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  • Writer's pictureStu Lloyd

What won't you do for money?

(Tangs store, started with $3000 capital)

When I was living in Singapore in the early-90s, it was noticeable that along the whole Orchard Road strip, only one store was closed. CK Tangs, the distinctive red-and-green tiled store at the corner of Scotts Road.

When Tang Choon Keng (CK), a migrant from China, opened his first provision store near River Valley Road in 1932, he had said "I want to honour God through this business. One of the most visible ways to do that is to close on Sundays."

And as Singapore grew into a shopping paradise, and his business grew alongside it, he steadfastly clung to that, allowing him time with his family on their day off, and enabling them to attend church on a Sunday morning.

This despite the fact that Sunday earnings on Orchard Road can be almost double that of any other day. He stuck to his principle, and his faithful shoppers simply worked around that.

But as he entered his own 90s, and his son Tang Wee Sung took over the business, they made a major announcement in 1994. They would start trading on a Sunday too. But only from 12:30pm so employees could sill get time for family and worship on a Sunday.

The business started with $3000 of capital and was recently valued at near $500,000,000.

Sometimes, it's what you don't -- or won't -- do for money that says most about you.

(Tangs flagship store, on prime land bought for $10,000)

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