Subscriber Picks: Cambridge maths grad who built a music empire | Is a trip to Bintan worth the hassle?

Subscriber picks is a weekly curation of the best from The Straits Times - where we bring you exclusive reports, in-depth analyses, and the latest happenings in Singapore and beyond.


Kuok Meng Ru was all of 23 when he bought over Swee Lee Company, Singapore's oldest and most famous retailer of guitars and other musical instruments. Over the years, he has reconfigured the business model and turned it into a company with nearly 130 brands.

The Cambridge mathematics graduate shares why he decided to build his music empire even though he enjoyed what he studied. "If you don't love what you do, just because you are good doesn't mean you are going to be great." Read more in his interview with Wong Kim Hoh.

Thinking of investing your money but don't know where to start? Ask ST's Lee Su Shyan, who will answer your questions in a new series, In The Money.

Yearning to travel but cautious of venturing too far? Bintan and Batam may be an option with the launch of the sea VTL. But you may ask: Is it worth going through the Covid-19 paperwork hassle - just for a short gateaway? Hear it from ST's Venessa Lee who went on a weekend trip.

Hope you enjoy this week's stories, and have a good weekend.

Meet the Cambridge maths graduate who built an international music empire

Kuok Meng Ru acquired Swee Lee when he was all of 23, and turned it into a major force in the music industry.

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How surging oil and gas prices may affect S'pore consumers

ST explains the sweeping effects across the economy, from transport costs to food and utility prices.

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CPF Life can provide better income than some properties

Collect rent from a second property or set aside enough to meet the Basic Retirement Sum for CPF Life. Which is a better option?

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$1,000 win from a bet of 20 cents led to 20 years of addiction to jackpot machines

"Little did I know it was the beginning of my years of nightmare," says Florence, who would take medical leave to queue for her favourite jackpot machine.

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Want to invest your money but don't know where to start?

You are in your 40s and have some cash to spare. Associate editor Lee Su Shyan offers some investment options.

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War in Ukraine: Slim chances of happy ending for Putin

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Mr Putin is now facing the classic dilemma - while it is easy to start a war, it is much more difficult to finish it.

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VTL by sea: Bintan beckons for quick getaway amid pandemic

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Before the pandemic, Bintan was the ideal location for a spontaneous getaway. Now, it is opening up again but it requires some extra steps to get there.

Is it worth going through the hassle for a short holiday?

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Food In The Hood: 20 eating places to check out in the south of Singapore

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New gems at unintimidating prices in the south, which is known for its Michelin stars eateries. 

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