‘Black magic’ spat spices up rivalry between murtabak restaurants
The longstanding rivalry between famous murtabak restaurants Singapore Zam Zam and Victory in North Bridge Road has just become spicier.
The restaurants, once on good terms, now share a history of competitive touting, aggressive expansion and even a slashing. With that checkered past, it's hardly a surprise when allegations of supernatural activities are thrown into the mix.
On Sunday, Singapore Zam Zam uploaded two CCTV videos on its Facebook page showing men scattering what appears to be a powdery substance in the area outside the two restaurants.
In the posts, the restaurant used the phrase "black magic", hinting that its neighbour Victory was up to no good.
Before the video was removed by Singapore Zam Zam, it had more than 91,000 views.
Responding on its own Facebook page on Monday, Victory explained that employees were applying insect repellent powder in front of their restaurant and "no one else's".
As of press time, that post had been shared more than 300 times and had attracted more than 40 comments.
When The New Paper contacted the restaurant, a staff member, 65-year-old Rashid Rahman who has been working there for 40 years, elaborated.
Said Mr Rashid: "What can we do if they want to say such things? We did not put it at their shop, and there was certainly no black magic involved."
When approached by TNP, Singapore Zam Zam's manager Zakir Khan, 46, explained that the reason his establishment made the post was to stop Victory from scattering such powder as it disrupted operations.
"They say its at just their shop but every day for the past week there is powder near our shop. It's not nice to see and not hygienic," said Mr Zakir, who has been a manager for about six years.
When asked if he believed the powder was "black magic", Mr Zakir said that he did not think it was but he used the term in the post to send a clear message to Victory that the practice must stop.
He did not speak to Victory's staff because he said the managements of the two restaurants are not on talking terms.
Mr Zakir added: "I don't believe all this black magic, but the powder can get into my food, so I said that for them to stop."
Singapore Zam Zam opened in 1908 and Victory opened two years after that in 1910.
The two restaurants, which have similar Indian Muslim menus, used to be on better terms, even celebrating festivals together - but a rivalry developed as the years passed.
Before the latest bust-up, the last development in their conflict was a slashing case in which a court heard that Singapore Zam Zam owner Mr Zackeer Abbass Khan had allegedly hired a secret society gangster to slash Victory Restaurant supervisor Liakath Ali Mohamed Ibrahim.
The incident left Mr Liakath with a 7cm scar cut over his right upper lip, which extended to his right cheek.
The man who slashed him, 23-year-old Joshua Navindran Surainthiran, was sentenced to 6½ years' jail and six strokes of the cane for the slashing as well as other crimes last year.