Yeo Swee Huat

End of an Era – The Legacy of a Vanishing Trade: Yeo Swee Huat Paper Agency

For 63 years, Yeo Swee Huat Paper Agency was a pillar of the paper offerings industry, a crucial component of the commemoration of traditional rituals in Chinese festivals. Its owner, Mr Yeo Hung Teo, 83, was famous for being one of the few artisans in Singapore who could craft and paint traditional Teochew lanterns. The company also created and supplied paper effigies needed for events such as the Hungry Ghost Festival and the Nine Emperor Gods Festival. Sadly, in July 2022, the firm shut its doors for the last time – the victim of a general decline in traditional Chinese trades in Singapore, the COVID-19 pandemic, and an unexpected tragedy.

Journeys Pte Ltd and Hell’s Museum worked with Mr Yeo’s wife, Mrs Yeo Siew Peng, to curate an exhibition to showcase the firm’s contributions to traditional Chinese festivals and Singapore’s intangible cultural heritage.