It takes 360 hours for wood to turn into charcoal. The process starts with selecting good quality wood and gathering them into a kiln. Apart from a small chimney, there are no other gaps. The kiln is fired, then closed and kept burning for 15 days.
A sign that the charcoal is ready is when the smell of burning wood turns from a spicy scent to a herbal one. When this transformation happens, the chimney is sealed and the logs left to cure.
The entire process is done by hand, and although it is hard work, the price of charcoal remains very cheap at RM2 per pack. Nevertheless, the charcoal makers appreciate that despite the low profit and arduous work, they are able to earn money to support their families.
Chris Jung is a KL-based portrait and documentary photographer, focusing on the intersection of photography and photojournalism. He was born in South Korea and studied Photography and Photojournalism at Spéos Paris, France.