Many people may struggle to find a new purpose in life or a hobby after retirement, but not former teacher Ee Choo Teck. The 88-year old is an expert at making origami, the Japanese art of paper folding and has now been making the paper sculptures for 24 years. The name derives from the Japanese words ori (folding) and kami (paper) and consists of folding a single sheet of square paper into a sculpture without cutting it.

As reported by Bernama, Ee now owns a studio called ‘Modern Origami in Bukit Jambul, Penang which displays thousands of his origami works. Although people usually fold paper cranes, flowers, and insects, he specialises in making origami fighter jets and has produced 600 types so far.

The origami expert hailing from Yong Peng, Johor, first became interested in origami after attending an airplane exhibition in Singapore back in 1998. The very first origami fighter jet he made was a F15, an American twin-engine aircraft using a single A4-sized paper.

“After my return from the airplane exhibition, I started making fighter jets by folding papers for my grandson…that was how I started making origami and it has now become my passion,” he told Bernama.

He moved to Penang in 2000 to teach at Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Cina Kwang Hwa and would produce origami to be given to his students as gifts.

“It was then that a teacher friend suggested that I sell origami fighter jets because the origami is unique and beautiful. So, that started me making origami fighter jets and I initially gave my craftwork to non-governmental organisations for them to sell to raise donations,” he said.

After receiving encouraging response, Ee participated in the Armenian Street Market, a weekend market, to sell his origami pieces. He managed to sell between 40 to 50 origami fighter jets of various sizes daily, with his sales totalling RM300.

The origami fighter jets are priced at RM5 to RM10 according to size and type. The largest F15 origami that he has crafted is over one metre in size, and took him almost a day to make. The dexterous retiree is able to produce more than 100 origami fighter jets using A4-sized paper in a day.

“I can produce more than 600 types of origami fighter jets of different size, colour, and type. All my origami fighter jets are not just decorative items but they can fly like other airplanes,” he said.

Address: Modern Origami Studio, 3B-18-12 Bukit Jambul Court, Jalan Rumbia, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Pulau Pinang

Contact: 0164831816

Email: [email protected]

Image credit: K. Ganeson,