Monday, 18 August 2014

Fatman of Whampoa West

Found, near Boon Keng MRT. Pics taken by Walter Lo, 18 August 2014. .
I AM quite sure this was the old Fatman of Jalan Besar. It's now at Whampoa West. Established since 1955, the signboard says. The cigar is still hanging from his lips... and the prominent paunch hasn't shrunk an inch.The font for the logo was exactly how I remember it -- fat font (aptly so).

Watch this space again please, as I will try to get the history of this tailor :)

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

In search of 'Fatman'

Fernloft Hostel is now where Fatman used to be at Jalan Besar. Or could Fatman be lurking somewhere inside the hostel...Could I have missed this "fat" signboard?
DO you remember seeing this very well groomed gentleman in full suit with a cigar hanging at his lips, gracing the facade of an old shophouse along Jalan Besar? This profile with the prominent paunch, belonged to a logo used by a tailor on his signboard. It certainly left a big impression in my memories of the 70s and 80s -- when I sat in the bus going to town, looking out of the window.

The signboard was there for the longest time and I always looked out for it as it meant that my bus would soon be reaching Bras Basah Road where I would alight to browse at the row of shophouses there selling used school textbooks, silver jewellery, sports goods and other interesting stuffs. I ceased to look out for Fatman when I no longer take that bus route.

Anyway, recently I Googled "Fatman Tailor Singapore" and Fatman Singapore Gents Wear appeared -- one with address along Jalan Besar, No. 257; and one at 34 Whampoa West. I checked out the Jalan Besar address and found that the unit is now Fernloft Hostel. Couldn't find the Fatman signboard anywhere.

I cannot be sure that the one which used to occupy this unit was the same Fatman of yore though. Haven't checked out the Whampoa West address yet. Watch this space :)
Thai Sun Pawnshop is another landmark from my childhood days which remains today at Jalan Besar. I am going to find my Fatman... I am quite sure it's the same one, now at Whampoa West.

Friday, 1 August 2014

LKF, the tireless axe

Leung Kai Fook Building at No. 84 South Bridge Road.

LEUNG Kai Fook was an extremely familiar name in my childhood days. It cropped up very often in conversations between Mum and Dad. Not sure why. Perhaps it was the name of the company marketing the Axe brand of medicinal oil that was widely used then (and even now). And perhaps my parents admired the man behind the oil -- a Mr Leung Yun Chee (c1900 to 1971) for his entrepreneurial spirit. Mr Leung was from Shunde, China. He came to Singapore in 1922 -- a manager with a silk company before running his own medicinal business. Mr Leung also started the Shin Min Daily News in 1967 (which was sold to SPH some 20 years later).

The smell of the oil was pervasive in my childhood days. Mum had headache quite often... and you can always smell it when you are in the bus. Someone seated way behind at the back was probably carsick and would be dabbing a knotted handkerchief soaked with the oil on the nose. Even today, I could smell it when I went on bus rides.

But it was a little mystery to me why the company was called Leung Kai Fook and not Leung Yun Chee -- till I read the history on the company's website. Kai Fook was the name of his old silk shop in Shanghai. He added his surname to it when he changed it to a drug store.