March 9, 2012
Chop Ching Chiong's Swivel Chair
Have you wondered where/when the swivel chair actually originate? The chair you sit on when you go to the hairdressers or the office chair that swivels when you rise to manager's post?
I love the barber's swivel chair as I used to watch my cousin with his scissors and razors work on his customers. ...and out of one single chair and one single pair of scissors he could feed a family in the 1960's in Sibu..
Swivel chairs have been around since 1800 when Thomas Jefferson invented one to allow the poorly treated office workers of the time a bit more comfort whilst multitasking.
Today there are many different varieties of swivel chairs.
The one that is still kept in mint condition is the one belonging to my Seventh Aunt in Sibu. Her mother in law (Towkay Neo Sia) sat on it for many years at the cashier's desk in Chop Ching Chiong (No.7 High Street Sibu). The chair was placed in an elevated compartment called an office with a small window...And she could see every customer who came in. She stacked up coins of different values on the table - all systematically arranged for her to give the change when the shop assistants came to her with the payments. Her accounts were never wrong.
Chop Ching Chiong was a textile shop which sold some of the best materials in town in those days. They also provided useful articles like scissors and other needlework stuff. The first bra I ever saw was in this shop when I was about 6 years old. They were simply called "women's undergarments" and were unmentionabled. Women would bashfully go to the back of the shop and ask my aunt's young sister in law to bring the bras to them discreetly. I believe they never tried them on at all as there was no fitting room in the shop.
I also remember the grand lady as a real Towkay Neo who had a chain with lots of keys which ja ngled as she walked around. Her position was undisputed and she had a lot of authority about her.This lady boss also wore only Sam Foo. I had never seen her wearing anything else.
But to me as a young starry eyed girl..to be able to sit on an important looking chair like that she must be ultra rich and important and to be feared!!. And only a very great lady with power could sit on a chair like that!!
Later I saw many managers' chairs. But none was as beautiful as this one. Several years ago I made a visit and photographed it....?When I looked at it I still could imagine Grandmother Sia sitting on it and turning around to look at us. And we would shiver in our shoes (slippers). But actually she did have a very sweet smile.
(This post is especially for all my friends/relatives who grew up in High Street of Sibu...)