Thursday, June 4, 2009

Come to Orchard Road

It was a sad moment when my dentist sent what might be last denture case to SJ lab.

Some background info. SJ stands for Simon and Joseph. The two were formally dental technicians with the SAF. After the left the army, they decided to put their skills to good use and started a dental laboratory at Defu Lane, churning out highly economical dentures of acceptable quality. For the past 17 years at Hougang, My dentist had been sending my denture cases to SJ. They have never disappointed me. Every morning without fail, the SJ delivery man (never got his name) would ride down to the clinic on his little scooter to send or collect cases.

After the move to Orchard, my dentist still sent the denture cases to them. It was a bit inconvenient for SJ because he had to bring the cases down to Hougang for them to be collected and then bring the completed cases back from Hougang to Orchard. But with Hougang closed down, there is no more delivery and collection there.

One evening, My dentist paid a visit to SJ and spoke to Joseph about collecting cases from Orchard. There is still a demand for cheap temporary dentures at Orchard. Joseph said that he was sad to lose an old customer. But his biggest problem is that to enter the city to collect cases, whatever little profit he makes from the denture will be wiped out by parking and ERP charges.

How ridiculously obvious to some yet not to others. So what to do? He has to send the denture cases to new labs which do collect from Orchard. But many of these technicians are not familiar with my style like Simon and Joseph. What’s more, they charge a lot more. Maybe that’s to cover their ERP and parking costs. Apart from numerous phone calls from unfamiliar technicians who need clarification for my instructions, denture costs have also gone up tremendously. Can no longer afford to charge Hougang rates for my old regulars from Hougang.

We’ve been told by a wise leader to eat fish if chicken gets too expensive. Must be talking about ikan bilis as fish is always more expensive than chicken. What about dentures? If ERP charges are going to stop the cheap dental labs from coming down to Orchard, perhaps they could take the MRT? Let’s see how these wise leaders carry a few dozen stone casts and dentures down Orchard Road every day. Fish is cheap and stone casts have no weight. Which world are we living in?

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