An Incognito VVIP Visitor To Our Chinatown Shop
His Highness, the late Sultan Ismail of Johor was a friend of our late father, Tong Seng Mun, as they shared a common love for animals. Sultan Ismail was a frequent visitor to our original shop at No. 67, Pagoda Street where our father conducted his animal trading business at the rear of the shop. This was before he set up Singapore Miniature Zoo in Pasir Panjang. Whenever our father had interesting new stocks of birds and other animals arriving he would telephone the Sultan and invite him to view the new collection. His Highness often came incognito in his green Morris Minor with his ADC (Aide-de-Camp) and a driver. Our father often gifted the Sultan with selections from his new stocks of birds and other animals for the Sultan to keep either in Istana Bukit Serene Palace or in Johore Zoo.
When we were children, my siblings and I had opportunities to visit Sultan Ismail at his Istana Bukit Serene Palace in Johor Bahru. I remembered we were served Bandung drink which was made from Rose Syrup and Carnation milk. It was a rare treat and we relished every single drop.
When Jurong Bird Park and Mandai Zoo were first opened, our father was instrumental in getting Sultan Ismail to donate some birds and animals to the Bird Park and Zoo.