Man with hole in T-shirt stands tall

SINGAPORE - The tables have been turned in the controversy surrounding former Miss Singapore Universe finalist Jesslyn Tan.

The 25-year-old - who had poked fun at a Teochew-porridge stall helper's T-shirt with a hole in it - has gone to ground while her victim is standing tall.

Hitting back at Ms Tan's comments yesterday, Mr Koh Hee Huat, who works at Ye Shanghai Teochew Muay stall in Bukit Merah View, said that what she did was "wuliao". Wuliao means meaningless, or lame, in Chinese.

Ms Tan had posted an image of the 55-year-old, asleep on the MRT and wearing a T-shirt with a hole in it, on Facebook on Wednesday. She then mocked it, remarking: "Holey moley."

Speaking to MyPaper at the stall yesterday, Mr Koh said: "There was no need for her to take a photograph of me while I was sleeping."

Mr Koh, who has worked at the porridge stall for the past 20 years, said he takes the MRT from Woodlands - where he lives - to work every day, an hour-long commute. He works from 5pm to 3.30am daily, taking orders and dishing out food.

"I work long hours so I can put my daughter through school," said the father of one, whose daughter is about to start school at a Singapore polytechnic.

When asked if he has changed his attire because of the incident, Mr Koh said he did not think that throwing out every shirt with a hole in it is practical.

Since the controversy erupted, he has received words of encouragement from many of his regular customers and is "grateful for their support".

"I am thankful to the customers, netizens and MPs for their kind words," he said.

Tanjong Pagar GRC MP Indranee Rajah commented on the issue in a Facebook post, encouraging Singaporeans to "go and give Mr Koh a word of encouragement or a thumbs up".

When contacted, Ms Tan declined to comment.

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