Kee Taufek Kee Harrith has multiple talents ranging from cooking and baking to floral arrangement and, in particular, event decorations.
In creating his decorations, Kee never fails to work some magic, regardless of the limited time or materials, with many of his work having drawn attention and praise.
Having spent over 30 years of his life away from his family, Kee first left his hometown of Sandakan, Sabah in his early 20s after landing a job as a hotelier in the Sultanate, and over the years he has gone on to work at a number of different hotels in the country.
During his career at one of those hotels, he began to challenge himself to multi-task and slowly picked up floral arrangements and decorations for the hotel. As his works received compliments from guests who frequented the hotel’s restaurant, he began to pick up his own list of clients seeking his services.
From positions as bartender to food and beverage manager, Kee Taufek has worked hard to upgrade his capabilities. While he has had his fair share of bittersweet experiences, including struggling when he was without a job, his spirit to stand up remained undeterred and landed a job at another hotel, where he worked from 2016 until 2021. He currently works at Mulia Hotel.
In his series of creating festive decorations for the places he has worked for, his passion revolves around saving the environment by using recycled items such as plastic bottles, bottle caps and used Hari Raya green packets for his decorative materials.
“My ideas usually come spontaneously. I usually choose a landmark, either here in Brunei or abroad, especially during the festive season of Hari Raya. My ideas mostly focus on mosques such as the Jame’ ‘Asr Hassanil Bolkiah and Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Mosque and the Masjidil Haram in Makkah, which was the most challenging for me which I designed using green packets while working at another hotel previously.”
During Hari Raya a couple of years back, Kee designed a decorative piece based on the Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien (SHOAS) Bridge using disposed mineral water bottles, which also made an impression on hotel guests.
For a recent creation, he used bottle caps from mineral water bottles and soft drinks and designed the model of a Blue Mosque, which he displayed at the entrance of Vanda Chinese Restaurant drawing attention from diners.
The actual construction of the model took Kee only three days to complete despite his busy schedule. However, the most challenging and time consuming project was collecting bottle caps needed to create the Blue Mosque. He started collecting blue bottle caps last year when he decided to use them for this year’s decoration.
Explaining his usual process for creating decorations, Kee shared that he starts thinking about what artwork that opens the minds of the society and showing them that nothing is impossible if you put your heart and passion into it. He will then decide what recyclable material is fit to use in the design.
Reflecting on his decorative creations, Kee said, “The feedback I have received over the past years has been overwhelming, and most of the guests at the hotels would take pictures and congratulate me on my artistic touch.
“I had some guests who told me they wanted to ask their children to take pictures of my work and show it to their school for their next project, and these were shared on the social media platforms. It really made me feel good to have my name mentioned and to know that I was able to share my passion to benefit others,” Kee added.