This watercolour painting titled “Ah Liam Provision Shop” by our local artist Foo Kwee Horng calls to mind fond memories of mom-and-pop stores, or what I like to call “map” stores that I grew up with.
There was a small “map” store very near the entrance of the ticket gates at the underground train station in Toa Payoh. Despite its tiny floor space, I liked the spread of merchandise, specifically the local snacks and a surprising range of pretty stickers hanging on a rack. Whenever I’m visiting the area, I would pop into the shop to browse and buy a snack to munch just before leaving the station for my appointment.
Then about 1 or 2 months ago, there was a hand-written “Closing Sale” sign put up in the shop. I overheard the boss telling a customer that the lease was expiring, so they were wrapping up. Oh no. A few days after that when I was back at the station again, a convenience store belonging to a national-chain had emerged — and I have since skipped snack time.