Khim’s classical CD collection, which numbers in the hundreds, is her prized collection. There are CDs (even in collection boxes) outside of her bedroom as well as inside. She can tell how many times she has listened to them. Khim, 65, who has two children and two grandchildren, smiled that once she got them, she has listened to them at least once. Using the usual transparent plastic covers that go over a CD at a store, she ticks off on the top each time that she listens to them. However her system doesn’t always work out so well especially when the plastic gets torn, then her numbering system gets out of whack.
From conductors like Wilhelm Furtwängler and Václav Talich to pianist Artur Schnabel and cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, she explained there are CDs that one can’t find today. And all thanks to her working for seven years at Tower Records, and supervising the classical section for the last four years before the store was closed in 2006. “I had joy working there. It would be a pity to throw away as I have collected the best cellists, pianists and conductors from all over the word. Some are mono-recording!” She shared that one CD can cost over S$100.
So why classical? “I liked it when I was young but I didn’t know it was classical until I was exposed to it working at Tower Records. I can communicate with the music. I don’t have a favourite as there are lots of different categories of classical music such as symphony, concerto, chamber music, opera and sacred music, etc. I like every category and I have my favourites in each category.” Khim can rattle out details of the backgrounds of live performances, and shared that once while she was working at Tower Records, she managed to close a sale of S$2,000 worth of CDs. Not bad for a day’s work!