The role a bookstore plays in a region is not limited to selling all sorts of publications and stationery, it also bears the importance of cultural exchange and knowledge circulation. In an era without the internet, the traditional bookstore satisfies scholars craving for knowledge, as well as nourishes the souls of the general public. Moreover, daily newspapers became spiritual nourishment for fellow hometowners who earlier on migrated southwards to Malaysia from China to seek a living. Teck Lee Book Co located in Jalan Kong Sang, Seremban, has been playing this role for over a century, accompanying many students and members of the general public along numerous bustling years and over apocalyptic eras, being a collective memory of Seremban and neighbourhoods in the region.
Established in 1918 by the founder Mr Ng Mow Teck (transliteration) and his wife at River Road (now Jalan Kong Sang) in Seremban, Teck Lee Book Co originated from a small roadside stall. In the early days of the business, they sold cigarettes, iced drinks, stationery, and distributed Chinese newspapers published in Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur, so that fellow hometowners who came to seek a living from China could grasp the situation and development back in their homeland. Eventually, the basic operations of the bookstore gained stability, expanding in 1934 and shifted to the current address, starting to operate as a store in the publishing industry, remaining standing till the present, never once moved.
Mr Ng Kok Fook is the third generation owner of Teck Lee Book Co, as well as a collector. Arranged in neat arrays are boxes full of publications, magazines, and his personal collection of books. Among them are some student publications published in the 50’s, magazines and 《Students’ Vocabulary》 directly imported from Hong Kong in the olden days, etc. Each publication is likened to history, recording the happenings in its time, a witness of different ages.
Text: Daniel Lim & Pua Hui Wen
有你 UNI Production
Producer : Mok Yii Chek
Coordinator : Daniel Lim
Cinematographer : Amelia Lim / Evon Pang
Video Editor : Amelia Lim
Production Assistant : Michael Lerk
Music : Heavenly from Felt Music
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