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Singapore PM's wife goes to US on state visit carrying pouch worth only S$15
Published:  Aug 5, 2016 4:46 PM
Updated: 9:53 AM

The Singapore prime minister's wife Ho Ching was initially criticised for her outfit choice during a state visit to the White House in the United States.

Netizens had quickly pointed out the difference between the outfits of Ho and the US first lady, Michelle Obama.

"She (Ho) really could have chose .something, well, more cheery.

"We need to get a stylist for her, please," said aesthetics doctor Siew Tuck Wah on Facebook, as reported by BBC yesterday.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsieng Loong and Ho have been in the US since Monday.

However, netizens changed their tune once it was discovered that the blue, dinosaur-printed clutch Ho was carrying was worth only S$15.

The clutch was designed by a Singaporean student at Pathlight, the country's first autism-focused school.

Usually, the school sells 200 pouches in four months, but the school said that it sold 200 within a day after Ho's accessory choice was reported widely.

That particular pouch has since sold out.

Ho was first seen carrying the pouch at the arrival ceremony at the White House South Lawn, where she and her husband Lee were officially welcomed to the US by President Barack Obama and Michelle.

Pathlight's principal Linda Kho said they were “pleasantly surprised” that Ho brought the pouch, which she bought at a recent fundraising event, to Washington.

"We were pleasantly surprised and honoured that she chose to bring this bag on her official visit. It gave such a great mileage for the artist on our Artist Development Programme (ADP).

"[She] is known to be very down to earth and practical and the fact that she carries a less than S$20 Singapore pouch to such a world stage event shows she is really confident and authentic," said Kho.

The student, who designed the pouch, 19-year-old Seetoh Sheng Jie, was described by the school's website as being "extremely pedantic about dinosaurs", with the illustrations drawn from his personal knowledge.

According to his father, Jason Seetoh, he was "happy" when he learned that Ho had brought a pouch of his son's design to the US.

"His parents are understandably very proud and honoured," said Pathlight student and corporate affairs senior manager Shae Hung Yee.

Ho is an adviser to the Autism Resource Centre in Singapore, which helped set up the Pathlight school.

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