Nestled in Chinatown Complex is Xiang Heng Wedding & Gifts. Young couples preparing for a traditional Chinese wedding might take some time to locate them amidst the bustling stalls, but their modest storefront belies their long history. Established around 1983, Xiang Heng’s conception arose when their founder Yip Poh Kun noticed a gap in the wedding market for Guo Da Li (过大礼). In traditional Chinese culture, Guo Da Li is a betrothal ceremony that takes place a few weeks before the wedding. Both families meet formally and the groom presents wedding gifts to the bride’s family to assure them of his sincerity towards the marriage. These include woven baskets, candles, foodstuffs, jewellery, and more. However, no business carried all Guo Da Li items under one roof back then, and couples had to travel to several locations to acquire everything. Poh Kun thus created Xiang Heng to be a one-stop Guo Da Li shop, making it much more convenient for couples to get their supplies.
Since then, Xiang Heng has been a mainstay of Chinatown. Today, they are run by Poh Kun’s daughter Iris Chan, who has seen the precinct and its trades evolve, and knows that Xiang Heng must keep up. To that end, her son Max Lee has come on board to offer a fresh perspective. Part of Max’s motivation arises from his wish to ease his mother’s workload. Yet another stems from the realisation that Xiang Heng’s history as a trailblazer in their niche might be lost forever if he does not help. Max describes his journey as a process of give and take with his mother, who has strong ideas about how Xiang Heng should be run after shepherding the business for several decades. He therefore works in tandem with her, implementing gradual changes while respecting her wishes. Max is confident that she will be persuaded by the results, and intends to rejuvenate Xiang Heng to secure their future.