



Chang said during festive seasons, all Malaysians   whether they are Chinese, Malays, Indians or other races, have shown that they can unite together by celebrating the festivities, which have become ‘Malaysian’, in peace and harmony.

"Today’s celebration is all about how all of us, whether you are Chinese or not, are shaped by folklore, legends and the past. All of us have teachings from the past that are driven by folklore.

 “Public holidays in Malaysia play an important role in strengthening the cultural fabric of the nation, allowing Malaysians of different backgrounds to foster unity, strengthen ties and celebrate the richness of their shared heritage,” she added.

White plates lining the entrance arch

 Wong and Chang both believe that art should always be accessible, unrestricted by price, background, and language. 

"Everyone can have their own perspective when they see an art piece, it shouldn't be limited to how we should interpret or explain the artwork.

"We are proud that these installations not only showcase our Mid-Autumn celebrations to other races but also as a place for all Malaysians to celebrate together with our artworks, and appreciate our heritage and culture," Chang said. 

Wong said the project took three months, from conception to realisation by employing 3D design software AutoCAD. 

"From the project, I ensure the precise cutting of materials for the dragon's structure.

"The Moonlit Dragon connects the footsteps of those who came before, weaving an integral thread into the intricate tapestry of our cherished Chinese heritage.

"When the artwork is completed, the interplay of light and shadow creates a breathtaking scene, giving the illusion of the dragon's spirit in dynamic flight, piercing through the building's facade," he said. 

Kwai Chai Hong will be open to the public daily from 9am to 12am and 'The Moonlit Dragon' installation will be available from Aug 25 to Oct 8.


Edited and translated by Salbiah Said




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