It Changed My Life: Jeweller Michael Koh struggled with dyslexia but he never gave up

Jewellery designer Michael Koh did not have an easy start. Growing up, he had difficulty reading and writing, and dropped out of school early. Only one art school later gave him a chance, spurring him on to pursue his passion and succeed.
Mr Michael Koh in a 1989 photo with the late Brother Joseph McNally, who admitted him into LaSalle despite his not having the prerequisite qualifications. Mr Michael Koh at a sapphire mine in Chanthaburi - known as the City of Gems - in the east of T
Mr Michael Koh, 47, with his wife Ms Achillea Teng, 45, who was his junior at LaSalle College of the Arts. The couple got married in 1999 and Ms Teng left her job at a well-known local jeweller to work with her husband a year later. After many trials and tribulations, Mr Koh is today the founder of Caratell, a high-end jewellery store which counts neighbouring royalty as its clients and which has an annual turnover of more than $5 million.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

At age 15, he bumped into Brother McNally at LaSalle and that changed jeweller's life

Some years ago, a heavily tattooed man approached Mr Michael Koh when he was eating at a hawker centre.

The man held out some key chains and said: "Sir, please support ex-convicts."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 14, 2019, with the headline 'Struggled with dyslexia but he never gave up'. Print Edition | Subscribe