No succession plans yet
While the hawker has one child, there are no plans for succession. “My son is still studying in NTU (Nanyang Technological University) because I married late. He still has another two years [before graduating] – maybe I pass [the business over] to him lah, see whether he wants or not,” he says nonchalantly. The younger Chua, 26-year-old Eddy, used to help out at the stall occasionally, but has since stopped now that school has gotten busier (he’s pursuing a degree in Sports Science & Management).
Eddy tells us : “He did not tell me [outright] that he hoped I would take over the biz, but sometimes I feel like he’s trying to hint to me by telling me about customers asking whether I am taking over, and also how being a hawker can be financially sustainable in the long run if done correctly.” For now, the undergrad is unsure if he wants to take over the family’s stall.
That said, it’s not his son’s university fees that are keeping Lawrence working. “Once you’re old, you cannot always stay at home lah. You have to do some work. I think it’s better [for our well-being],” he avers. “I’m still fine to run my business, and old people must have something to do – so I’ll continue.”
Eddy shares that his father has no plans to retire and travel as “he can’t really walk [long distances]”, though “in [his father’s] own words, he feels ‘more energised than ever and motivated to sell more’ even after his surgery. He’s a simple person, he just wants to stay active by working rather than staying at home. Of course, my mum and myself would tell him to rest if he doesn’t feel well.”
Lawrence also feels a sense of responsibility to continue serving his loyal customers. “We have customers from all around lah. A lot of them have been coming since they were young, until they’ve become fathers and grandfathers,” he shares.