Ipoh septuagenarian diligently opens shop daily for 50 years selling vinyl records, cassettes and knick-knacks

Shopkeeper Cheng Ah Lek still diligently opens the outlet despite a dwindling clientele.— Photo by Farhan Najib
Shopkeeper Cheng Ah Lek still diligently opens the outlet despite a dwindling clientele.— Photo by Farhan Najib
IPOH, Oct 21 -- Two years shy of celebrating his 80th birthday, Cheng Ah Lek's fervent wish is to sell all his stock of old vinyl records, cassettes and other knick-knacks in his shop.

The father of two, however, knows that it will be impossible as his collection only attracts collectors.

Despite that, Cheng still diligently opens the outlet, located on the third floor of the Central Market opposite the former McDonald's outlet at Jalan Mustapha Albakri daily.

Cheng said he had been operating the business "Perniagaan Nanyang" for the past 50 years.

"I used to operate from a shop on Osborne Street (now Jalan Dato Tahwil Azhar) for 30 years before moving here as the landlord decided to sell the shop lot," he said.

Cheng said he has a variety of records and cassettes at his shop and some of the vinyls are no longer in production.

"There are The Platters, Paul Anka, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Beetles and Ahmad Yusoh while my collection of cassettes comprises of English, Malay and Chinese albums," he said.

Speaking to Malay Mail, Cheng said his business had seen better days when he was operating at the former shop.

"At that time, I could earn hundreds in a day but now I can count myself lucky if I can make enough for me and my wife."

Now the shop serves more of a place for him to unwind and friends gather.

Cheng often finds himself wiling the time away at his store playing the erhu. — Picture by Farhan Najib
Cheng often finds himself wiling the time away at his store playing the erhu. — Picture by Farhan Najib
Cheng, who stays at the nearby Waller Court flat, said he comes to the shop to listen to music and also play the erhu (a two-stringed bowed musical instrument or spike fiddle from China).

"Before the movement control order (MCO) was enforced in March, my friends would come every Sunday and we would play the traditional music," said Cheng, who learned to play music on his own during his teens.

The gathering had since stopped after the implementation of MCO.

Coming to the shop is also Cheng's way to keep fit.

"I can at least get some exercise as I walk from my house to the shop," said Cheng, who only eats rice once a day as his fitness regime.

For those interested to purchase Cheng's collection, his shop is open daily from noon to 3pm.

"Unless I am hospitalised, I will be here at the shop every day," the septuagenarian, who suffers from diabetes and hypertension, chuckled.

 

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