SINGAPORE - Being a football nut, he dreamed of going to a World Cup.
And as a restaurant manager, S Balasubramaniam always wanted to know more about Brazilian cuisine.
The 33-year-old will be able to catch matches in Brazil and also savour the food in Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia after winning the TNP Bonus Challenge, which is sponsored by one of Singapore's leading motor companies, Komoco.
Komoco Motors is the sole distributor of Hyundai vehicles in Singapore, while Hyundai is an official World Cup sponsor.
Speaking to The New Paper last night at Changi Airport, as he prepared to leave for Brazil, Bala said: "When I first got the call informing me I had won, I was working and I told the girl, 'I've got no time for pranks.'
"When she assured me that it was for real, the feeling was unbelievable.
"Of course I felt shiok lah. I've always wanted to go to a World Cup to experience the atmosphere in the stadium and, because of my job, I also want to sample authentic Brazilian food.
"I've never managed to do so because of budget constraints, so this is the perfect trip. I will miss my son Pranesh who just turned one on Sunday, but I will be getting souvenirs for him and my family and friends."
Bala will enjoy an all-expenses-paid, three-match experience worth $25,000 that includes three matches - two Round-of-16 games, one at the iconic Maracana Stadium in Rio and another at the Mane Garrincha Stadium in Brasilia, in addition to a quarter-final at the Maracana.
Komoco Motors head of corporate affairs and former TNP journalist Jeffrey Low will lead the group of 30, which includes Komoco staff, eight contest winners and five VIP guests, including Singapore football legend Quah Kim Song, to Brazil.
The 67-year-old, who will be headed for his ninth World Cup but his first in South America, said: "Being the managing director of Komoco, which is the distributor of Hyundai here, and chairman of S.League champions Tampines Rovers, our boss Teo Hock Seng is football crazy and he wants Singaporeans to catch the World Cup 'live'.
"The purpose of this trip is two-fold for Komoco - to reward outstanding performers in our company and also lucky winners who buy our cars."
This article was first published on June 25, 2014.
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