My Turf

Where the tradesmen gather

Ms Sior Lili, 23, and her mother, Ms Wong Siew Lin, 61, at their workshop, Sin Keong Air-con and Refrigerator Service, in Geylang East Industrial Complex. Lili helps her mother with administrative work in the office. Mr Loo Theng Hoi of Hup Seng Sign
Ms Sior Lili, 23, and her mother, Ms Wong Siew Lin, 61, at their workshop, Sin Keong Air-con and Refrigerator Service, in Geylang East Industrial Complex. Lili helps her mother with administrative work in the office. ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID
Ms Sior Lili, 23, and her mother, Ms Wong Siew Lin, 61, at their workshop, Sin Keong Air-con and Refrigerator Service, in Geylang East Industrial Complex. Lili helps her mother with administrative work in the office. Mr Loo Theng Hoi of Hup Seng Sign
Above: Ms Wong holding up photos of her four children playing in the office of her workshop at the Geylang East complex. Much of their childhood, she said, was spent in the office.ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID
Ms Sior Lili, 23, and her mother, Ms Wong Siew Lin, 61, at their workshop, Sin Keong Air-con and Refrigerator Service, in Geylang East Industrial Complex. Lili helps her mother with administrative work in the office. Mr Loo Theng Hoi of Hup Seng Sign
Above: Ms Wong in the kitchen area at her workshop, where she cooks meals for her family.ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID
Ms Sior Lili, 23, and her mother, Ms Wong Siew Lin, 61, at their workshop, Sin Keong Air-con and Refrigerator Service, in Geylang East Industrial Complex. Lili helps her mother with administrative work in the office. Mr Loo Theng Hoi of Hup Seng Sign
Mr Loo Theng Hoi of Hup Seng Signcrafts at his desk. The 61-year-old, who specialises in chemical etching, is one of the many tradesmen at the complex. ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID
Ms Sior Lili, 23, and her mother, Ms Wong Siew Lin, 61, at their workshop, Sin Keong Air-con and Refrigerator Service, in Geylang East Industrial Complex. Lili helps her mother with administrative work in the office. Mr Loo Theng Hoi of Hup Seng Sign
Geylang East Industrial Complex was built between 1982 and 1984, and houses more than 400 different tradesmen and their businesses.ST PHOTOS: TIMOTHY DAVID

My Turf is a fortnightly series that aims to share untold stories of our neighbourhoods. In this instalment, we take a look at Geylang East Industrial Complex.

Ask Ms Wong Siew Lin how she coped with raising four children while managing her husband's business, and the 61-year-old will simply ask you to visit her workshop at Geylang East Industrial Complex.

Roughly the size of a one-room Housing Board flat, its floor space is taken up by broken refrigerators, air-conditioners and other electrical appliances, except for a small path that leads to Ms Wong's office.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 25, 2018, with the headline 'Where the tradesmen gather'. Print Edition | Subscribe