9 to 5 is a weekly series in which Tatler speaks to influential individuals about their unique journeys and what keeps them going.
Unless you live in the West of Singapore, you likely don’t know very much about the gems the area holds. However, the it might be worth a visit this week, because tucked away in D'Arena in Joo Koon is a cosy, Australian farmgate-experiential grocer. It is sustainable, provides store-to-boot services and is run by an ex-banker who is determined, gritty and extremely passionate about putting the right items into the hands of Singaporeans.
Pang Gek Teng is the co-founder of Surrey Hills Grocer, an Australian-inspired grocer and experiential lifestyle and dining destination in Singapore. However, food was not always Pang’s greatest passion.
Pang actually began her career as a banker before realising that she wanted more out of her life, and that banking was simply just not her calling.
“I learnt that we all have something that we are made for, and you will know it when what you’re doing is not quite what you’re meant to do–it’s like an instinct,” she shared.
When Pang decided to quit banking, she decided to try her hand at becoming an entrepreneur and tried starting a number of small businesses.
Some of these businesses included a local watch brand, Daybook Watches, that was, at that point, stocked in Tangs Singapore.
Eventually, though, she decided that this was also not what she wanted to do and decided to take a break. Pang closed her business and booked a ticket to Melbourne with no idea when she planned to return.
“I felt I needed to see what’s beyond the walls. Australia was where I studied and I truly felt that it would give my parents comfort and security if I went back to a place I’ve been before,” Pang said before adding that she studied marketing and management at the University of Newcastle in New South Wales and that her parents’ wish for her to graduate from university was what pushed her to complete her degree.