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‘Such a shame’: Longtime customers of Thambi Magazine Store in Holland Village rue impending closure



A former regular customer, Darien Loh, buys magazines from the airport whenever he flies, but he admitted its bookstores “only carry a few generic magazines” these days. At Thambi, where the 44-year-old was buying a couple of football magazines on Friday, “you get a really extensive collection”, he enthused.

Up till his late teens, Loh lived in Holland Village and would pop by the store by himself, mostly for comics and football magazines. When he visited Thambi during the pandemic to buy something for his daughter, he remembers being “surprised and happy” that the shop was still in business.

“The physical touch of the magazines, the smell… You can’t compare (that) to reading Kindle or even online… You have to be someone who loves to read, whether it’s books or magazines, to know that feeling,” he said.

While Loh was “shocked” by the news of Thambi’s impending closure, he respected Sam for “sticking to his principles”. He was also resigned to the trend of similar stores making way for modernisation.

“At least we know that Thambi is closing down. A lot of shops I know have just disappeared and I didn’t even know about it. So, I thought I’d just pop by today,” he added.

For Sam, the silver lining was seeing customers come to buy magazines – “not to give (him) a donation” just because he was leaving.

“There are still readers around and they choose magazines. It makes me happy,” he said. “This is what I want. I want customers to read hard copy. It touched the inner core of me.”

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