Jokowi-spotting in Toa Payoh

Jokowi-spotting in Toa Payoh

The first person to tell Mr Misran Ismail that he looked like Indonesian politician Joko Widodo was his barber.

Then it was his customers, fishmonger, and even his own son.

"I was surprised when they first told me about it," the 50-year-old recalled. "But when I saw his picture, I could see the resemblance."

Mr Widodo - commonly known as Jokowi - is currently Jakarta's governor and one of the favourites for the Indonesian presidential elections in July.

His Singaporean doppelganger, on the other hand, leads a humbler life. Mr Misran runs a hawker stall with his wife in Toa Payoh. His daily routine includes taking orders, serving customers, and grilling fish and stingray.

More people have come up to him recently to point out the resemblance between him and Jokowi, he said.

"I didn't even know who Jokowi was at first," Mr Misran added. "But one day when we were watching the news, my son said: 'Eh, why are you on TV?'"

Despite the attention he has been getting, however, Mr Misran prefers to remain low-key.

"Sometimes when I take the MRT, people look at me, but I pretend not to see. After all, who am I?"

This article was published on May 3 in The Straits Times.

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