Issue 8, Jan 2022 - Chia Siang Heng | The Life Celebrant

From the Ordinary to the Extraordinary  

In academia, business studies will inevitably delve into the origins of the word “entrepreneur”, as expounded by the French economist and businessman Jean-Baptiste Say (1767–1832). Instead of the literal translation: “one who undertakes”, the term was expanded to describe someone who “shifts economic resources out of an area of lower and into an area of higher productivity and greater yield”, thus encompassing the concept of value creation. 

In this issue of SME Showcase, we feature two small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) whose senior executives are entrepreneurs, as defined by the late economist. They have taken the ordinary, peppered it with innovative and impactful ideas, and made them extraordinary and appealing to the customers. By creating value, they are moving from “an area of lower and into an area of higher productivity and greater yield”, which in turn supports their business sustainability.

For Chia Siang Heng Pte Ltd (CSH), value creation was expressed through operational efficiency and a new brand to grow its overseas footprint. For The Life Celebrant (TLC), value creation took the form of new and unique services. The two companies, similar to many SMEs, do not have the extensive resources of conglomerates and yet, they have carved a niche in their own market segments. Do read on to find out how CSH has scaled up its business from a single market stall to a leading importer, wholesaler and distributor of dried produce and general provisions, and where it is heading next. For TLC, a boutique funeral services company that wants to reshape the perceptions of death and bereavement, the latest venture is opening a school for trade practitioners.

CSH is over 60 years old while TLC, over 10 years. Although they are at different phases of development, their biggest similarity lies in their entrepreneurial competency as they make the ordinary extraordinary, to fulfil emerging needs and attract new customers. We hope their stories of transformation and tenacity can inspire you as you travel your own business paths.


Quintessentially Singapore: Chia Siang Heng (CSH) 


Residents living near Hougang Avenue 1 or Yishun Ring Road may be frequent patrons of their respective neighbourhood Chia Siang Heng (CSH) grocery shops, without realising that they are also buying from CSH, albeit indirectly, when they shop at the supermarkets, dine out or pack food from their favourite eateries. There is a simple explanation for this – CSH is a leading local importer, wholesaler and distributor of dried produce and general provisions; it serves a broad customer base.  Read more


The Ties that Bind: The Life Celebrant (TLC)



A funeral is not a day in a lifetime, it is a lifetime in a day.TM This summarises the approach that The Life Celebrant (TLC) adopts when it comes to the final send-off. After all, no one says that a funeral must only be about endings, nor does a wake have to be enveloped by an air of despondency and regret – though these have long been the norm. Instead, with her characteristic “What if I can …” question, Angjolie Mei, 41, has gone where the local funeral services trade has not even contemplated, and introduced innovative concepts that distinguish the boutique funeral services company from the others.  Read more





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