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Steel Trunk

April 21, 2008

I had a meeting with my client in one of the flats within the Tiong Bahru Estate this afternoon.

It was supposed to be routine where I basically pop in and then pop out.

I was expecting to find an empty flat as the unit was recently sold and the owner had the obligation to move everything out of the premise for my client.

So I was surprised to be greeted by my client’s domestic helper at the door, struggling with a folded table.

When I walked in, my heart sank. The previous owner did not even bother to come and clear out the place before the legal completion.

To diffuse the situation, I jokingly told my client if there were any treasures he had found.

Right after I said that, something caught my eye. It was an old rusted casing hidden within a mountain of old clothing.


I immediately pulled the steel trunk out to have a good look. Next question to my client was….”DO YOU WANT THIS?”

Frankly, I never would have expected this to be lying around in this flat.

This flat has not been renovated for a very long time and as far as I know, it has always been rented out.

The last group were 6 Vietnamese students who chained smokes in the flat and probably did this low cost activity for leisure very often:

(I found this pasted onto one of the bedroom doors)


I will provide some more pictures just to let you see how messy the place was




In the evening, I showed the picture of the steel trunk to my mother in law and she said such steel trunks were often used to contain wedding dowries in the early days.

The clothing in the chest was all neatly folded and I’m very sure it belonged to the previous owner’s mum.

If he is reading this post, he may be kicking himself for not making the trip down to take a last look at the flat.

But then again, what may seem valuable and interesting to some people may look like trash to some others.

If I may digress, let me prove my point.

About nine years ago, my mum dumped this set of chairs in my uncle’s home.


Back then, I did not like it as well and I had no qualms about her throwing that away.

These pair of chairs sat in my uncle’s home for the past nine years.

Recently retired and with more time in his hands, he decided to do some spring cleaning.

This chair was one of things he had decided to rationalise.

By some stroke of good luck, he told my mum about his intention to discard that and I happened to talk to mum about my blog posting about the old stove. She immediately asked if I wanted a pair of armchairs.

Luckily my uncle thought the chairs were trash and he was elated to part with it.

Hurray for me.

But as for the steel chest, no such luck for me.

My client wants to keep it. In life, you win some and you lose some.

By the way, I will replace the “OBIANG” red seats to some nicer colours.

OK, back to the steel trunk…..

The interior of the chest is still in very good condition.

I tried to find out about the P.M. Sultan & Company from the Internet but yielded no results.




Anyone out there who might have any information on this?

The steel trunk looks like it was from the British administration era.

Besides the discovery of the steel trunk, I also spotted this baby sized “diamond brand” clock in the kitchen.


It looks very aged but is still faithfully ticking away. It was LUST at 1st sight.

So I asked my client if he was gonna keep that clock and I got the same response….”No, I’m gonna keep it”. Damn.

My wife thinks I am slowly evolving into a KARANG GUNI man.
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