More than once have people approached our landlord, because they wonder if there could be a chance we give up our store at 93 Club Street. First there was a bookseller (not any on Club Street!), and today there is a rather well-known figure whose father has come up and told of how many concessions they have received in all areas of life as a result of his fame. I’m not sure, these bits of info are volunteered by my landlord. I am sad, disheartened and I have so many questions. I had earlier welcome the bookseller when he came into the store one day (also with his son!), when he wanted to see how big our store was. I didn’t mind this, as I thought it would be good if he could gauge the upstairs unit (up for rental) from looking at our floor space. He asked questions, almost like we were giving it up, but still I thought it fine. Then today our landlord called and asked if we were really interested in his place. I mean, we signed the tenancy agreement long ago… Rental issues on Club Street have become notorious, which explains why Front Row had to move out of its old crib. Today I learn that if you are interested in someone’s rental unit, you could always talk your way into getting the unit, vacant or not. All that matters is getting co-operation from the right sources.
I guess humans are not humans unless they have a business. Whatever that business may be, the human mark, not unlike Cain’s mark, means that we have to decide at every point in the journey of survival, self-interest and legacy. And if our compass is not guided by strong principles, or that our crutches are not backed by a solid integrity, what could the replacement tools be?
How could small, independent businesses like ours prove anything to the country? That art has a place called the heart. That there is no art without science, and vice versa. That freedom is not a privilege. How could we build something Singapore would be proud of, not because we want to be like A or like B, but like what we have painted in our heads, in our heads and nobody else’s before!
93 Club Street is the third place we’ve moved to since we started our little business four years ago. We’ve always depended on ourselves, with our own funds, our own production means, and our own distribution channels, with no external help. We don’t even mind sacrificing press to spend more time on production. We always believed word of mouth, while it may come slower than direct advertising (at least for us), is the only way we know how and will accept. The truth is we have not sought funding because we’re so busy making things come alive. We’ve not known weariness.
I wish I could spell out names and not think about lawyers. (Or fans.)
I wish I could unlearn what I learned today.
Antique Snake Brass Bracelet