Sin­ga­pore’s dino purses get hot

The Myanmar Times - - The Pulse -

A DI­NOSAUR print purse de­signed by an autis­tic teenage boy has com­pletely sold out af­ter pho­to­graphs of the Sin­ga­porean prime min­is­ter’s wife wear­ing it at the White House went vi­ral.

Sales of the US$11 blue purse with a white di­nosaur mo­tif have soared since Ho Ching was pho­tographed car­ry­ing it dur­ing hus­band Prime Min­is­ter Lee Hsien Loong’s of­fi­cial visit to the United States ear­lier this week.

Ho bought the purse at a fundrais­ing event for the Autism Re­source Cen­tre (ARC) in Sin­ga­pore, for which she is an ad­viser.

The di­nosaurs were drawn by See Toh Sheng Jie, 19, who at­tends the Path­light school for students with autism run by the ARC.

Photos of Ho hold­ing the purse on the White House lawn went vi­ral, spurring mas­sive de­mand for the ac­ces­sory, with Path­light say­ing its stock of 200 sold out within a day and it was now on back­o­rder with a two-month wait.

The school said that it usu­ally took months to sell this many purses.

The purse was part of a se­ries cu­rated by the school, which puts their students’ art­work on dif­fer­ent prod­ucts, earn­ing the artists roy­al­ties from the de­signs sold.

Ho, also one of Asia’s most pow­er­ful busi­ness­women, gar­nered praise on so­cial me­dia for her un­usual choice of ac­ces­sory.

“So good of Mrs Lee to use it at such a high pro­file oc­ca­sion! Great job ADP artist Sheng Jie!” wrote Face­book user Su Yeo.

An­other user, Leong Geok Hoon, called it a “world class fash­ion of the heart” while oth­ers noted that while Ho could have cho­sen any other de­signer, she went with one from a cause she sup­ports.

“It gave such a great mileage for the artists on our Artist De­vel­op­ment Pro­gramme and The Art Fac­ulty mer­chan­dise,” Path­light prin­ci­pal Linda Kho told AFP.

See Toh’s fam­ily has also been over­whelmed with me­dia at­ten­tion but for the autis­tic teenager, the son of a taxi driver with a love for di­nosaurs and bee­tles, it makes lit­tle dif­fer­ence.

When AFP vis­ited the fam­ily’s sub­ur­ban gov­ern­ment-built hous­ing flat, he non­cha­lantly sat at a ta­ble in the liv­ing room draw­ing his favourite di­nosaurs and watch­ing tele­vi­sion.

He has filled count­less note­books and fold­ers with his draw­ings, his par­ents said.

“When the school first told us that Ms Ho Ching brought Sheng Jie’s pouch to the White House, we thought it was a joke,” See Toh’s fa­ther, Ja­son told AFP.

When shown a pic­ture of Ho with the bag bear­ing his de­sign, See Toh was de­lighted, his par­ents added.

“He is not very com­mu­nica­tive but when we once gave him a di­nosaur toy dur­ing a tantrum, he calmed down. That’s when we knew he liked di­nosaurs,” the el­der See Toh told AFP.

The youth has an en­cy­clopaedic knowl­edge of di­nosaurs and watches ev­ery di­nosaur movie he comes across.

He also makes in­tri­cate di­nosaur toys from poly­mer clay, fill­ing an en­tire dis­play cabi­net in the fam­ily’s flat.

“We’ll just let him do what he likes be­cause you can’t force him to draw when he doesn’t want,” Wendy See Toh said. –

Photo: Face­book/Knowl­edge bank

Ho Ching, the Sin­ga­porean prime min­is­ter’s wife, sports the dino purse dur­ing a visit to the White House. The bag, de­signed by an autis­tic boy, has since sold out world­wide.

Photo: Face­book/Spark Free­dom

See Toh Sheng Jie has been draw­ing di­nosaurs since his early child­hood. If the purse’s surge in pop­u­lar­ity is any hint, he bet­ter keep draw­ing.

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