Today is National Day in Singapore. I am thinking of one beloved institution in our Katong community. The bicycle shop 'Song Seng Chan' in Joo Chiat closed its doors at the end of June, after 81 years of selling bicycles to several generations. It had witnessed the Japanese Occupation, the riots in the 1950s and 1960s, the new Independence in 1965, and finally today, Singapore in all its modern, high-tech glory.
My father was my son's age when the shop first opened. His father was a customer. I'm only relieved that my daughter and I had recently purchased our Raleigh bikes from there, when we last visited Singapore in March.
I had promised my children that I would purchase them bikes if they learnt to ride. With the help of Uncle Donald, they learnt to pedal on two wheels within 10 minutes.
If only shops like Song Seng Chan stood around for many more years.