When I was back in Penang this week I got a chance to pay a visit to an old friend from primary school. His name is Wilson.
Wilson was a friend I grew up with from Standard 1 all the way until I changed school after Form 1. He stayed on till Form 3 then went to California to do his high school and later on college. He just came back to Penang from California about 9 months ago to help his family's fruit business.
The business is called Chai Hup Seng Sdn Bhd. Back in the years when I was in school, Chai Hup Seng was the main distributor of fruits to all the major supermarkets in Penang at the time ie Gama, Komtar, Penang Plaza etc etc. I guess that kinda explained why back in school Wilson always had better toys and a better pencil box than I did.
I had one of those old magnet open and closing ones. His magnet open/closing ones was the one that had 5 buttons on it which either open up hidden compartments or pencil sharpeners.
Now that Wilson has come back to do his family business things are a little different though. Hypermarkets like Tesco have come into play in Penang and these hypermarkets have the economies of scale to supply themselves without having to go through people like Wilson. Now his customers are decreasingly less supermarkets and more coffee shops or other retailers.
I spent 1-2 hours in his shop talking to him though and business still seemed to be pretty good. I saw so many boxes of fruits get shipped out of the shop just in those couple of hours. The atmosphere in the shop is really something. I mean my friend Wilson can be talking nicely with me for a minute then suddenly he'll receive a phone call from a retailer or a supplier and start shouting in Hokkien.
At one point I heard him shout over the phone in Hokkien
"OI!! U SAY 5 O CLOCK COME NOW STILL NOT YET COME... U WANT TO GET BEATEN UP AH!?!"
Later we talked about a common friend we had from school and I passed him that friend's contact. Wilson called him up on the spot and shouted
"OI AH CHEAN AH!!! LU KIAM WA LUI AR?!?! (You owe me money ar?)
Now if someone called me up and said that to me I would most probably have said
"Yeah right... bullshit lar"
But Ah Chean replied
"Si meh? (Really meh?) "
Wilson was just joking though. If Ah Chean ever owed Wilson money anyway it would've been back in Standard 6 or something... and an amount like RM3.50 or something.
In between the interruptions and shouting here and there, Wilson and I did a little bit of catching up. He asked me what I was doing for a living in KL and I told him that I was working for this company that did blog advertising. He then shared with me the pressure he was now facing to grow this company that his grandfather had founded and how he was working on some ideas.
Then he introduced me to his wife.
Yes his WIFE.
When I shook her hand to introduce myself I shot a confused look at Wilson
"You're married??? When?? But you're only my age!"
"Ah I wanted to get married when there is still youth in me...."
Wilson's wife is this Taiwanese girl whom he met in California.
She has a Masters and all but she's now helping him with the family business that I'm sure he'll one day be taking over. Wilson later told me that she was about to get married to someone else when they met but he managed to successfully convince her that he was the better guy so she married him instead.
*thinks about what he just said...
Speaking of which.... nobody had better come near Princess!!! *protective
Anyway, I ended the left his shop that day with an up to date picture on what a childhood friend of mine was doing and also a big box of apples for juicing.
Yes... I drink green apple juice every day.
It's good for health... :)