Shy businessman wins 'lucky' urn with record $488,888 bid at Hungry Ghost auction

Shy businessman wins 'lucky' urn with record $488,888 bid at Hungry Ghost auction
Mr Mok's father signing the receipt after his successful bid for the urn.

SINGAPORE - "HUAT ah" rang in the tune of $488,888 on Wednesday night. Up for bidding was the Huat Chye Lor or auspicious urn, at the yearly Hungry Ghost Festival auction.

The lucky man was 38-year-old businessman Alan Mok, who finally won after five unsuccessful bids since 2008.

He was so low-key about his bidding that no one knew who the winner was until the announcer walked to a table where a man in his 50s, who was dressed in a pink polo shirt and bermudas, was sitting.

The New Paper later received a tip that Mr Mok had won and that the man in the pink was his father.

This year's bid broke last year's record of $458,888, which was won by 56-year-old businessman Lim Chwee Kim.

Surrounded by the Chinese character "Fa" in flashing lights and a golden flag, the humble-looking urn is believed to bring good luck and fortune to its owner.

The air was thick with tension and the smell of incense smoke at Lorong Koo Chye Sheng Hong Temple Association, as bids rang loud in the air in Hokkien.

The starting bid was $8,888 and attracted more than 20 bids before the final amount was announced about 15 minutes later.

Mr Mok, who was not present at the auction, told TNP over the phone from Malaysia that he felt "very good and wonderful" that he finally won the urn.

He had asked his father, Mr Mok Zhuang Guo, 54, to bid on his behalf. Mr Mok Zhuang Guo also collected the urn on stage on his son's behalf.

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