Eatery boss who hired man with tumours is a getai singer

The kind-hearted restaurant owner who employed a dishwasher covered with tumours, an overweight chef and an elderly woman has revealed her identity. She is Sharon Kwan, a well-known Cantopop singer in the local getai circle.

Ms Kwan, 54, had hired them because she believed in helping the less fortunate in society, even if it meant her restaurant business could be affected.

"I'm sure coming forward to reveal who I am would help encourage employment of the less fortunate in our society," Ms Kwan told My Paper yesterday.

"I want to lend my name to the cause of helping these people who are widely discriminated against," added Ms Kwan, who owns Whampoa Keng Fish Head Steamboat at Rangoon Road.

Ms Kwan now sings only for charity.

Her employment of Jimmy Wee, 53, whose body and face are covered with many tumours due to a genetic condition called neurofibromatosis, was first reported by The New Paper last week.

The report was later carried by Chinese evening daily Lianhe Wanbao and My Paper.

Subsequent reports revealed that Ms Kwan also employed a chef weighing 156kg, Loke Wei Qiang, 27, and an elderly kitchen helper, Chua Her Mui, 81, who moves about with a walking aid.

The three had difficulties finding a job, either because they were deemed physically unfit or offensive to customers.

But Ms Kwan hired the three without qualms.

She told Wanbao, after agreeing to have her name published, that such "special" employees also have strengths just like any one else. It is a matter of uncovering them and acknowledging these strengths.

Ms Kwan said she was reluctant to publicise her identity at first, because people around her, including her business partner, had warned her that her business could be affected.

She was also worried that she might be seen as using her employees to promote her restaurant.

"But I realised I must reveal myself and I managed to convince my partner that this would be a positive move," she told My Paper.

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