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Graphic designer 'scared to tell mother-in-law' he’s now an oyster cake hawker but publicly announce to the world in newspaper


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“You can say I am going through a midlife crisis,” quips Edmund Lye, 42, when 8days.sg asks the first-time hawker why he decided to start Oyster Boy, his three-month-old stall selling deep-fried oyster cake at Golden Mile Food Centre.

Edmund quit his job as a graphic designer in an SME last April after more than 15 years in the advertising industry to spend more time with his two daughters, aged four and six. Though he initially never thought of going into F&B, he decided to switch careers after working freelance for half a year. “I was tired of working in advertising. It was very stressful ’cos of the long hours and deadlines. Also, advertising trends are changing quickly. Now everything is about video production, and I’m not able to keep up with the youngsters, so I decided to start my own F&B business. It’s the next thing I’m familiar with besides design work, ’cos I cook occasionally,” says the chatty boss.

“When you have kids and a family, there are a lot of responsibilities on your shoulders. My wife is still working (she does account servicing in an advertising firm), which is why I dare to take this risk. If I stay in my old job, I’d be in my comfort zone forever.”


“Scared to tell my mother-in-law about the business”

Edmund invested around $20K to open the stall, situated beside the popular Golden Mile Curry Rice, in March. He runs the biz with his mum, who used to work as a cook in a zi char stall. He chose to sell traditional Fuzhou oyster cakes, savoury fritters stuffed with minced meat, oysters and chives, simply because he likes to eat it. The snack, sometimes called UFO as it’s shaped like a flying saucer, is also not very commonly found in Singapore.

For someone from the advertising industry, Edmund is surprisingly low-key about his venture. There is no information about the business on its Facebook page, only an image that says “work in progress”. In fact, apart from Edmund’s immediate family, no one knows about his biz. But he did design his stall’s signage and logo, which are minimalist with a touch of Japanese chic.

“Even my mother-in-law doesn’t know. I don’t dare to tell her ’cos she’ll say, ‘Why are you doing this when you have a good office job? What if you don’t succeed? What’s going to happen to your wife and kids?’” he mused.

“Also, to me, you can’t ask your relatives and friends to buy [stuff] from you. You get the impression you are doing well, then a few months later when they stop buying, sales drop. I hope [my friends and family] only find out [about Oyster Boy] when the business is stable, and I’m making money.”




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