Jovial man brings 4D fortune to many

LOUD, jovial and prosperously podgy. All that Peter Loh is missing is the sagely long beard. 

Loh, 54, a getai organiser, was hailed as cai shen ye (god of fortune) for delivering a pair of winning lottery numbers for 1,000 people last year during a Hungry Ghost Festival concert, or getai. 

He's repeated the feat this year but for only 20 people. 

On Wednesday, during a 14-hour marathon getai show to “thank the ghosts” for last year's windfall, he offered the numbers 0911 and 3003 to an audience of about 8,000. 

They rushed to the nearest betting outlet. The numbers were soon sold out and some complained to Loh.  

Backstage, he plucked another number - 3914 - out of thin air. That evening, it won first prize in the 4D lottery. 

Explaining the method to the seeming numerical madness, he said: “It was a Wednesday in September, and the marathon lasted 14 hours.” 

But how does he do it? 

“Got to thank my 'good brothers' for inspiration,” he said in Mandarin, turning to three plaques that look like ancestral tablets but which honour “floating spirits.” 

Chinese traditionalists believe that during the seventh lunar month – Aug 16 to Sept 13 this year – hungry ghosts wander the earth and must be appeased with food and money offerings. 

Both “lucky number” occasions were at shows Loh organised with the Ang Mo Kio 577 Hungry Ghost Festival Committee, which has staged getai events at Block 577 for the past eight years. 

“We do this to ensure peace and harmony in our neighbourhood,” said Tay Wah Kwon, 53, vice-treasurer of the committee of 50 formed 24 years ago. 

The group's 380 members embrace some 80% of Block 577's 120 three- and four-room flats and even those who move away return each year to help. 

Behind this “lucky face” is a man whose name card incongruously boasts on one side: Whirltones Entertainment Enterprise – Where The Fun Is; and Peter Loh Casket - One-Stop Funeral Director, on the other. 

A sickly child born to noodle vendors, he was given away to an odd-job labourer and a laundress when he was two weeks old. 

“My parents prayed to the gods, who told them they had to give me away or I would die,” he recalled. 

“My adoptive parents gave them a S$20 (RM44) hongbao - my value.” 

At 20, he started Whirltones, forming the Dreamers band to play at parties and grassroots functions, and to organise getai events. 

He earned S$3,000 (RM6,710) that year. Last year, it was S$25,000 (RM55,919), while the caskets brought in S$100,000 (RM223,677). Lottery wins boost his income twice a year, he claims. – The Straits Times/Asia News Network  

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