Beyond Rangoon is a movie about Myanmar but had to be shot in Perak and Penang for political reasons.
Choong has built sets for several movies that had scenes shot in Malaysia. He started doing that in the 90s, and the films he has worked with include Anna and the King and the French production Indochine.
“I used to work with an engineering company,” he said. “When the movie companies came, they wanted to build things. So they went all over the place looking for people to do that for them.
“It seems they liked my work. Almost every year they’d call me back.”
Nowadays, however, with blue screens and computer-generated imagery, there aren’t many movies that require sets to be built. So Choong spends most of his time building props and doing restoration work, especially around Ipoh’s Old Town.
“You learn to be meticulous working with Hollywood companies because they would request almost a complete replica of what you’d find in the old days,” he said.
“What I learned from working with them I apply to restoration work. It is similar in terms of skill and style.”