If you grew up with a sibling (or siblings), you’re probably familiar with the occasional squabble and childish disagreement between you and your brothers or sisters.
And even though we might find ourselves bickering with our siblings from time to time, I’m sure most of us will say that the rivalries usually don’t last overnight.
Not for this pair of brothers though.
For those who live in the area, you might be familiar with the Tanglin Crispy Curry Puff stall at Hong Lim Market and Food Centre.
Lately, however, you may have felt like you’ve been seeing double.
But your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you; there are actually two crispy curry puff stalls in the same hawker centre, and they’re just one stall apart from each other.
And the two stalls are run separately by two brothers.
Here’s what happened.
History of the Stall
According to Shin Min Daily News, Tanglin Crispy Curry Puff was first set up in 1952 by Ng Yong Cheong, the father of the current stall owners.
The business began at the outdoor hawker centre near Somerset, where the curry puffs would be sold in a mobile cart.
Thereafter, Ng, now 86, opened up stalls at Block 20 Kitchener Road and Hong Lim Market and Food Centre after that.
While he initially left the stall at Kitchener Road to his younger son to manage and the stall at Hong Lim to his older son to run, the brothers ended up managing the stall at Hong Lim Market and Food Centre together after that.
However, after the older Mr Ng and his wife retired in March this year, the brothers got into conflict and decided to open separate stalls in the same hawker centre.
The Splitting of Stalls
The elder brother, 56-year-old Peter Ng, currently operates out of the original store with a new signboard that reads “Tanglin Crispy Curry Puff Original”.
On the other hand, his 50-year-old brother Ray Ng operates just one stall apart from him with the original “Tanglin Crispy Curry Puff” signboard.
According to Shin Min, Peter said that the brothers currently do not have any contact with each other.
Younger Brother Once Left the Business
Peter also mentioned that Ray once left the business to pursue another career, which is why their father asked Peter to take over the stall.
The older Mr Ng also transferred ownership of the stall to Peter which left Ray displeased when he returned to the business.
Additionally, both brothers would get into disagreements often due to the different ways in which they wanted to run the business, leading to their father proposing for the brothers to split their businesses.
Younger Brother’s Differing Perspectives
On the other hand, Ray had a different perspective of the incident and said that it was Peter’s idea for the duo to split their business.
Additionally, Ray brought up how their father initially asked Peter to return the stall but Peter refused, which led to the older Mr Ng having to set up a new stall at the same hawker centre.
The older Mr Ng continued to run that stall until his health problems led to Ray taking over the business.
Ray also claimed that he has been following in his father’s footsteps for the longest and first entered the industry at around the age of 25.
He recounted how he took a break around six years ago due to health issues and became a paramedic for a private hospital for a period of time after resting for around three to four years.
In total, he only left his father’s business for approximately five years.
Older Brother’s Girlfriend-Turned-Fiancée Changed Family Dynamics Significantly
After Peter got divorced, the older Mr Ng asked Ray to return to the business.
Ray also admitted that the family business was going well at first, and that the brothers actually managed to man the stall together for around four years before problems started to appear.
However, Peter got to know a woman around two to three years ago. According to Ray, Peter “completely changed” after getting to know her.
The woman, a Chinese national, is currently Peter’s fiancée.
Peter also touched on how he was unhappy with the way his family treated his fiancée and revealed that she is already a Singapore citizen.
Additionally, Peter also admitted that he got to know her when his first marriage ran into trouble, and his marriage ended afterwards.
Apart from that, Peter had initially wanted his fiancée to help out at the stall, but his father would not allow her to do so.
In comparison, his father allowed Ray’s girlfriend, whom Ray got to know after his divorce, to help out at the stall.
Peter said that this was unfair of his father, and questioned why he was not allowed to bring his fiancée to help when his brother’s girlfriend was allowed to help out.
Older Brother First Joined Business After Being Sacked, Joined and Left Business at Various Junctures
Peter, who used to work as a salesman, was fired in 1997 due to the financial crisis. He then helped his father with the curry puff business after his father requested for him to do so.
In 2000, after his father asked him to find some opportunities to set up his own business, he managed to find a stall at Hong Lim Market and Food Centre.
However, the stall at Kitchener Road manned by Ray soon found itself in trouble. Peter also mentioned that Ray started short-term businesses in other areas such as Macpherson and Hougang.
After that, their father asked Ray to return to Hong Lim Market and Food Centre to help out. This meant that Peter had to find somewhere else to work.
Peter opened up a stall at Maxwell Food Centre and only returned to Hong Lim Market and Food Centre in 2016.
Younger Brother Initially Agreed to Set Up Stall Elsewhere; Current Business Twice as Successful as Older Brother’s
Peter also complained that his younger brother’s business is currently doing twice as well as his, and pointed out that it has been due to the signboard at his stall.
Based on Peter’s recount, their father had initially agreed for Ray to rejoin the business and gave him half a year to find another location to set up a stall.
Ray agreed to not set up his stall at Hong Lim Market and Food Centre but requested to use the original signboard, which Peter agreed to.
However, Ray registered the new business under the original “Tanglin Crispy Curry Puff” name.
This resulted in Peter having to rename his business “Tanglin Crispy Curry Puff Original” in order to facilitate the distribution of salaries and Central Provident Fund (CPF) contributions.
Peter mentioned that customers thought that he was the one who set up another business, leading to Ray’s business outperforming his business by double.
Peter also noted that the original business was once listed as a top-five stall in a Michelin guide and that he was unhappy with how Ray took that title for his own business afterwards.
In response, Ray explained that the honourary title was earned by their father when he was running the stall.
Parents No Longer Visit the Stalls
And if you think the feud couldn’t get even more intense… It can, and it did.
Currently, the older Mr Ng and his wife do not appear near the stalls at the hawker centre anymore.
The reason? Peter found out that his parents were still “helping” his younger brother to attract customers.
Peter claimed that their parents had initially said that they would not help either brother after they split businesses, but Peter soon realised that his parents would appear in front of Ray’s stall and try to attract customers to buy the curry puffs.
He also pointed out that his poor business would make it difficult for him to give his parents $1,200 for their expenses every month.
Peter and Ray’s sister then stepped in to help mediate the situation and their parents have not appeared at the stalls since then.
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Featured Image: Shin Min Daily News
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