Every so often, the internet thrusts ordinary people into the public eye. But as quickly as they come, they tend to fade away from the limelight soon after. In this series, TODAY journalists talk to some of these viral sensations to find out who they really are behind the social media screen and how their lives were affected by their fleeting fame.
STARTED LIVESTREAMING POKEMON CARD HOBBY
I decided to catch Mr Jeremy before the lunchtime crowd and dropped by on a Monday at 9.30am, but even then our chat was constantly interrupted with customers stopping by to order.
Once his livestream started at 11am, he had no time to speak to me, let alone look at his livestream or talk to the audience, as he whipped up bowl after bowl.
Speaking to me once the crowd had thinned out, the former insurance agent said that he got into the business about five years ago with his best friend who wanted to start a hawker stall selling fishball noodles.
However, two years later, he started Shuang Kou Mian on his own with the intention of providing affordable meals for diners.
“I grew up from poverty, and I’ve always hated the idea of wanting to eat something but being unable to afford it,” he said, explaining the rationale for the low price. “You think ‘maybe next time (I’ll be able to afford to eat this)’ but you know that actually ‘next time’ won’t come.”
While he recently had to increase the cost of his noodles due to rising cost of rent and food supplies, the price for a bowl of noodles still starts at S$3.90. If customers wish to purchase a free meal for someone in need, each bowl goes for S$2.50.
Ask what spurred him to start a livestream of himself cooking, and his answer is Pokemon cards.
“I actually wanted to do a food TikTok account but I didn’t know how to start. So I decided on starting off with Pokemon cards first,” he said, adding that opening Pokemon cards was a trend when he started last December.
“It was during my childhood when Pokemon was popular so I went back to the hobby of collecting cards.”
He would livestream himself opening card packs and selling cards. This is also where his username geturhits888 comes from — a “hit” is when a collector gets a rare Pokemon card.
About 20 people would watch his and many would often asking him to stream later into the night.
“I told them that I will be too worn out to work in the day, and they didn’t believe (being an hakwer) is that tiring, so I decided to stream (myself working) and show them,” he said.
“I was very surprised that the first stream attracted so many people, so I decided to continue livestreaming.”
As the views went up, he started streaming less about Pokemon cards and more about his life as a hawker.