53-year-old record shop in Chinatown has been losing S$1k a month for the past 3 years

Despite these difficulties, Wong enjoys running the business and wants to continue doing so.

Tanya Ong | November 22, 2018, 04:31 PM

Long-time CD shop Foo Leong Records located in Chinatown is struggling to survive, according to Lianhe Wanbao.

For the past three years, the business has reportedly been losing close to S$1,000 every month.

Foo Leong in the 1980s and 1990s

The 53-year-old CD shop is owned by 78-year-old Wong Nam Thye.

Her business started out as a roadside stall at Pagoda Street before she moved to a shop space in Chinatown Complex in 1983.

Photo screenshot via video, archive footage from NAS.

The business was booming in the 1980s, as records were a big source of entertainment then.

Occupying two units, Wong would sell records by popular Hong Kong singers like Fong Fei Fei, Leslie Cheung and Roman Tam (Luo Wen).

Photo screenshot via video, archive footage via NAS.

Foo Leong records was doing so well in the 1980s that Wong had her husband, two kids and four other staff to help run the shop.

Business has dwindled

Business has since dwindled, and Wong acknowledges that she is operating in a sunset industry now.

With the advent of the internet, people can download songs off the internet and no longer need to rely on records.

Photo via Kiwi Edward Lim's Facebook.

Wong said that the shop is now able to sell about 10 CDs on a good day. On a bad day, the number hovers around two to three.

She considers it "not bad" if they can earn S$100 every month.

"I've spent nearly my entire life here"

Photo screenshot via video

Despite these financial difficulties, Wong wants to press on.

She mentioned that her son has persuaded her to close the business and retire by the end of 2018, but Wong finds joy in running the shop:

"I've spent nearly my entire life here. I like to run this shop, and chat with the neighbours and my old customers. It's way better than staying at home."

You can watch a video about Foo Leong Records by the Singapore Memory Project here:

Top photo by Kiwi Edward Lim & screengrab from irememberSG video.