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48 Singaporean Seconds: He's the king of the king of fruits

Published on Jul 29, 2013 2:30 PM

Singapore celebrates its 48th birthday on Aug 9, and to tie in with this, The Straits Times Photo Desk has put together 48 Singaporean Seconds, an audio-visual tribute to Singaporeans who have made this little red dot their home.

We are releasing their stories and videos in the next few weeks. In the 16th instalment of our series, we talk to durian seller Yap Kean Seng.

Yap Kean Seng, 62, durian expert

Mr Yap Kean Seng has a special skill: He can distinguish between different varieties of durians merely by looking at their thorny husks.

Durian seller Yap Kean Seng (above), is known for giving away free durians during his birthday every year. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN

After all, the 62-year-old hawker has been peddling the fruit for the past 33 years.

"The durian is a very special fruit," he says. "Once you have tasted it, you will always have a craving for it."

These days, he sets up his makeshift stall only twice a year - in June and December - to coincide with the durian harvest seasons. Currently, his stall can be found in front of a hair salon in Jalan Tampang in Sembawang.

He is affectionately known as Durian Seng among his loyal clients. He says he will let customers taste as many durians as they like until they find one they are happy with. Only then will they be charged for the fruit.

The grandfather of two does not need to work anymore, but says he enjoys selling durians to keep himself active. Such is his passion for durians, he is known to give away durians for free on special occasions like his birthday. In fact, he once gave away $5,000 worth of the fruit.

"As long as everybody is happy, that's good enough. If customers are happy, my business gets better too," he quips, laughing.

- Photos and videos by The Straits Times Picture Desk