Look, ma, we’re not always in the news for “all the wrong reasons” 😉

On 23rd January, in conjunction with the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Malaysian artist Hong Yi aka Red Hong Yi created a work of art out of something that most Malaysians can easily relate to, to depict an everyday scene in Malaysia. It took her two whole months to make it, and a whole lot of work.

*Screenshots from Red Hong Yi’s Instagram account.


The installation was called, “Teh Tarik Man”, a 10-foot by 7-foot masterpiece which used 20,000 teabags, weighing more than 440 pounds. The process included needing to stain the teabags in 10 different shades of brown, a variation Red Hong Yi achieved by steeping them in an assortment of water temperatures for different amounts of time. She then added brown food dye for the darkest tones.

In her YouTube video’s description, she explained:

I wanted to create a piece that reflected an everyday scene in Malaysia that reminds me of home. Teh Tarik (which means “pulled-tea” in Malay) is a drink served in local coffeeshops (or kopitiams) that is sweet, frothy and milky, and is frothed up when tea is poured between two containers. Perhaps more important than the drink itself is the underlying culture. Locals gather in kopitiams and mamaks, and here they talk about where to buy the best durians, the traffic, politics, weather, soccer… It is a drink that brings people together and I hope that I get to share a bit of my country through this piece!

I used 20,000 teabags to illustrate a man preparing teh tarik in the background, with soft drink cans and an ice-kacang (shaved ice) machine as props in front of him hung in the foreground. The piece was 3.2×2.2meters…and weighed 200kgs! The teabags are stained in 10 different shades of brown. The teabags were stained by steeping the bags in hot water – the lesser and hotter the water, the more they were stained – and the darker tones were stained with brown food dye. All these bags were stapled and attached onto tiles of wiremesh, then hung off a wooden frame. I spent about two months planning, sourcing, creating and filming this piece.

Just to be clear, she only drank 1 – 2 cups of tea a day while creating the piece 😉

Her work has since made waves around the globe, having been featured on TIME as well as Huffington Post, just to name a few. Malaysia boleh, indeed!

Watch the amazing video here:


For more information, visit her Facebook page and see more of her amazing work on her Instagram.

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Eats, sleeps, & breathes music, but drinks mostly coffee & okay, some wine - sometimes, a little too much. A little too obsessed with the number seven, is deathly afraid of horror movies, believes that she writes better than she speaks, & currently feeling a little strange writing a profile about herself.