Just 10 minutes shy of the 9pm deadline, he arrived to claim his Bingo cash prize.
Mr Mohammad Sazali Hamid, 27, and his friend got lost trying to get to Genting Lane, he confesses.
“I was looking at my watch anxiously all the way!” says the storekeeper with an oil and gas company.
He shares the Bingo cash jackpot with fellow winner Tan Hai Chew, 57, an operations manager.
As the prize had snowballed to $4,000 yesterday, each man won $2,000.
Mr Tan, who had come in the late afternoon to claim his prize, was sanguine last night when he found out that he had to share.
This is his first time winning something anyway, he says with a laugh.
It was his wife, Mrs Nina Tan, 54, a teacher assistant, who told him he had a winning ticket when they were reading the newspaper in the afternoon.
“We were so surprised and happy!” says the self-described long-time reader.
The contest is The New Paper’s way of thanking its loyal readers as it turns 24 years old. Today marks the last day of the TNP Bingo run, which started on July 9.
To play, readers need to have a Bingo card, which was attached to the front page of TNP last Monday. Each bingo card has a unique sequence of numbers.
The last set of 10 random numbers from one to 99 is printed in today’s newspapers. A vertical column (from top to bottom) of matching numbers entitles you to the prize shown on top of that column.
A cash prize of $1,000 is on offer and will be shared among winners who turn up before 9pm today at the Circulation Division at SPH Media Centre at 82, Genting Lane.
Mr Tan says that he had been participating in the Bingo contest since the start.
“It’s quite interesting and it gets a bit of excitement going,” he says.
As for Mr Mohammad Sazali, the win was rather surreal because he had been missing two numbers on his card.
He didn’t check the paper earlier because he didn’t think he had a chance.
“But my parents had bought the paper, and while I was reading, I thought I’d check anyway,” he says.
When he realised that he had a winning card, he called a friend just to make sure he got the mechanics of the contest right.
“By then it was 7-plus in the evening. So my friend offered to drive me to collect the prize,” says Mr Mohammad Sazali.
The bachelor, who lives with his parents, has been reading TNP since he was in secondary school. He says that the $2,000 will go to bigger Hari Raya packets for the children in his family.
As for Mr Tan, he reckons that a nice celebratory dinner is in order. But when quizzed further on what he would spend the $2,000 prize on, he quips:
“Keep on buying The New Paper with the money, lah!”