The highly anticipated bidding for the Huat Chye Lor, or prosperity urn, failed to materialise as last year's winner did not even put in a bid.
The auction of the prosperity urn has been the main highlight of the Hungry Ghost celebrations at Lorong Koo Chye Sheng Hong Temple Association at Arumugam Road near Ubi Road every year.
But it was a relatively quick affair on Sunday night, when it took barely 20 minutes to find a new owner for the urn.
In the past, this segment of the auction had gone on for nearly an hour, as each bidder tried to outdo his rival.
The humble-looking urn is believed to bring good luck and fortune to its owner.
Last year, the winning bid closed at a record $488,888 and went to businessman Alan Mok, who is in oil trading.
He beat out bids from another businessman, Mr Lim Chwee Kim, 56, who had won it the previous nine years.
Mr Lim owns several companies dealing in logistics. He is also the trustee and current term vice-chairman of the temple association.
The competition for this year's prosperity urn was expected to be even hotter than last year's and the record $488,000 was widely expected to be surpassed.
But the final bid was $122,288, the lowest in seven years.
The bidding on Sunday night started at $10,000.
Within seconds, a new record looked on the cards as the bid went up first to $88,888, then $100,000.
The speed prompted Manpower Minister Tan Chuan Jin, who was the guest-of-honour at the event, to post on his Twitter account: "Prosperity urn. Opening bid. Before I finish tweeting. 100,000 now!"
Mr Tan is a Member of Parliament for Marine Parade.
But the bidding frenzy stopped on the fourth bid of $122,888, called out by 41-year-old Mr Lin Jinqiang, an operations manager.
He was the appointed representative for Mr Lim, who was on a business trip in China.
Mr Mok, 39, was also not present last night. He sent a representative instead.
This article was published on Aug 12 in The New Paper.
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