An elderly former Sungei Road Thieves Market vendor has been left destitute following the closure of the market, one of many cases where the old aunties and uncles who used to ply their trade there have been badly impacted by the closing.

Read Save Sungei Road Market Facebook page’s post here.

“They say it takes a village to raise a child. In Singapore or maybe in Sungei road market area, it takes a community to keep an elderly person alive. Mr Lau is a familiar figure in the area. It is hard not to do a double take if you pass by him. 36 long years of hawking in the market till its closure, under sun and rain, has made him tanned and leathery. He is reticent, and looks down and out. But once you sit down and talk to him, he is friendly and open, though hard of hearing which can be expected of someone in his 80s.

The closure of the market ended his only source of livelihood. The second time development has pulled the rug from under his feet. The first was when he had to close down his car repair workshop when the shophouse he rented in the Jalan Besar area was torn down and redeveloped. That was when he turned to Sungei road market for a living.

Today, the charity from residents of the area and Samaritans keep him going. He continues to receive donations of used goods and cash. When asked if he plans to apply for public assistance since he is currently living in a subsidised rental flat, he said no. He is grateful to the donations he is getting. An old friend from Sungei road market brings him a free lunch box given out by the community centre most days. What he wishes is for another Sungei road market to depend on his own, not handouts.”

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