A jewellery store at Thomson Plaza became famous for its brutally honest signs during the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic.
The elderly store owner frequently posts signs in English, Chinese, or both about anything from his impending retirement to a lunch break.
Sadly, those times seem to be coming to an end, as the store put up what appears to be a gigantic break-up text with Thomson Plaza, announcing its closure.
Fret not, however, as the store owner does not intend to forever doom us to a world without his signs. He hinted at a possibility of moving his business to Holland Road Shopping Centre instead.
The store in question, Diamond Craft, is located on the first floor of Thomson Plaza.
In the grim darkness of the year 2020, the store owner went viral for putting up humorous posters and banners. Many considered them brutally honest, the exact opposite of corporate speak.
Instead of a classic sales advertisement, the owner instead declared that “Covid-19 has clamped its tentacles around our neck”. Thus, the “old man” (himself) decided to speed up his own retirement, announcing that his jewellery would be going for “20% below cost”.
Diamond Craft has been in business since 1983, an impressive run of 40 years, according to TheGrid. Although the store has been around for so long, this didn’t stop speculation that the banner was simply a sales gimmick.
In response, the old owner threw down the (diamond) gauntlet to his doubters. He issued them a challenge to buy his store space and get him out of there. To hammer the point home, in bold text he wrote, “DARE YOU!!!”
He also printed out the sign in Chinese so non-English readers could force him into retirement too.
Those who thought this was the limit of his sign-writing power were sorely mistaken. Since the first few posters went up, smaller, handwritten signs emerged too, taped to the store’s closed shutters.
But instead of a lengthy announcement, the owner was merely declaring that he had cravings for roasted duck and steamed fish and had left briefly to eat. This was perhaps among his notably shorter signs.
Despite the brevity, he wasn’t short on poetry. In Chinese, he described having the meal as worshipping the ‘Tooth God’ and ‘Stomach Monster’.
Just when we thought we had seen it all, the old man published what looked like a thesis on a banner at his storefront earlier this year.
In red text, he called mallgoers who ignored his signboard shop “prodigal”, as they “disregard the chance of securing treasure at an iron-ore price”. Included on his hit list was everyone “indifferent to the material world”.
Pointing out how everyone keeps mumbling about ‘Grab’ now, he urged them to ‘grab’ his stock or carry their regret to their graves.
He claimed that he was selling his jewellery at “20% loss”, as if trying to gain customers’ sympathy — the very same people confronted with the lengthy banners and bolded words.
Calling himself the “old bald fogey”, he explained that they needed to sell below cost to get some money back for his retirement fund.
He then went after funeral parlours for their inflated prices, and the politicians Putin, Biden, and Zelensky for their political tension. They better avoid his wrath lest they be greeted with a 3km by 3km banner.
The old owner then surprisingly showed his ‘woke’ side by slamming the greedy nature of capitalism. He pointed out that other jewellery retailers unethically profit off their hapless consumers by selling their wares at “tens of times of the actual value”.
Lastly, our ‘newest comrade’ announced the closure of his jewellery shop by the end of 2023.
Funnily enough, the shop never did close by the stipulated time in the very huge banner.
Instead, on 21 Sep, a Redditor shared a photo of yet another banner — possibly the largest one yet — titled “Cut Off, Abandon, and Move Forward”. In brackets, he explained “The old misery[sic] is moving out!!!”
Seemingly churning out full essays now, the owner essentially put up a literal wall of bilingual text that covered an entire section of the store. He also appeared to have used up at least 30% of the global pink ink supply.
The banner is titled after the Chinese Internet term “断舍离”, which refers to giving up and throwing away things that are not necessary, thus being able to lead a simpler and better life after. An appropriate English translation would be ‘decluttering’.
In sentences sounding strangely like a break-up text with the mall, he declared, “I have taken decisive actions to cut off all possible obsessions related to Thomson Plaza.” He further stated that, “I sold all the shop units I used to own in this mall”.
Even the business potential of the Thomson-East Coast Line could not change his mind about retirement. His shop possessed no heir, as he found it fortunate that his sons could work in “more meaningful fields” instead of at his store.
Addressing questions of why he doesn’t feel pity or sentimental about giving up the business of over 40 years, the owner had a surprisingly eloquent answer.
He wrote that “where there is birth, there must be death”. When a business starts, it will inevitably end, and there’s nothing to feel shame or pity about.
For the old man at least, the bigger loss is his loyal patrons, who have become akin to trusted friends. He considered having to part ways with them as an “emotional burden entangling his mind”, but he had made up his mind about heading towards “absolute retirement”.
He announced Diamond Craft’s final day of business in Thomson Plaza as 21 Jan 2024, marking the true end of an era — both for the jewellery shop and probably for the printing business that made bank off his banners.
MS News wishes the old fogey a happy and blissful retirement. It seems likely that no one will fill the void of 1,000-word banners in our heart again.
But wait, hol’ up. What’s that last line there at the bottom?
Oh, he’s resuming business…possibly at Holland Shopping Centre on 18 Mar 2024 but he’s “not so sure yet”. He will even be retaining Diamond Craft’s telephone lines. So, whether he’s actually retiring remains a mystery. Guess we’ll have to look out for newer banners with lots more info on the new location (if there is one).
Should the shop really relocate, we wonder if he’ll grace the mall with his unconventional communication methods as well.
Whatever happens next, we wish the owner all the best with his endeavours and hope he’ll lead a happy life.
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