Toto Hong Bao Draw: What would you do if you won $12 million?

What would you do with a sudden windfall? That is the question that one or more lucky people might have the pleasure of answering after the $12-million Toto Hong Bao Draw tonight.

This year's draw has a jackpot close to the highest in the draw's history.

Since the annual draw started in 2000, its highest recorded jackpot has been $12.8 million, in 2002. Winnings are tax- exempt.

So far, each year's draw jackpot has been shared among multiple winners. The closest a person has gotten to a Hong Bao bonanza was in 2007, when two winners shared the $10.5 million prize.

Life! asks 12 people what they would do with $12 million.


I’ll deck myself in gold


Sebastian Tan, 41, actor- director-comedian

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"I will buy everything in gold - a gold iPhone case, a gold keychain, a gold Rolex watch encrusted with diamonds.

I'm Broadway Beng, and all Ah Bengs love gold things.

I already have a gold suit, gold shoes and one gold ring.

But if I'm rich, I will buy nine more gold rings - because I have 10 fingers, right?

I'll also wear gold grilles in my mouth so I will have gold teeth like those American rappers.

The only downside is I can't leave Singapore anymore, since I might not pass airport security checks.

Since it's the Year of the Goat, which is pronounced 'yang' in Mandarin, I'll also get all things 'yang' ('Caucasian' in Mandarin), like European-brand cars and houses filled with Italian furniture.

I'll also not forget to 'invest' my money in the 'Ah Beng banks' at Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa.

Or I'll 're-invest' through Singapore Pools. In fact, I think they get so much business that they should re-name themselves Singapore Ocean.

If there is anything left, I will give it to my family, friends and to charity.

Of course, this is a big 'if'."


I will spend on my dogs


Ms Ng Choon Kim, 46, senior human resource executive

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"I'll spend the money on my two dogs: Doe Doe, a six-year-old chihuahua- Jack Russell terrier mix, and Mei Mei, a 15-year-old shih tzu.

I'll buy them new clothes and a new bed and send them for pet grooming.

Maybe I'll even let them stay at The Wagington Luxury Pet Hotels & Resorts in Loewen Road, which has air- conditioned suites, a 1,600 sq ft garden and a bone-shaped outdoor swimming pool, which I'm sure they'll love. A night's stay can cost up to $350 for both dogs, but my babies really deserve the best.

I'll also settle all my bills, and I might set up my own pet grooming shop, pet hotel or animal shelter. I won't buy new pets because I'm already committed to my dogs. I also won't buy new property or a car because I don't need to live in luxury.

I'll go travelling only if I can take my dogs with me. I'm not married and my dogs are my priority."


I will buy a rainforest


Mr Louis Ng, 36, chief executive of the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres)

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"I will use the bulk of the money to buy a piece of primary rainforest in the Asean region and turn it into a national park. There, animals can live freely and be protected. People can come to relax, see and appreciate nature. It'll be where we can rehabilitate rescued animals and release them back into the wild.

We will work with and empower communities to be part of the animal protection efforts. Ultimately, it will be a sustainable project to benefit both people and animals. This has been my childhood dream.

I will also set aside some funds to invest. I'll use the returns to set up a foundation to provide grants to new charities.

I will also use part of the money to clear my HDB mortgage - I live in a flat in Jurong co-owned with my wife, the group director for advocacy at Acres, and save a part of it for our one-year-old daughter's education and future."


I will change jobs and become an investor


Mr Lim Kwang Heng, 45, taxi driver

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"I'll pay off the housing loan on my four-room HDB flat in Woodlands. I have another 15 years to go, but I'd rather pay it off quickly, so I can use my CPF money to invest in other things.

I'll also give some money to my two daughters, aged seven and six, although I won't hand it over in cash because they are still so young.

Instead, I'll probably start an endowment fund for their education.

I'll stop being a taxi driver and be an investor instead. I'll have to learn about investing, though.

Finally, I'll go on tour with my daughters and my wife, who is a housewife. We might go to Europe, because I've heard the Swiss Alps are full of snowy mountains and beautiful lakes, and I've always wanted to go.

Who knows? I might even pick up skiing."


I’ll open a minimart for my family


Ms Fitrotun, 33, Indonesian maid

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"I'll open a mini-mart in Cilacap town in Central Java, Indonesia. This way, my parents and two sisters back home will be able to run it.

I am single, so I can travel wherever I want. I'll also use some of the money to travel to Japan and Korea.

I sometimes watch Korean dramas such as Autumn In My Heart and East Of Eden, and I think South Korea is a very beautiful place. It also helps that Korean actors such as Song Seung Heon are very handsome.

I want to save for the future, so I won't travel out of Asia. I will also keep working, at least until my current contract expires next year, because I like the family I'm working for. They live in a five-room HDB flat in Ang Mo Kio. I've been working here since 2010, and this is my third contract already."


Money cannot buy grandchildren


Mr Lim Ah Teo, 70, roadsweeper and cleaner

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"I'll donate at least 30 per cent to the Singapore Chung Hwa Medical Institution, a Traditional Chinese Medicine clinic which provides subsidised medical consultations. I'll also donate to a few orphanages.

I'll give some money to my 33-year-old son, who sells medical instruments to hospitals. I might buy him a car, although I think I'll end up worrying about him getting into an accident, since he plays a lot of computer games and doesn't sleep enough. He is my only child.

As for myself, I don't need much. I don't need a car because Singapore's public transport system is very good. I also don't need to travel as I'm old and have already visited Hong Kong, Thailand, Taiwan and China. My wife, 65, a seamstress, and I are very simple people. We live in a four-room HDB flat in Teban Gardens and are very contented.

I guess - deep down - I'd like a grandchild. Although my son is married, I don't have any grandchildren. But that's something money can't buy."


