Not too long ago, I was asked to join a Facebook based Chinese tea and teapots group - 一马紫砂茶文化 (loosely translated as One Malaysia Purple Clay and Tea Culture) by my tea friends. There are quite a number of other Facebook groups related to Chinese tea and purple clay teapots. Most of the time, this kind of Facebook groups was formed and died a natural death without gaining much following.
However-, 一马紫砂茶文化is now the most talk about Facebook group among tea and teapot enthusiasts. The group allow members to share their collections as well as to sell their products based on direct negotiation or through bidding. Malaysia’s version of e-bay for tea enthusiasts! However, the only setback for this group is that the lingua franca used is Chinese, thus leaving English educated people like my friends Pow Wah, Little Q and myself at the mercy of Google Translate!
I would attribute the success of this group to its reputable participants. Most of the sellers are the who’s who of the tea merchants and collectors from Klang Valley, Penang and Johor. At the same time, the bidders are serious buyers. Thus far, safe to say that all the transactions have gone smoothly with willing buyers and sellers. However, I’ve noticed some pranksters who purposely jack up the price during the bidding.
I have to admit that I am not a fan of online transactions. My close friends and colleagues know that I prefer to speak face to face, have a chat over the phone and spend hours in Kinokuniya Ngee Ann City than to send a long email, message or browse for books online. The empirical side of my brain still need some adjustments to the reality of the 21st century but I am making some baby steps.
My first online purchase or I suppose a bidding took place some 3 weeks ago. Chanoyu Tea Art auctioned a can of old Tie Guan Yin tea through 一马紫砂茶文化. Chanoyu is a reputable shop in Kuala Lumpur and I’ve known them for years. Hence I participated in the auction without worry for defective product. After participating in a few auctions, I’ve decided to venture out into the unknown when I came across a teapot that I fancy.
|The purple clay teapot and cups from Hiew Hin Choong|
On 27th Sept, Hiew Hin Choong posted an auction for an Octagonal shaped purple clay teapot made during the 90s on One Malaysia Purple Clay and Tea Culture. I won the bid via a friend’s Facebook account (many thanks Bridget for helping) as the competition was intense at the last hour before the bidding close. I won’t elaborate further on the techniques of bidding except to recommend interested parties to Sun Tzu’s Art of War and Carl von Clausewitz’s works.
|Old tea with old teapot.|
It is very pleasant to deal with Hiew Hin Choong. He is trustworthy and he delivered on what was written. I received the teapot with 8 cups and some old tea today. I look forward to have conduct more purchase with him. Perhaps…this is the catalyst to the baby steps I am taking with regards to e-commerce.
P/s: I am doing a little of advertisement here for Chanoyu and Hiew Hin Choong – not paid of course – that if you are looking for reputable merchants, you can look for them.