Chicken and Life

Mr Sim Tze Wei and Mdm Ow Siew Yen are a mother and son duo selling fresh chicken in Tiong Bahru market. This stall is popular for stocking chickens that are bigger and fatter than the typical ones we find in other markets. This prominent stall has a modest beginning.

Mdm Ow Siew Yen and her husband started their stall at Tiong Bahru 40 years ago. Unfortunately, Mdm Ow’s husband passed away about a year into the business, leaving a fledging business and 2 young boys to her sole care. Undaunted, Mdm Ow rolled up her sleeves and took on the task without complaints. There was simply no choice. It was not easy for one person to manage the stall alone, not to mention she also had to take care of 2 young children on her own. But persevere she, did for 40 years and counting. Today, her sons are grown up and the stall is thriving, a testament to Mdm Ow’s spirit.

From young, Tze Wei, 46, knows the hardship his mother had to endure. Even before the age of 10, Tze Wei and his elder brother had already been helping their mother tend to her store. They are not afforded the luxury of a normal childhood but surprisingly they do not resent their fate. They are only grateful that they escaped their circumstance unscathed. Today Tze Wei is a full-time chicken seller together with his mother. His elder brother has a full-time job outside but he still manages to carve out time to come down to the stall to help every weekend.

Due to their circumstances, Tze Wei missed the chance for higher education. He left after secondary school to work full-time at his mother’s stall. Despite this, Tze Wei has no regrets. He has mastered a solid set of skills that will last him a lifetime. He is super quick with his chopper and he can probably deskin, debone and chop chickens blindfolded. More than 20 years have passed since he began working at the chicken stall. He will be here for at least 20 more. His set of skills has provided a lot for his family and will continue to do so till the day he decides to retire.

Mdm Ow is contend that both her sons have grown up well and have families of their own. In fact, Tze Wei’s son is slated to complete his Full-Time National Service this year. Tze Wei will be the last of their family to stay in this trade as none of Mdm Ow’s grandchildren are interested in taking over the business, a fact that Mdm Ow is only too happy about. Through hard and perseverance, Mdm Ow’s family has broken through the cycle of poverty and given their next generation a better chance at life. All these from a modest little fresh chicken stall at Tiong Bahru Market.

You can visit Mdm Ow’s stall at Tiong Bahru Market. Alternatively, we also stock their produce at Please do not hesitate to give us a visit!

- Pan