Why do I say this when Marina Bay Sands had to cough up $417,000 of winnings to the vegetarian food stall owner — Ms Choo Hong Eng — when initially it was prepared to give her only $50,000 and a car worth $258,962?
Simple sums clearly show that MBS is now $100,000 poorer by buckling in to her claims.
Yet look at it another way.
Ever since Ms Choo won that big jackpot at the slot machine she was playing — I’ve not been able to find out which one — on Oct18, MBS has seldom been out of the news, nay headlines!
While its dispute over the winnings might not win MBS brownie points with the public, I won’t be in the least bit surprised if the fact that one could win as much as $400,000+ at the MBS slot machines is what sticks in most people’s memory.
Not bad to achieve such stickiness in the headlines and the public’s recall — and all for just $100,000 more, which would be peanuts in MBS normal publicity budget! 😆
MBS really struck it lucky with Ms Choo who was so dogged in her pursuit of her rights — “It’s a matter of principle. I just want my money, not a cent more, not a cent less” —
and didn’t mind facing the full blast of publicity to lay her hands on the winning lolly.
Had the winner been completely pragmatic (like moi) and also didn’t have the stomach to eye-ball a multi-million$ corporation like MBS, the whole episode won’t even have made a filler in the media, let alone the reams of reports on air and in print, with even reporters from Hongkong waiting 3 hours at her food stall in Geylang East to hear her story — at least that’s what Ms Choo said.
Indeed, MBS would have got little publicity mileage even if the winner had been dogged about pursuing her rights but was ultra cautious about flaunting her sudden windfall– in the words of Goody2shoez , “the flip side of such publicity is that Ms Choo probably has to sleep with one eye open for a while, and even if her story reveals a no-nonsense feisty character about her, the very fact that she’s an ordinary person, doing an ordinary job, does put her and her family in an unnerving, and quite unnecessary, spotlight. If I were in her shoes, the first thing I’d buy for myself would be a bodyguard.”
Indeed, I think that’s what most normal winners would do, no matter how “hao lian” they are. But our Lucky Hawker Lady appears to have not a single cautious bone in her body.
Indeed, on Thursday Nov 10 lunch time, as it was the 15th day of the 10th month by the Lunar calendar I decided to swing by Ms Choo’s vegetarian stall at Blk 134 Geylang East Ave 1, to lunch vegetarian and then kaypoh a bit.
I googled for her address which was there for all to see. The location wasn’t difficult to find. Because at one end of her block is the more famous Loving Hut vegetarian cafe (used to be at POMO, where the gambling giant Singapore Pools is the anchor tenant, but it now has only one upmarket outlet — at Suntec City).
I confess I was more after food than the $400,000-lady. It was only after I settled for the Taiwan beehoon (left) at $3.50 for a cook-on-the-spot order from her rival stall, and after I had settled down to eat that i discovered I was sitting right next to the table where Lucky Lady was holding court aka being interviewed by Razor TV.
So I decided to take a pix of this lady who took on Sheldon Adelson and won. She nary blinked an eyelash when I aimed my fone cam at her and snapped.
Indeed, Ms Choo is no ordinary hawker.
- From her various interviews, it appears she’s no stranger to casinos. Somewhere, some time ago, it appears she’s won $280,000 at a casino. Also, she’s no stranger to MBS, apparently having acted as guide to friends from Macau, Hongkong, Thailand and Taiwan over the months. Indeed when she got $400K lucky, she was staying at the MBS hotel.
- She’s not your typical hawker scratching out a living. Eleven years ago, when she adopted two girls at one go, she already lived in a semi-D and employed foreign domestic workers.
Hopefully, the media hounds who have been hounding her will not give up their pursuit of her to continue peeling the onion.
Btw, the way she’s been able to handle the media and connect with the ground makes her a natural candidate for the next General Election.
And should she stand on the People’s Action Party ticket, she would put the likes of Lee Bee Wah in the shade. And should anyone, online or off, try to do a Tin Pei Ling on her, I’m sure she would have them for breakfast, without spitting out the bones.
She may sell vegetarian food but it doesn’t mean she’s not up to making mince of those who cross her path. Ask MBS. Unless it’s all an elaborate publicity stunt? 🙄