Customers in Holland Village have paid tribute to popular news-stand owner Periathambi G., who died on Thursday. The 70-year-old - who was known as Mr Thambi and started distributing papers when he was eight - had been suffering from diabetes and kidney failure for more than a decade.
"It's a loss to the community," said Ms Irene K., a teacher in her 40s. "But he left behind a wonderful legacy and a professional, personalised and passionate approach to the newspaper business." The veteran owner opened Thambi Magazine Store in 1996, but the news-stand can trace its roots back to the 1960s, when Mr Thambi's father would deliver newspapers on his bicycle when the area was a kampung.
Today, the news-stand carries about 4,000 publications from around the world. Passionate about the business, Mr Thambi worked until his late 50s, when he fell ill. He fell into a coma on Thursday evening and died later that night.
"He has been in and out of the hospital but his death still came as a shock to us," said his eldest son, Mr P. Senthilmurugan, 39, who runs the news-stand with his siblings, in-laws and mother. Second son P. Govindasamy, 33, added: "Even after my father fell ill, he would ask that we bring him to the shop. "He would sit down with a cup of coffee, chat with the residents and ask our workers to tell him what had made the news that morning." Mr Thambi's wake is being held at Block 20, Holland Drive.
A procession took place on Saturday, stopping outside his shop and tracing one of his old newspaper delivery routes before leaving for the Mandai Crematorium at 5.30pm. The news-stand, which closed on Friday, reopens Monday.
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