Memories of Bygone Days – Sale of the Century


“It’s been there ever since you can remember  – the Chinese roof, the stone lions in front of the red door.  But in September 1982, that Orchard Road landmark was demolished.  All that’s left of C. K. Tang would be our memories” – Yvonne Quah.

[Source:  The Straits Times, 24 September 1982].


Like any business, Tang’s has had its fair share of ups and downs over the last 50 years. Read more about C.K. Tang here .   Please watch the video with courtesy of the ‘Mustsharenews’ group on Facebook here .

Chiam Sum Guan, linen and bedding supervisor, can’t quite forget the sense of loss when Grandma Tang died.

He also remembers how Tang expanded from a mere 10 departments to 30 in one year and there were floods and bomb scares but infinitely more memorable were the shoplifters.

One shoplifter locked himself into the staff toilet, hoping to spend the night wrapping up his stolen goods.

He had hoped to surreptitiously slip out in the early morning rush for the restrooms.

However, he didn’t have long to wait before the security men caught up with him.

The visits of royalty and stars were always a high point.

Mr Tang Wee Sung, General Manager, remembers being awe-struck and terrified being presented to Prince Norodum Sihanouk and Princess Monique.

He was then a youngster in shorts clutching a Brownie camera.

Although he was dumb-founded he did manage to click his Brownie camera.

Recently, the same schoolboy took the Prince and Princess round the new store, self-assured and at ease.

The Christmas rush will always remain a significant memory for Alice Wee, Information Supervisor.


She used to have to package as many as 500 to 600 parcels a day.

And once, she had to choose $3,000 worth of Christmas presents for a customer who hadn’t any time to do his Christmas shopping.

Others have childhood memories of the stationery department as a haven for school children.

There were pencil boxes galore, coloured pencils in boxes of 42 colours, records, cards and hordes of other bargains.

We all must have our own peculiar memories over the years.

As an anniversary celebration, Tangs had a host of in-store activities to take us down memory lane (from 24 September, 1982 to 16 October, 1982).

Tangs recaptured the dying trades and vanishing crafts, a cooking demonstration.

Paper profile cutter, Mr Tan Yee Hong cut profiles for customers at minimal charge of $5.

Mr C.K. Tseng’s Red Lion Collection was on show.  Other exhibitions include Nonya ware, old clocks, Victorian items and the fashion of the 30s.

There was ikebana and bonsai demonstrations in addition to copper tooling and glass blowing.

Two cobblers were on hand to demonstrate making ladies’ shoes and the opportunity to order custom-made shoes.

And to really lure us back to the good old days, there would be a “five-stones” demonstration.


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