Saturday, August 20, 2011

Uncle Happy

Uncle Happy Tan
Things happen. Sometimes, they just happen. Today was a bloody hot day. After dropping off my little girl for her Sat Violin class, I went in search of old shop recommended by Chris Wee which might have the extinct 1" ultra short ahead threadless stem I was looking for. Reaching the shop, I met an elderly figure by the name of Mr Tan. He listened patiently to my needs and went fumbling around his shop. The place is a treasure trove of old parts and bits of history every where. Surprisingly, he came up with a few close alternatives but nothing caught my fancy. If this was another shop, I think I would be given the ..."wah lau..what u want..."  look but he was just cool about it. Gave me his number and told me to call him in a couple of days to check if he can find a closer match. Wahh... I was so touched. I just looking for a cheapo stem ... now that's called service!
quietly toiling along.. 

Something from Italy
no flashy tools ... it just works
I true wheels. That's what I do. 
Chatting with him, it turns out Mr Tan has been in operation for 30 over years. .  His motto is "just be happy, u happy, I am happy"  In a quiet dusty corner, I spotted a faded photo frame of a short european with Mr Tan in his younger days. And he just quietly smiled.. "oh that's Mr Colnago himself... I used to sell lots of colagno and he came to my shop lah...."  Talking to him was like taking a lesson on life. Be happy and be nice to others and nice to urself.  I know I am in the presence of a Giant in the SG bicycle biz... a gentle giant who is big enough to be nice to all.
Thank you Uncle Happy Tan for the wonderful chat and I will be back for my funny stem soon!
More photos on Uncle Happy Tan shop here 


  1. beautiful post Taiwoon ......

    and so true:

    "Talking to him was like taking a lesson on life. Be happy and be nice to others and nice to urself."

    enjoy your day :)

  2. He is happy becoz he is passionate about what he is doing, and he treats people well.

  3. He's the happiest face in the SG bike industry as he has seen all the ups and downs since the 1950's. No stress since he also does not need to sell U anything unless U really ask repeatedly. Preferred drink is teh C kosong in the tin can !

  4. ChrisW, yah lor... no hard sell... very amazing. noted on the teh C kosong. Will bring a cuppa to pay my school fees to Uncle Happy!

  5. Also a shop that has been around this long will have it's share of unhappy customers and happy ones too, same like any other business, enemies and friends. Enemies form an opinion quickly, friends find out good and bad points over the years, and then make their own lets say, objective judgement. One thing's for sure, no hard sell, and opening hours at best, uncertain ha ha.

  6. Looks like you found a local Shinya Kimura. I can see u in a similar story;)

  7. Doing what you love at work is a rare find...and when you do find it, it just exudes positive aura!

  8. used to go there when i was a kid...owen road....
    yes! he used to sell lots of colnagos...always wanted one but to ex for a pri sch kid..