Mr Yeo was knocking onto the old and rusty shelves and cabinets when we visited his store on their last weekend. At first, we've not intended to post this article. But several residents have wrote in to us to write something to preserve their wonderful memories with the friendly and humourous owners of the Mama shop.
金成 Jin Xie Cheng (Hanyupinized Title and pardon for the translation because the word doesn't exist in the dictionary) was established in 1969 when Mr Yeo's father, a descendant from Kinmen in Taiwan, moved from a kampung stall in Zion to Blk 39A in Margaret Drive They started as a family business serving the residents in the kampung. In the 1970s and 80s, they would deliver food stuff and groceries to the households living around the district as part of their service. Surrounding their stores were tailors, opticians and rows of stores that sold delicious food and snacks. It was around 1990s when his neighbours started to move out because of the closure of the cinemas and emporiums. They were unable to compete with the vast resources and variety offered by the supermarket chain, NTUC Fairprice too. He stayed on because he wished to spend more time with his friends and residents who built a strong rapport with him and his brother over the years.
The familiar store will be a part of memory on 30th April 2010
Decorations in the store was pretty simple. There are old plastic columns containing small items like tissue paper where you would open them like a jar. The antique clock ticks without any roman numerals, was a striking feature. At the back of the store, Coca-Cola and Taoist figurines decorated the display shelves and brought us back by 30 years into the 1980s. Mr Yeo and his friends would sit at the corner of the shop and chatted with his long time friends and buddies. The familiar glee and general concept of the Mama shop was a striking difference from the commercialised chains of supermarkets and shopping centres we can find virtually everywhere. Time seems to freeze for a moment when we could visit this store for one last time. And someone, somewhere would hope that time could freeze forever for us to reminisce.
The old shelves and display
As the doors shut, it marks the end of an era in Queenstown