ST 12 Days of Christmas Surprises: Day 12 winner started blog shop to lighten parents' burden

The Day 11 winner of the inaugural The Straits Times 12 Days of Christmas Surprises contest is Madam Toh Lay Tin. -- ST GRAPHIC
The Day 11 winner of the inaugural The Straits Times 12 Days of Christmas Surprises contest is Madam Toh Lay Tin. -- ST GRAPHIC

At the age of 12, Samantha Ang Xuan Lin decided she did not want to be a financial burden to her unemployed parents.

She took matters into her own hands - she started a blog shop called EccentricallyChic in June this year. She sells products sourced from a supplier such as clothes, fashion accessories and stationery.

The budding entrepreneur, who just turned 13 on Monday, is now able to pay for her own daily expenses.

Samantha's mother, Madam Toh Lay Tin, was touched by her only child's kind gesture.

"She is really a sweet darling and deserves a gift from The Straits Times," wrote Madam Toh in an e-mail entry submitted to the ST Christmas contest.

As the final-day winner of The Straits Times 12 Days of Christmas Surprises contest, Madam Toh will share her prize - a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 smartphone - with her husband, Mr Ang Wee Pheng, and Samantha, a student at CHIJ Katong Convent.

"I did not know that my mother had entered the contest. I screamed out loud when I found out," said Samantha.

The family lived in China for 11 years. Mr Ang, also in his early 50s, worked as a bank executive in Chengdu and Shanghai.

They moved back to Singapore with Samantha in 2011. The couple have been unemployed since then. "We needed time to settle down and readjust to life here," said Madam Toh.

Samantha saw that her parents were dipping into their savings and resolved to alleviate their worries.

She says her business is doing well, adding that 40 per cent of her earnings goes into her savings.

"She is very helpful. She even offered to give us some of her earnings," said Madam Toh.

Part of The Straits Times Appreciates Readers (Star) series to reach out to readers and the community, ST, together with our presenting partner, Standard Chartered, offered one mystery gift to one reader over 12 days.

Tech gadgets and household appliances worth $6,000 in total were given out. Some of the gifts readers won included a MacBook Air laptop, a Philips Avance Juicer and an LG Smart TV. Nearly 2,100 entries were received.

gurveenk@sph.com.sg

To check out readers' entries as well as up-to-date stories on Christmas, please go to www.straitstimes.com/st-christmas-2013