I had to continue family legacy
He quits 22-year engineering career to take over his parents' hawker stall after mum dies
He had been in a comfortable job for many years, working as a telecoms engineer.
But after Mr Sumadi Sapari's mother became too ill to work, he quit his job in February to take over the hawker stall which his parents had been running since the 1970s.
And how his life has changed since.
From starting work at 9am in his old job, he now has to wake up at 3am to start preparing the food.
The Selamat Datang Mee Soto And Mee Rebus stall is one of the oldest and most popular at Adam Road Food Centre.
It is known for its savoury mee soto soup, bergedil and thick tasty mee rebus gravy.
Mr Sumadi's father, Mr Sapari Temon, 72, was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2012.
Mr Sapari's wife, Madam Hendon Asmonie was also diagnosed with cancer the same year, but they continued running the stall.
But Mr Sumadi, the couple's elder son, took over in February, after his mother became too ill to work. She died last week.
Now, his work day often lasts 12 hours. The stall is open every day of the week, except Monday.
Mr Sumadi and his wife, who also helps him at the stall, hardly get to take their three children out on weekends any more, and vacations overseas are now a thing of the past.
But for Mr Sumadi, 46, it was the right thing to do.
"I felt sad to leave my career. But I would also have felt sad if I had let my parents down (by not taking over the stall).
"In the end, I decided that family was more important."
Mr Sumadi had been an engineer for 22 years and had been working at telecoms operator M1 for the last 16, earning about $3,500 a month.
His wife, Madam Kathy Rokiathi, had given up her job to look after their children.
Said the 42-year-old, who had previously worked as a blood donor recruitment manager at the Red Cross: "We gave up a lot of things. We had to minimise our spending and cut out a lot of our wants. We rarely shop and don't take holidays as much now.
"(But) I'm happy with the simple life we chose."
While Mr Sumadi helped out at his parents' stall when he was young, he admits that he had no interest in it as an adult.
"I didn't have the heart for this. I was afraid that if the food centre was demolished, I would lose my source of income," he said.
But when his parents fell ill, his first thought was: "Who would take over the business?"
After months of deliberating, Mr Sumadi knew he would have to take over.
He said: "I felt it was my responsibility and I was committed to doing this so that my family legacy could continue.
"Doing this business was way out of my field. You have to know why you're doing it and you can't do it for the money."
His biggest worry was that he would not have the skills to cook the way his parents did.
He said: "Whatever my father did, I will follow. (For example) if he buys a certain amount of ingredients from a certain store, I will follow, I won't go somewhere else because it's cheaper."
Mr Sumadi also says that his greatest motivation for carrying on the business is when people tell him that his cooking tastes like his parents'.
When he went to London for Singapore Day earlier this year, Mr Sumadi was surprised when Singaporeans there said they remembered his parents.
"The recognition brings me satisfaction. It was very touching when they took photos with me," he said.
And what about when he gets too old to continue the business? Does he expect his children to take over?
"I don't want to force my children into this," said Mr Sumadi. He has three children: Two daughters aged two and 20, and a nine-year-old son.
"I would expect them to try, but if they really don't want to, I won't force them," he said.
His nine-year-old, Harris Satari Sumadi, seems to have taken an interest in culinary works.
Said Mr Sumadi: "He's tried cooking simple things like eggs at home and he's good. He helps to wash the dishes and always watches us when we cook."
Food critic K.F. Seetoh is glad Mr Sumadi had decided to continue his family's legacy and encourages all in similar situations to tweak their mindset.
He said: "I'm worried because food culture is very unique to Singapore and should it die, we'll drift further away from our roots. Singapore will lose her identity.
"Every job requires blood, sweat and tears. Why not do something that's meaningful, like preserving our precious heritage?"
I felt sad to leave my career. But I would also have felt sad if I had let my parents down.
- Mr Sumadi Sapari
I'm worried because food culture is very unique to Singapore and should it die, we'll drift further away from our roots.
- Food critic K.F. Seetoh
DELICIOUS FOOD, FIERY OWNER
Famous for its delicious soup and delectable begedil (potato patties), the Selemat Datang Mee Soto and Mee Rebus stall was also known for the fiery temper of Madam Hendom Asmonie.
Many of her friends and family however, have said that she is simply misunderstood.
Madam Hendon's death not only brought about deep sadness to her family and friends, but also to fellow stallholders at Adam Road food centre.
Mr Muhammad Fauzee, the 29-year-old owner of neighbouring Adam Chicken Rice, said: "She's actually a very kind-hearted person.
"When my pregnant wife fell in the store two years ago, she rushed over and helped her up. She alerted everyone and called for help."
Mr Apit, 50, owner of Apit drink stall, visited Madam Hendon in the hospital three weeks before she died. He had known her since he was 10 years old.
He recalled her as being very generous to his family and admitted that her death felt like he's lost an older sister.
"I miss her very much," he said.
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