Evolution Of Singapore Mama Shops Evokes Nostalgia For Simpler Times
Singapore has truly developed through the generations. Skyscrapers line our city landscape. Neon lights and futuristic façade dress modern establishments.
These are signs that Singapore is evolving into a first-class nation. But we certainly miss the old and familiar sights that defined our childhoods.
One that instantly floods our minds with fond memories are the ubiquitous mama shops, or convenience stores often found at the void decks of HDB flats.
Mama shops in Singapore were once a dime a dozen. Now, the few that exist can almost be deemed heritage sites.
Follow us as we walk down memory lane, through an album by Facebook group Daily Quote Singapore.
Childhood memories buying candy at mama shops
As kids, we were so eager to rush to the mama shop to purchase our favourite candy. We managed to beg our parents for just enough money to splurge on something that was going to spoil our dinner. But we got to have it nonetheless.
A familiar sight is seeing the uncles having an easy afternoon as they tend their shop. They look out for residents making a quick stop to buy a canned drink.
These provisions shops are often rented below an HDB block for the accessibility and convenience of Singaporeans who could easily buy something on their way home. That late-night craving for chocolate and chips can easily be satisfied with just a lift ride down.
Besides candies and drinks, there was a different kind of mama shop that sold sun-dried foods. These were frequented by homemakers who use the ingredients to cook delicious meals for their families.
The range and variety of spices and ingredients were endless.
Around since the 80s
These unique shops have actually been around since the 1980s.
Sadly, due to the rise of supermarkets, the mama shops have slowly dwindled in existence.
Still, these shops continued to be self-sufficient provision shops that sold a myriad of products, from toys to snacks and magazines.
The famous money tin hung by a string
When we walked in as children, we were curious by the sight of a tin container dangling at the top with a raffia string.
But after our mums handed the uncle some money and he raises his hand to pull the tin can down, we realise that that’s where all the ‘treasures’ are kept.
That’s not the best part. After the mama shop uncle was done with it, he would simply let go of the tin and it swings right back up in a smooth zip. In our naive minds then, it seemed like magic.
History makes a person & a country
For many of us who grew up in the era when mama shops were aplenty, browsing through these photos certainly jogs some fond memories.
But more than that, they remind us of the businesses and livelihoods that have slowly faded with the times.
Let’s continue to patronise these mama shops to help them survive, and contribute to the shop owners’ incomes.
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