'Women seem to like me'

'Women seem to like me'
Mr Koh Soon Hong with his 14-year-old daughter.

SINGAPORE - Man marries, has children, gets divorced. Then he meets a prostitute in Geylang, marries her and has another child.

She goes away and he meets another prostitute, and has more children with her.

Next, he meets a masseuse in China. And he has child number six, with woman number four.

This is no soap opera. It's the true story of mechanic Koh Soon Hong and the choices he made, living and working in the lorongs of Singapore's infamous red-light district.

The 62-year-old claims his then nine-year-old daughter from his second wife introduced the masseuse to him.

Smiling bashfully, he says: "I'm just lucky with the opposite sex."

His children are now aged between 42 and two.

Mr Koh, clad in a grease-smeared polo shirt, runs his fingers - stained black from machine oil - through his thinning grey hair, and adds: "Women seem to like me."

A bicycle shop boss, who did not want to be named, confirms Mr Koh's background. They have known each other for more than 10 years.

He says in Mandarin: "His personal life is complicated. I know about his situation only because he talks about it openly."

Though Mr Koh has a family in Singapore and supports two other families abroad, he lives alone in a dingy Geylang shophouse off Guillemard Road.

He says wryly: "I never imagined my life would turn out like this. I support the children, but I don't even earn enough to pay income tax. That's why I have to keep working."

He started the bicycle business a decade ago and claims he "could easily make up to $1,000 a day". But times are hard "and I must innovate to stay afloat".

Inspired by what he saw in China, Mr Koh installed two electric charging points at his shop in 2012, "so money can come in even when I'm sleeping".

Owners of electric bikes pay $1 to charge their rides for 10 minutes. It's fully automated so Mr Koh does not need to be around 24/7.

He is also in a partnership with others, running three other charging points in nearby estates.

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