Find the wheel for adjusting height.
Find the man in the mirror, the barber.
popped by this barber at the back of Eastern Cafe kopitiam at Bank Road for a chat. Repok Road splits the road along Rejang River into Wharf Road (the portion from Shell to the police station) and Bank Road (the portion facing Wharf terminal 1 and the bus terminal).
This barber moved out to Central Road and then moved back to this same shop again. When I was a kid, I used to cut my hair for 50 sen at this shop in the early 1970s. Now it's a few ringgit. This same barber would put a wooden stool on the chair for kids so that he could cut their hair at a comfy height. Kids often wailed because getting a hair cut was a traumatic experience with a stranger with scary gadgets. That's way before the dark movie Edward Scissorshand.
Tools of the Trade on an old desk.
This barber still used the same antiquated barber chairs that he imported from a Singapore distributor. "Just a little bit off the top, please." "Oops, too short!" It's not easy for barbers to quantify subjective instructions like "shorter" and "thinner" if you were not specific. Check out his tools: 2 pairs of scissors, a shaving cream brush, blade shaver and hydrogen peroxide (as disinfectant), 2 combs, 2 brushes and the favourite baby powder to brush off hair.
Nowadays you can go for a quick cut at such barbers in the shops or home based barbers in the residential areas. At the high end segment of the market is the Hong Kong trained stylist, Keny (a former band rocker) and his wife, Agnes Siaw, who will pamper you with her imported cosmestics and towkay neo (lady boss) chit chat.
Such old styled barber shops have dwindled in numbers. Hair today, gone tomorrow.
The original barber shop, Nem Sim barber shop was operated by two Foochow - Ling Kwong Yew and Ling Kek Sui. The shop clients included Father Rotinghuis, Father Ahern, and many government officials and dignitaries. Ling Kwong Yew operated the shop until 1975, when he migrated to Canada. Kek Sui and his son, Kok Pan continued the operation until the new owner took over.