Musings on Travel, Fashion & Fun

What I would do just to see her smile…


I visited North Bridge Road Market & Food Centre for the very first time with a friend who frequents there. When we went to buy coffee, I remarked to him how elderly the stall owner was. He told me “This aunty has a very hard life. She is never happy; I have never seen her smile.” Intrigued, the happy-go-lucky me probed further. I wished I hadn’t, cos’ what he told me was so tragic, I thought only existed in a TV drama serial like Oshin.

The feisty lady started her life with a beautiful family of 4 children. Until the 2nd World War killed her husband and she had to work at a brick factory to support her family. One son passed away. 2 sons are mentally challenged and unable to support themselves, thus relying on her to bring back the income. She has severed ties with her daughter who only wants money from her – she would come help out at the stall for a short while and take the entire day’s earnings which the elder needed badly to support her sons. Once, the elderly lady resisted and was threatened with a knife. By her own daughter.

At this point, I could feel a lump in my throat as I fought back tears. While we are actively engaging financial consultants to plan for our future retirement, this is a lady who can never retire, for the sake of her family. While we are having $60 wagyu steaks, this is a lady earning her keep, cup by cup. She must be in her eighties, and worrying what would happen to her sons when she passes on.

I was so touched, I went to buy 10 cups of coffee and bread. That’s the least I can do. I can’t change her life, but I can at least make a day better for her. She silently worked behind her stall, preparing the orders, emotionless. She was pretty intrigued with my dressing though, and I could see a slight smile. Finally – my crazy dressing made someone deservingly happy. Maybe I will get her some clothes for New Year too (not mine for sure) – I noticed she was wearing a man’s shirt. I suspected she was sharing her sons’ shirts for economies of scale…oh my gawd.

The next time you are at North Bridge Road Market & Food Centre, why not get a drink from her (there’s load of good food there too)? The coffee’s really not bad, and it’s one of the few places who offer steamed bread with kaya (coconut jam). And very affordable too – I have not seen a 70-cent coffee for a long time in Singapore ($1.20 on average). And hopefully, cup by cup, we will put a smile on her one day.


Author: spunktitud3

A little post by a fun-loving spunky gal in love with the quirky, the artsy and anything which inspires new creations. Read about her adventures on: spunktitud3.wordpress.com

4 thoughts on “What I would do just to see her smile…

  1. I bet her coffee and tea will make her customers happy. I will visit the food market someday. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

  2. What a sweet post and what a tragic life!!! If I am in the area will sure visit her stall. And how nice that ur outdit brought on a faint smile on her face! That’s why I love people that dress colorful, pretty, quirky and different. They brighten up the streets and our days!

  3. She is not that old, you know.. she is still a child when world war 2 is over. Quite impossible to be married and husband killed during WWII. Where did you hear the story from? I live around here and ordered drinks from her and her daughter almost everyday. They are nice and always chatty.

    • Hello Lam, I heard the story from a friend who frequents her stall. If she got married in her teenage years, I think it is possible to have a husband and children during the WWII period (or slightly after). If you happen to ask her, let me know if you hear otherwise. In any case, I would still like to see her smile. Been there a few times and she always has a poker face lol. I wonder what would make her laugh? :)

What do you think? Let me know!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s