The Last Generation

Many of the market sellers had the same story “I’m the third generation in this business… and the last. My kids won’t follow in my footsteps.”

His grandfather started this business by planting herbs in a field in Tiong Bahru. “But now no space already. We had to move. So we order from suppliers.”

Both Mr. Chang’s father and grandfather had been herb sellers. As a young man, he worked in the shipyards. But when the time came, he joined his father in the family business.

Another seller explained, “It’s hard work. Nobody wants to get up at 5 o’clock in the morning.”

What will happen when the last generation retires? Will we have to buy all our groceries from the supermarket?

Or perhaps a new generation of immigrants will take their place. It seems that wherever you go in the world, immigrants do the tough jobs but in one to two generations their kids are in university and the next wave takes over.

It’s something lost and something gained.