APRIL 10, 2023: If you examine the relief carving on the face of a coin, you will know what a 2.5D image is. It’s not completely flat. You can feel a bit of depth on the image, but you cannot look at the back of it because it is not a statue. Thomas Yoon Chee Tuck found a way of carving the Divine Mercy image in 2.5D during the lockdown in 2020. The outcome: a deeper understanding of the Divine Mercy devotion; and a best-selling product.
“It was during this time of searching for a worship encounter that I was attracted to the online mass broadcast from the Church of the Divine Mercy in Penang. What attracted me was the chaplet of the Divine Mercy which was sung before mass. Prior to this, I was meditating using my rosary on the standard Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries. I was not aware that there was a sung chaplet using the same rosary.”
He got more curious and googled for more info. He then found out about St Faustina, her story and the divine messages she received, and how this devotion started.
He was looking for an image of the Divine Mercy. “I chose the 2D Hyla Divine Mercy picture as a basis for developing into a 2.5D image for engraving. It was then that I noticed that there were many other subjects that had been rendered as 2.5D carvings by other artists, but not the Divine Mercy picture. All the Divine Mercy images that I found were either paintings printed on paper or canvas, or rendered as 3D sculptures.” said the 67-year-old who lives in Butterworth.
He then created his own engraving machine and started experimenting. This was months before the March 2020 lockdown.
Creating the Divine Mercy image proved to be a good decision. “I found that of all the pictures I did, the Divine Mercy one seemed to sell better. So, I decided to concentrate on it. But by then, I had also found out more about the devotion, its history, the promises and the good that it can bring to people from practicing this devotion.”
“It then dawned on me that I am actually helping to spread the devotion to more people by creating the product, because one of the promises from the diary of St Faustina was, #570, “I promise that the soul that will venerate this image (of Divine Mercy) will not perish”. This gave me added motivation to continue developing the Divine Mercy image as, who knows, maybe this might be my calling.”
Yoon became a Catholic when on board a ship. The Tapah-born was a marine engineer from Ipoh who travelled the high seas for nine years and it was during port calls to Australia that he came in contact with missionaries from Mission to Seamen, Flying Angels and Stella Maris who distributed bibles and tracts. He then accepted Jesus as his Lord and Saviour.
“Because I was working onboard a ship, I was given permission to be baptised without going through one year of instructions in RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults). But I had read the bible from beginning to end on my own. Later, I did attend the one-year course together with other RCIA participants at St Francis of Assisi Church in Cheras, KL.”
After he left the seas, he worked in Kapar, Prai, Penang, Kulim and Kuala Lumpur over a span of 35 years. During those years, he became involved in various church activities. Yoon was in the “Becoming Disciples through Bible Study” programme, first as participant and then as facilitator from 2000 to 2006 and had conducted this programme at various churches in the Penang Diocese.
He was a warden at the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Butterworth for many years during his early days. He was a BEC leader for St Paul at the Our Lady of Fatima Church in Brickfields for a few years. Presently, he is the BEC leader for St Matthew at the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Butterworth.
During his sailing days, he developed an interest in photography and watercolour painting, and started selling his work. Then with the start of Internet and as digital cameras started hitting the market, he found a more cost-effective way of pursuing his interest and selling them.
In 2015, he came across videos on how to create mini CNC (computer numerical control) machines using floppy disk drives. This was when his fascination for 2.5D carved images started. He started working on creating his own machine and once that was done, he worked on creating a 2.5D edge-lit Divine Mercy acrylic lamp with rays that glow.
He says this is probably the first 2.5D image of the Divine Mercy with rays that glow.
It’s never just about the business for Yoon. However, by joining up with other entrepreneurs, who themselves come from different backgrounds and levels of faith, he was kept up to date on happenings at various churches, ministries, etc. He sees himself growing spiritually also due to finding out more details about the Divine Mercy.
Yoon’s products can be found at the St Anne’s Gift Shop at the Minor Basilica of St Anne in Bukit Mertajam. You can also contact him directly.