Author Topic: A tribute to Foo Leong Record store (on irememberSG)  (Read 5819 times)

Offline EyesWideShut

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A tribute to Foo Leong Record store (on irememberSG)
« on: December 01, 2015, 04:36 »
http://www.iremember.sg/index.php/2015/11/foo-leong-record-store/

I‘m sure all of us in this forum will know Foo Leong Record store, and so do most music lovers in SG over 30 years of age. Many of us have our music memories formed at Foo Leong - how many of us here got our first CDs or even cassettes there? I recall that Foo Leong was still doing well in the late 90s and even into the very early 2000s, until napster and mp3 players took the music scene by storm. While Foo Leong’s competitors of yesteryears like Visma and Dada Records have all folded up, Auntie Wong remains deeply passionate and can’t bear to give up the business that she had painstakingly built up through the decades. It tugged my heartstrings to hear her recollect the good old days and juxtapose that with what is happening now.  Her heart wrenching recollection can be heard between the 1st and 3rd minute of the video.

Unequivocally, the advent of digital media and piracy is brutal and unsympathetic - it gives no quarter to Foo Leong and Auntie Wong. However, just like Auntie Wong, music is all about emotions and memories to me. Such emotions and memories - come from the joy of saving up my weekly pocket money, digging through CD or vinyl racks, searching for that elusive album, and remembering all these with a smile. These memories can hardly be formed with digital media or illegal downloads, which to me are cold, lifeless and forgettable.  In this age of convenience, how much are music and memories worth?

I visited Auntie Wong’s store a few weeks ago on a Saturday afternoon. Gone were the glory days where CDs and cassettes were stacked shoulder high in the back areas of her shop. Auntie Wong now cuts a lonely figure sitting on an old stool at the corner of the shop, smiling at a few elderly customers flipping through a couple of dialect CDs. With old music playing in the background, the shop is a poignant reminder of the passing of time. Somewhat, the visit evoked a sense of sadness and regret in me. I have a confession to make: I was one of those who were caught up with the digital frenzy and plunged into the downward spiral of junk quality music; I was one of those who decided that hi fidelity music were no longer integral to my life; I was one of those who went down the slippery slope and gave up the physical format…..and most of all….I was one of those who valued convenience over memories and stopped buying CDs from her ten years ago. I eventually gave up music for almost ten years of my life.

However, on that fateful day, I could not muster the courage to say all that I wanted to say to her. I can only quietly hope that she will forgive me, and many of us out there.


As for me, I made my comeback into music in 2014 after a hiatus. It is, however, not without regret that the inexorable march of technology has bereft me of the beautiful music memories and emotions that I could have otherwise enjoyed in the last ten years. I do not know how many more “ten years” that I’d have in this lifetime, but I can only say that from now on, I will deeply cherish every single piece of CD, or vinyl, that I pick up. 

What are your music memories?
« Last Edit: December 01, 2015, 04:38 by EyesWideShut »

Offline engjoo

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Re: A tribute to Foo Leong Record store (on irememberSG)
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2015, 05:33 »
Yes feeling sad watching this video too.

I regularly get my CDs from her stall in the early 90s and some of them have become highly collectible) Did I see in one part of the video that she is holding an LP ? I hope this recent LP revival of some sort will help her enjoy the last leg of her business better.

Offline Musicalitea

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Re: A tribute to Foo Leong Record store (on irememberSG)
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2015, 10:08 »
Please help to support Foo Leong Record Store- drop by if you are lunching in Maxwell hawker centre or Chinatown complex especially the fish slice beehoon & many others.

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Online dXter

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Re: A tribute to Foo Leong Record store (on irememberSG)
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2015, 10:12 »
I bought many cassettes and also bootleg pearl jam cds from her store back in 90s. :D

Offline LMN

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Re: A tribute to Foo Leong Record store (on irememberSG)
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2015, 11:20 »
I visited the shop in Pagada Street very often in the early days, their prices are always cheaper by about 20%.  The video did not show her dancing happily alone with the old song in front of the stall when no customers around.

Offline westendboy

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Re: A tribute to Foo Leong Record store (on irememberSG)
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2015, 11:56 »
One of my fave music haunts in the 80s and early 90s. Picked up so many great music in the days.

This is the place I bought Tracy Chapman debut on cassette. On the same day I bought the tape is also the day I had my first breakup. I penned a final letter listening to Chapman's Baby, Can I Hold You on repeat.

Last year I was there very early and I had the privilege to help Aunty opened shop.
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Offline Mackie

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Re: A tribute to Foo Leong Record store (on irememberSG)
« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2015, 11:57 »
I still visit her shop monthly looking for Chinese Audiophile Rainforest cds.  My first visit was during Army days and first purchase was Anzhenchitai cassettes.

