Back in the 1940s, a boy, barely a teen, dumped his school bag into a stream and ran off to earn a living. Armed with boldness and two bare hands, he worked day and night at odd jobs to feed his parents and 9 siblings.
“Ngai Zhai Dim”, Cantonese meaning for ‘short shop’, a wooden run down makeshift corner shop in Sentul was where it all started. From Yau Char Kwai (fried crullers), the founder, aided by his wife, started selling sundry items which entailed the tedious work of repacking gunny sacks of rice, cumin seeds, star anise and other spices into smaller plastic bags to the back breaking work of riding his heavy cargo tricycle with punctured tyres to and fro Gombak to purchase durians, mangosteens and other fruits to be sold.
Starting with just a small variety of sundries, the business soon grew and his younger brother joined him.
Sentul was a poor community and the constant struggles of everyday life to find sustenance and shelter was prevalent on a daily basis. Despite his busy schedule, the founder made it a point to find time to aid those in need within the community as well as his friends by providing supplies or support to them.
Displaying characteristics commonly found in Chinese of his generation, he was a no-nonsense man of stern demeanor which would shed to reveal a kind and caring soul underneath his tough exterior
It is upon these foundations of friendship and camaraderie which Chai Sang was built and its legacy etched into the once impoverished community called Sentul.