SINGAPORE – When Mr Sum Kin Nar built a 30cm-tall model of the Eiffel Tower about five years ago, he relied on photos and his imagination.
The 78-year-old lives alone and depends on public assistance to get by. He had never been to Paris and could not afford to travel there.
Two weeks ago, the retired carpenter fulfilled a lifelong dream to visit the capital of France when a reader paid for his trip there after reading his story in The Straits Times.
Mr Sum was featured in the newspaper last month in The Lives They Live, a series of stories on ordinary Singaporeans who helped build society here.
He quit studying after primary school and did mainly carpentry work for construction companies and renovation contractors.
He stopped working as a carpenter 17 years ago, at age 61, when companies found him too old for the manual work.
Without a steady income or Central Provident Fund …