Now, Ms Sawong and her friends still come to Golden Mile Complex to eat and shop for Thai ingredients every weekend.
“We don’t know in future where we will go to. Last time when we come here … we can buy everything. But next time, we must see what we want to eat and go where, where we need to go and buy.”
Thai Supermarket has received a few inquiries about the Buddha statue from parties who are interested in taking it in, said Mr Teo.
“But we have yet to decide, because we want to make sure that the person who’s going to take over, we want them to give this Buddha a proper space,” he said, adding that some people wanted to bring the statue home.
The supermarket management also asked the Aperia Mall management if it could set up an outdoor altar for the Buddha statue, but was turned down.
“At that time, I was the one who carried the Buddha, walked all the way to Waterloo Street shops, and asked for the Buddha to be refurbished,” Mr Teo recalled with a smile.
Like Ms Sawong, other long-time tenants and workers at Golden Mile Complex said they were sad to leave the community and friends there, but also voiced reservations about the state of the building.
Thai restauranteur Nongkhai Donsada, 62, who has run Nong Khai Beer House for 18 years, called the community there her family, and said that the buiding feels “same as Thailand”. She is moving her restaurant to Peninsular Plaza, as many of her customers are Burmese, she said.
This nostalgia was shared by a number of Thai workers and shop owners CNA spoke to.
“We feel very sad because we here for very, very long already. This is like home as well because here is the Thai community … cannot find something like this anymore. It’s like family because we work with the people we are familiar with,” said Mei, 28, who only gave one name.
The sundry shop owned by her family will move to Boon Lay Shopping Centre to cater to the Thai migrant workers living in dormitories, she said.