Mabel (avatar)
updated 9 months ago

Conversations w Ice-Cream Uncle Tan

There’s something about old people that makes them extra cute. Just like how we see babies, but a more mellow form.

This ice-cream uncle is my tagged partner for the weekend because if you don’t already know, Klook x F&N is giving away ice-creams to help uncles go cashless 😌 uncles still get the payment! Klook’s the one sponsoring the ice-creams.

If you wanna get your free ice-cream, you can check out with promo code <HELLOUNCLE> on the ice cream uncles activity.

For easy reference this is where you can go:

Do support the uncles as they practice embracing technology 😌

Tbh events suck the life out of me and standing under a big yellow umbrella with torrential wind and rain making you shiver doesn’t quite help, but at least in the rain I got to talk to Uncle Tan for a bit. And might I just say he proves to be as cute as I think old people to be.

In bad, broken Chinese, “uncle! Why don’t you take the bell and ling ling ling so you can get more attention?”

He shyly waved his hand at me and chuckled, “don’t want la!”

“Uncle! How long more do you think you will do this for?” (He’s been doing it for 51 years)

“Don’t know, maybe 2, 3 years more? Until I can’t ride my bike anymore (COE expires). They don’t make such motorbikes anymore you know. The bikes these days, they spoil fast! Not lasting at all.”

“Uncle! Since your license says you can do island wide why don’t you go around to estate houses and ling your bell? Sounds fun”

“Nah! I can stay here for 2 hours now and make the same amount of money. But back in the day I would visit secondary schools first to have a base before heading here (Orchard Road). Sometimes those secondary kids even come up to me and ask me if I recognize them hahaha”

“Oh that’s nice! Do you?”

“Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. They look very different when they grow up!”

“Uncle! With all the radio and newspaper interviews that happened today, remember to clip them so you can show your daughters okay? Tell them you’re famous!”

Uncle laughs. “You know, there used to be around 30 carts along Orchard Road! Some of them couldn’t continue their business here.”

“Oh, why?”

And takes out some old newspaper clippings from the side of his cart.

Upon reading it tells me of NEA’s lack of licensing to these ice cream hawkers to practice. A very real problem too, as I later discussed with my manager. Apparently no government body is looking after/ stepping in to protect these hawkers/ further issue licenses and so, despite all marketing of ice-cream uncles as heritage icons or a true Singaporean experience, we might not see them in the near future.

My heart sank a little, maybe even a lot.

“Uncle! Do your kids and grandkids come to you asking for ice-cream?”

He grins. “All the time!”

“Uncle! You can’t drive this cart on the expressway right?”

“No, I can’t. Only small roads. But I live nearby so it’s just a short drive away.”

“Wah Uncle! You stay in Orchard, you must be rich!”

That’s pretty much more or less what I could get in during the rain and low times (there aren’t many). But let’s see how today goes because we’re probably expecting a much bigger crowd on the weekend.

If you’re free this weekend, why not come down to Orchard for a free ice-cream? 🙂

Day 111

Saturday, 21 Apr 2018

118 2
chiptease (avatar)

chiptease So cute Mabel!!! Will definitely head down tomorrow to get one myself 😊

9 months ago

yeomabel (avatar)

yeomabel @chiptease see you if I do!! ❤️

9 months ago

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