I’ll develop the getai circuit


Liu Lingling, 52, veteran getai performer

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"I'll give 99 per cent of the money to charity - to children, the needy and the elderly.

I won't want to spend on myself. I think branded goods are a burden.

I've seen people buy them, and they just end up afraid that their goods will get spoilt or stolen.

I don't mind having one or two items, but I know I won't be at peace owning a lot of branded goods.

I also don't find luxury travel to be very appealing, because it is unnecessary.

I can travel simply and am just as happy.

Maybe I'll leave about $100,000 to my son - he is about 11/2 years old - in case he wants to start a business when he is older.

But I won't give him any more because I want him to earn money himself.

Finally, I'll want to help develop the getai circuit, make it bigger and brighter, and keep performing.

Getai is in my roots and part of my identity.

The feeling I get during a performance is something that money cannot buy.

So I will never stop performing no matter what."


I’ll make a passion project film


Mark Lee, 46, entertainer

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"I'll use 10 per cent to make a movie that's a passion project. It'll be a romantic comedy featuring a Singaporean man and a foreign woman.

Singaporeans and foreigners view one another in very interesting ways, and I really want to explore this idea.

Even if I'm loaded, I won't quit performing and making films. I love doing them. I believe that if you stop working, your mind won't be active and you'll die very fast.

I'll clear my property and car loans, and set up endowment funds for my two daughters, seven and two, and son, four with my wife, a housewife.

My family travel together every year. If we have the money, we'll go to Europe, Japan and the United States.

If we don't, we'll go to Malaysia, Thailand or Vietnam. The destination really doesn't matter. What's important is that we are together.

Finally, I'll donate 10 per cent to the Care Corner Family Service Centre (Woodlands). I lived in the same block as the family service centre more than 15 years ago and saw the good work they did.

The charity provides child and student care services, and some of its beneficiaries come from broken families or those facing financial difficulty. It's a worthwhile cause which definitely deserves support."


I’ll book an ocean liner


Ms Anne Yeo, 53, team development facilitator

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"I might go with my husband, who works in a food manufacturing business, my sons, family and friends on a super long cruise.

Maybe book an ocean liner for six months to a year.

We'd make good memories, and spend quality time with one another.

We can go around the world, but it doesn't really matter where we go, as long as we are together.

I will continue working after the cruise, though, because I want to stay active.

I once went into retirement for two or three years, and fell into depression because I was bored out of my mind.

I also don't believe in spoiling my two sons - aged 19 and 16 - so I won't buy a car or house for them.

I have already done my best to give them the best education.

But, if I had $12 million, I will give them another holiday.

I now spend two or three days a week as a volunteer.

I run mentoring programmes for at-risk youth at the Asian Women's Welfare Association, as well as train volunteers and run staff workshops with the Make-A-Wish Foundation Singapore, which grants wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses.

If I win, I will also use the money to fund my charity projects."


I’ll buy a roof over my head


Ms Thinsuk Karuna, 34, Thailandborn food hawker

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"I'd buy property here. I can't buy an HDB flat because I'm not a permanent resident.

I can buy only a condominium or landed property.

I don't mind either, and it also doesn't matter which location the property is at.

All that matters is that my husband, 36, who is Thai and also works at my stall, and I have a place to live in.

We currently rent a room in a three-room HDB flat in Toa Payoh, paying more than $900 a month.

It's very expensive, so my dream is to own a place in Singapore.

I will also put aside some money for my two daughters, 15 and six, who live in Thailand.

I hope they can grow up to be useful members of society, and maybe even join us in Singapore.

I've lived and worked here for 10 years and love it because it is clean and safe. I'm also three months pregnant, so I'll set aside some money for my third child.

I won't go travelling because I feel it's a waste of money.

I'll rather donate the rest of the money to Buddhist temples and orphanages here and in Thailand.

There are others who need it more than I do."


I’ll create a family bonding fund


Miss Jo-ann Quah, 22, final-year mass communications student at Nanyang Technological University

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"I'll give some of the money to my parents, who have been paying for my university fees.

Mainly, I want to use the money to encourage family bonding in Singapore, an issue I'm exploring in my final year project.

"I'm very lucky to be born in a tightly knit family. My father's a university professor, my mother's a teacher and my elder brother works in marketing. There are no secrets between us. All my life, I've turned to my family whenever I needed help.

Sadly, I know many other families that are not as close-knit, so I'll use the money to create a fund to encourage bonding within families. The fund can provide discounts for family activities for everyone to spend time together - be it having truffle fries in town, diving with sharks at Underwater World in Sentosa, or watching a classic movie at The Projector cinema at Golden Mile Tower.

It might even provide subsidised travel packages for families. I've travelled with my family on numerous occasions, and always loved learning more about them, seeing sides of them that I don't normally see at home."


I’ll set up an artists’ studio


Mr Kenneth Lee, 27, former architect and full-time artist

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"I used to tell my mum I would buy her a big house when I grow up, and I've yet to honour my word. So I'll put some of the money towards making my mum happy. The house doesn't need to be expensive but it must be filled with love.

I might also open a large public studio space - much like the Singapore version of Andy Warhol's The Factory - for young aspiring artists to mingle freely and showcase their talents.

I live with my parents in a flat in Bedok and often work in my bedroom. Many artists - such as myself - struggle to find spaces to work in.

We end up ruining our bedrooms and living rooms.

Hopefully, this space will give artists a venue for exhibitions, creative think tanks, architectural discussions, critiques, indie film screenings and whatever crazy ideas we can think of.

I'd put whatever's left into setting up a restaurant that serves free food. The only catch is that visitors have to sit with strangers and be forced to mingle over dinner.

Who knows? You might walk out of the restaurant with a couple of new friends. Wouldn't that be wonderful?"