Looking at the stylish flat lays on the Instagram account of home-based Hakka food biz Haoke Hakka, you’d never imagine it as the product of an extremely humble family. The pro-looking shots are the work of 34-year-old Tok Weilun, former fashion director of glossies such as Men’s Folio and T Singapore, currently senior stylist for shoe brand Charles & Keith’s e-commerce platform. 

He is also the man toiling to support his parents and sister. His mum, who is almost 60, left her waitress job at a Japanese restaurant a few months ago as her employer faced cash flow issues during the Covid-19 slump. His 60-year-old dad is a karang guni (rag and bone man) whose earnings were greatly impacted during the Circuit Breaker; and his hearing-impaired younger sister works as a cleaner. “I am now the main breadwinner in the family, so I thought of doing this [selling thunder tea rice and abacus seeds via Instagram] to create a source of income for my mum,” says an upbeat Weilun. Cooking from their HDB flat in Jurong, the Tok family started selling abacus seeds in July, and introduced thunder tea rice in September.

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