The queues were exceptionally long and I was told that the uncle had the opportunity to "close his shop" pretty early into the night. Some residents, like us, took their cameras out to take a photograph of the man who had served us for the past 40 years.
Final pictures of Hai Kee Teochew Cha Kua Teow
He explained that he did not bother to pass on his unique skills of frying kuay teow to his children because he knows that it is a difficult and tough trade which requires a lot of time and effort. There were days that he would return home with a back pain that is so severe that he cannot stand or sit comfortably. "I'm old already and I guess I will retire if I feel that I cannot continue one day."
A sumptuous plate of cha kuay teow
His stall, like many others in Commonwealth Avenue Cooked Food Centre, was a simple and basic one first conceived by the authorities 41 years ago. Lighted by a single bulb that is powerful enough to be seen metres away, it would be difficult not to locate his store from afar. At 5pm every day, he would dutifully lift the shutters and prepare his ingredients. This include the a bucket of kuay teow, a bucket of noodle and a large bowl of "hums" which he gives away generously. When asked why he would put so much hum, he candidly says, "Why need to save?" Perhaps some residents may not find his kuay teow as delicious as before, but in my opinion, I believe a plate of food means more than the amount of ingredients or the price of it. The smiles and the unique cooking method, as of now, will be history. In time to come, will we bother to remember all of these?
Serving his last few customers