From studying law to selling noodles. Ms Ai Takagi, 22, the founder of now-defunct socio-political website The Real Singapore put aside her studies and chose not to pursue a career in law. Instead, she has decided that she wants to be in the hawker business selling authentic Japanese Ramen in local coffee shops and foodcourts. Ms Takagi and her husband, Mr Yang Kaiheng, started their Ramen business shortly after the MDA shut down The Real Singapore website for ‘causing ill-will’ making it the first ever news website to be shut down by the Singapore government.
Despite more than 25,000 Singaporeans petitioning to shut down government-owned website STOMP.com.sg which frequently publishes articles that shame foreigners, the government shut down TRS instead. Ms Takagi and Mr Yang are now focusing their efforts in their new Ramen business and are opening a new outlet in Ang Mo Kio Central at Blk 721 Ang Mo Kio Ave 8. The new outlet opens on 2nd January.
All Singapore Stuff has done a bit of digging to summarise some of the challenges that the couple have faced this year:
In February, the couple were arrested and subsequently charged with 7 counts of Sedition for 6 articles on The Real Singaporewhich were allegedly posted or allowed to be posted on the site by the site editors. The case is still ongoing with trial expected to take place early next year. The couple both face a possible maximum jail term of up to 3 years per each of the 7 charges.
In May, Mr Yang’s father also suffered a debilitating stroke leaving their family with hefty medical bills. Mr Yang’s father also now requires full-time family care due to his current condition of ‘Locked-in Syndrome’.
Also in May, the couple were sued by SPH, Singapore’s largest news corporation for copyright infringement. It is understood that the case was filed in the High Court meaning SPH was seeking over $250k in damages.
Despite the many challenges the couple have faced this year and the tough life still ahead of them, instead of complaining like a lot of Singaporean do about their lives, they have decided to start their own F&B business and make their own living.
According to Takagi Ramen’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/TakagiRamenShop), they want to do Singaporeans a service by providing affordable and authentic Japanese ramen to Singaporeans at coffeeshop prices as you know most Japanese ramen in Singapore cost at least $15 a bowl.
When contacted by AllSingaporeStuff, the couple denied to comment on their current ongoing legal cases but they said that they hope to open more outlets around Singapore and allow even the lower income families in Singapore to enjoy authentic Japanese Tonkotsu Ramen.