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For someone whose business has bled almost S$2mil, Jackson Teo is still smiling. The founder of Teo Heng KTV had to temporarily close all his 14 outlets for the Covid-19 circuit breaker in April this year, and suffers losses for every month that his karaoke chain is non-operational.

“When you’ve lost so much money and you’re waiting for your reopening applications to be approved, would you be able to smile?” the 62-year-old asks us rhetorically. But still, he sportingly musters some cheer for an 8days.sg photoshoot at Teo Heng’s Ci Yuan Community Club branch. “Don’t focus on the negative things. If you keep talking about negative things, you’ll get a headache!” he exclaims.

He tells us that if his business woes continue, he is prepared to downsize his family home, a landed property in the Bayshore neighbourhood, to save the company. He has one son, 28, who is working at Teo Heng “helping with the computers”. Jackson reveals, “I was just worried that my son wouldn’t agree to downsizing our house. But he said, ‘Papa, it’s your money.’ He’s a very sensible child.”

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