Offline tachi

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Re: A tribute to Foo Leong Record store (on irememberSG)
« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2015, 12:06 »
2 thumbs up for the video on Foo Leong record store. I made it a point to visit the store, whenever, I return to S'pore.

Offline studioaux

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Re: A tribute to Foo Leong Record store (on irememberSG)
« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2015, 12:18 »
My friend knows her son and some years back we help to replace a tweeter of the Chario speakers in their shop.

Offline Hanzo

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Re: A tribute to Foo Leong Record store (on irememberSG)
« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2015, 12:29 »
I bought most of my Metallica bootleg from them. The KTS - kiss the stone label type and some  other Nirvana, Iron Maiden cd from them during the 90,s. And always talking to Alvin about if got new Metallica bootleg remember to call me even if the cd songs are repeateded one. I stil remember the days from record and cassette to Cd.

Offline silencer13

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Re: A tribute to Foo Leong Record store (on irememberSG)
« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2015, 12:29 »
Yup, fond memories of Foo Leong. Always went there during my Poly days for the cheap CDs and cassettes.
I bought my very first CD from them - Belinda Carlisle's La Luna 3" single. Still a treasured item in my collection.

Offline EyesWideShut

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Re: A tribute to Foo Leong Record store (on irememberSG)
« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2015, 23:56 »
One of my fave music haunts in the 80s and early 90s. Picked up so many great music in the days.

This is the place I bought Tracy Chapman debut on cassette. On the same day I bought the tape is also the day I had my first breakup. I penned a final letter listening to Chapman's Baby, Can I Hold You on repeat.

Last year I was there very early and I had the privilege to help Aunty opened shop.

Nice little story you have there...we can all be sentimental without afraid of being awkwardly maudlin. Songs help to mark those important events and milestones in our lives.... Noted that it is manually intensive to put a cassette tape on repeat (as compared to the digital buttons we have now).....And yes..that is a great song (and if you happen to have the vinyl now, it's a rare collection!)

Appreciate everyone for the inputs and tks for supporting the thread...let's keep the music alive...Feel free to continue share more of your thoughts.

Offline Octave

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Re: A tribute to Foo Leong Record store (on irememberSG)
« Reply #12 on: December 02, 2015, 02:20 »
I stayed in Chinatown for 30 years My whole family bought LPs, cassettes and CD from her shop. My first CD also bought from her shop, my sister and the daughter of tai sun medical hall know her son so they always ask them to reserve or order for them those special Japanese collection cassettes.
The Aquarium shop at level 2 Wong Lok Kee and the stationary shop hai lok at level 1 left many good memory there during my childhood days.

Offline yongkg

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Re: A tribute to Foo Leong Record store (on irememberSG)
« Reply #13 on: December 02, 2015, 06:51 »
My fond memory of my musical journey in the 70s which started at her shop in Chinatown roadside stall where the shop was then manned by her hubby and their son, Alvin, was very young and sometimes was helping out at the shop.
I still had those 1st pressed cds bought there and now it is worth much more which I will never part and will be a part of my humble musical journey / life ... (hahaha)
Note : At times, I do patronize her shop but it is very heart-touching that she is now manning her shop alone and Alvin will be there when he is not working

Offline cable-guy

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Re: A tribute to Foo Leong Record store (on irememberSG)
« Reply #14 on: December 08, 2015, 11:20 »
Yes, my blessings to have got to know this family and fixing their speakers, passing them used disc players, throwing them ideas to improve the business...

A significant portion of my family's music collection came from them and I am sure many can relate to that too. I got hundreds of cassettes and hundreds of CDs from this shop over these past 30-something years. As much as I love to support them and as a retail source for my music hobby, I had to be brutally honest to share with them about the sunset CD market quite a number of years ago over several occasions.

I am thankful that a couple of us managed to journey with the family and also finally got Alvin into the workforce to branch into doing his own thing. Its still a rocky road ahead but the change is inevitable.

Meanwhile, please do pop by to see if there is anything you can buy...and just buy and bless another friend/relative in the process even if you are not looking for it yourself...although I wouldn't recommend stressing them by ordering stuff from them unless they absolutely want to take your order. This business is based on buy and sell...so if the stock is stuck, then its inventory they can't get rid of. Don't complain on their lack of variety please... :-X

I haven't seen Aunty in a long while although I will see Alvin every now and then.

I rarely say this as I don't always enjoy being spammed on email/social media...but pass the video link around please. Thanks for sharing this.