Meet the people behind three shops in HDB’s Top 50 Favourite Shops poll
In December, the HDB announced the winners of its Top 50 Favourite Shops contest. The contest, organised as part of Singapore's Golden Jubilee celebrations, was for residents to recognise their favourite neighbourhood shops. More than 1,000 HDB merchants were eligible. From July to October, more than 8,000 people voted for their favourites. The Sunday Times speaks to three of the winners and their customers
Open: 11.30am to 7.30pm, Monday to Saturday This Malay clothing retailer and tailor, open since 2007, is run by a Chinese couple.
Ms Connie Wong, 45, tailors Malay clothes such as baju kurung, baju pahang and long dresses. Her husband, former finance analyst Allan Yam, 41, joined the business in 2014.
They choose to specialise in Malay clothes because they feel it is a niche market. Ms Wong also has more than 20 years of experience creating such clothes using materials such as linen, satin and chiffon, mostly from local suppliers.
Their customers include teenagers, the elderly and families. During the Hari Raya Puasa season, their shop can have up to 200 customers daily.
Ms Wong, a Malaysian, speaks fluent Malay and Mr Yam, a Singaporean, is learning the language.
He says: "I have a list of commonly used Malay phrases saved in my phone, so I can refer to them if I need to."
One of the customers who voted for them is Madam Aseh Supa'at, 61.
The school attendant was introduced to the shop two years ago by a friend and she had two pink and orange baju kurung made for herself.
Since then, the Tampines resident has had another eight pieces made, paying $120 to more than $400.
She says: "The shop is near my home and they know how to make clothes that fit my size and shape. I feel comfortable here and we can chat about anything."
During her niece's wedding last September, she got her three younger sisters, aged 48, 46 and 43, to tailor matching turquoise outfits at the shop.
Ms Wong and Mr Yam have two sons, aged 11 and eight, and a daughter, five. They live in a five-room HDB flat in Punggol.
Ms Wong says of their win in the HDB contest: "Although winning is good, understanding our customers and Malay culture in general has been an even bigger reward for us."
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