MANY of the shop owners of bustling businesses in Little India fear that their lives won’t be the same in the years to come, due to changing times and impending refurbishment of the area.
These businesses have occupied the same buildings for over a century and still stand tall today.
One such business that has withstood the test of time is Ghi Rish’s sculpture business which has been in his family for three generations. It has occupied the same building on for over 60 years.
“We used to rent this building for only RM40 per month, but now it has increased to RM1,500,” said the 57-year-old businessman.
Rish’s grandparents migrated from India to set up a textile business in Malaysia, but after decades of dealing with silks and cottons, Rish decided to expand the family business by adding sculptures to their inventory about 15 years ago.
“I guess I just have a passion for sculptures,” he said. “All of my sculptures are imported from China and India. I also restore some of them myself.”
When asked about the future of this family business, Rish grew wistful and said, “I feel sad that my business won’t be taken over by my son but I have no choice but to accept it, you know lah … youngsters nowadays.”
Rish hopes to be able to continue doing what he loves for as long as he can but knows that it will only be a matter of time before he has to move the business elsewhere.
Also anticipating the impending move is 56-year-old Muhammad Azlan Abdul Malick who has been running a the tarik stall for over 20 years in Little India.
“I’m worried that my customers won’t recognise my stall. Most of the people who visit this stall are my loyal customers,” said Azlan, who claims to serve the best cup of ginger tea in the vicinity.
“The recipe for my ginger tea has been in my family for years and I’ve known how to make it since I was nine. I use eight different types of spices to flavour my tea,” Azlan shared. “But a magician never reveals his tricks!”