Elderly man in viral sundry shop photo says he makes enough to get by

Elderly man in viral sundry shop photo says he makes enough to get by
PHOTO: Facebook/Ricky Tay

A picture speaks a thousand words.

It may be common knowledge that businesses have taken a hit during the ongoing pandemic, but a recent Facebook photo of a lone elderly man tending to an old school sundry shop still hit many in the feels.

The photo, uploaded by one Joan Sami K on Aug 29, was also accompanied by an impassioned plea for netizens to support the man's store at North Bridge Road Market and Food Centre.

"It's late and yet he is still hanging on," she wrote.

"He's earning an honest livelihood through hard work, not begging for a living. Support your local little shops. They have it tougher than the big supermarkets."

The picture, showing the simple, rustic shop surrounded by other shuttered businesses, garnered over 24,000 shares at the time of writing and more than a few sympathetic comments.

"Sad to see that at his age, he has to go through long hours [of] work. He must be from the generation that cherish resilience and self-reliance," one commenter said.

In a similar vein, another opined: "It's [very] sad to see people like that. They should be taken care of."

However, the man, who is in his 80s, told 8world yesterday (Aug 31), that he is doing just fine and makes just enough to get by.

Identified only as Huang, he was amused when asked if he knew of his sudden internet fame, saying, "I'm aware. It feels very good."

He hasn't noticed a marked increase in business since his photograph went viral, he said. But there have been a few more customers stopping by and paying him a little extra for his goods.

He also clarified that things aren't as dire as they appear in the photograph.

"The store on my right sells coffee powder and only opens in the afternoon. The one on my left closes by early afternoon. So it looks like I'm the only store left operating," he explained.

Huang, who lives in a rental flat with a friend, has been operating the sundry store since 1976.

When asked if he has ever thought of retiring, he waved off the idea, saying, "No lah. What else can I do if I retire.

"At least I don't have to go around and beg for money."

Open daily from about 6am to 3 or 4pm, the store stocks a variety of dried goods.

Huang's offerings include beancurd skin, mushrooms, beans, potatoes, as well as a variety of canned food and instant noodles, according to Mothership.

He also carries packets of raw peanuts, green beans, black beans, brown sugar and rock sugar for just $1 each.


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