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Chinese soccer fans are pouring money into a food stall run by Singapore's goalkeeper. Here's why

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Chinese soccer fans are pouring money into a food stall run by Singapore's goalkeeper. Here's why
News

News

Chinese soccer fans are pouring money into a food stall run by Singapore's goalkeeper. Here's why

2024-06-14 19:42 Last Updated At:19:50

Chinese soccer fans have poured their love — and money — into a Singaporean goalkeeper’s food stall after his performance in a game this week indirectly helped China advance to the third qualifying round for the World Cup in 2026.

Hassan Sunny, a 40-year-old goalkeeper on the national team, became an overnight celebrity on Chinese social media after Singapore’s 3-1 loss to Thailand on Tuesday. China would have been eliminated if Thailand had won by three goals. Sunny made enough saves to prevent that from happening.

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Aidah Rahim, wife of singaporean goalkeeper Hassan Sunny, holds nasi lemak, a popular rice dish cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaves, for a customer at her food stall in Singapore, Friday, June 14, 2024. Chinese soccer fans have poured their love into Sunny's food stall after his performance in a game this week indirectly helped China advance to the third qualifying round for the World Cup in 2026. (AP Photo/Tim Chong)

Chinese soccer fans have poured their love — and money — into a Singaporean goalkeeper’s food stall after his performance in a game this week indirectly helped China advance to the third qualifying round for the World Cup in 2026.

Aidah Rahim, wife of singaporean soccer goalkeeper Hassan Sunny, speaks with the Associated Press at her food stall in Singapore, Friday, June 14, 2024. Chinese soccer fans have poured their love into Sunny's food stall after his performance in a game this week indirectly helped China advance to the third qualifying round for the World Cup in 2026. (AP Photo/Tim Chong)

Aidah Rahim, wife of singaporean soccer goalkeeper Hassan Sunny, speaks with the Associated Press at her food stall in Singapore, Friday, June 14, 2024. Chinese soccer fans have poured their love into Sunny's food stall after his performance in a game this week indirectly helped China advance to the third qualifying round for the World Cup in 2026. (AP Photo/Tim Chong)

Michael Zhou, 48, from Shanghai takes a selfie with Aidah Rahim, wife of singaporean goalkeeper Hassan Sunny, at her food stall in Singapore, Friday, June 14, 2024. Chinese soccer fans have poured their love into Sunny's food stall after his performance in a game this week indirectly helped China advance to the third qualifying round for the World Cup in 2026. (AP Photo/Tim Chong)

Michael Zhou, 48, from Shanghai takes a selfie with Aidah Rahim, wife of singaporean goalkeeper Hassan Sunny, at her food stall in Singapore, Friday, June 14, 2024. Chinese soccer fans have poured their love into Sunny's food stall after his performance in a game this week indirectly helped China advance to the third qualifying round for the World Cup in 2026. (AP Photo/Tim Chong)

Aidah Rahim, wife of singaporean soccer goalkeeper Hassan Sunny, talks to Chinese customers at her food stall in Singapore, Friday, June 14, 2024. Chinese soccer fans have poured their love into Sunny's food stall after his performance in a game this week indirectly helped China advance to the third qualifying round for the World Cup in 2026. (AP Photo/Tim Chong)

Aidah Rahim, wife of singaporean soccer goalkeeper Hassan Sunny, talks to Chinese customers at her food stall in Singapore, Friday, June 14, 2024. Chinese soccer fans have poured their love into Sunny's food stall after his performance in a game this week indirectly helped China advance to the third qualifying round for the World Cup in 2026. (AP Photo/Tim Chong)

A chinese soccer fan takes a photograph in front of Singaporean goalkeeper Hassan Sunny's food stall in Singapore, Friday, June 14, 2024. Chinese soccer fans have poured their love into Sunny's food stall after his performance in a game this week indirectly helped China advance to the third qualifying round for the World Cup in 2026. (AP Photo/Tim Chong)

A chinese soccer fan takes a photograph in front of Singaporean goalkeeper Hassan Sunny's food stall in Singapore, Friday, June 14, 2024. Chinese soccer fans have poured their love into Sunny's food stall after his performance in a game this week indirectly helped China advance to the third qualifying round for the World Cup in 2026. (AP Photo/Tim Chong)

A chinese soccer fan takes a photograph in front of Singaporean goalkeeper Hassan Sunny's food stall in Singapore, Friday, June 14, 2024. Chinese soccer fans have poured their love into Sunny's food stall after his performance in a game this week indirectly helped China advance to the third qualifying round for the World Cup in 2026. (AP Photo/Tim Chong)

A chinese soccer fan takes a photograph in front of Singaporean goalkeeper Hassan Sunny's food stall in Singapore, Friday, June 14, 2024. Chinese soccer fans have poured their love into Sunny's food stall after his performance in a game this week indirectly helped China advance to the third qualifying round for the World Cup in 2026. (AP Photo/Tim Chong)

Aidah Rahim, wife of Singaporean soccer goalkeeper Hassan Sunny, speaks with the Associated Press at her food stall in Singapore, Friday, June 14, 2024. Chinese soccer fans have poured their love into Sunny's food stall after his performance in a game this week indirectly helped China advance to the third qualifying round for the World Cup in 2026. (AP Photo/Tim Chong)

Aidah Rahim, wife of Singaporean soccer goalkeeper Hassan Sunny, speaks with the Associated Press at her food stall in Singapore, Friday, June 14, 2024. Chinese soccer fans have poured their love into Sunny's food stall after his performance in a game this week indirectly helped China advance to the third qualifying round for the World Cup in 2026. (AP Photo/Tim Chong)

Customers line up at the food stall of Singaporean goalkeeper Hassan Sunny in Singapore, Friday, June 14, 2024. Chinese soccer fans have poured their love into Sunny's food stall after his performance in a game this week indirectly helped China advance to the third qualifying round for the World Cup in 2026. (AP Photo/Tim Chong)

Customers line up at the food stall of Singaporean goalkeeper Hassan Sunny in Singapore, Friday, June 14, 2024. Chinese soccer fans have poured their love into Sunny's food stall after his performance in a game this week indirectly helped China advance to the third qualifying round for the World Cup in 2026. (AP Photo/Tim Chong)

Singapore goalkeeper Hassan Sunny saves the ball from Thailand's during their World Cup Asia qualifying match at Rajamangala national stadium in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, June 11, 2024. Chinese football fans poured their love to a Singaporean goalkeeper's restaurant payment account after his performance in a game on Tuesday allows China takes a further step to be the World Cup 2026. (AP Photo/Pattarchai Pramarnpanich)

Singapore goalkeeper Hassan Sunny saves the ball from Thailand's during their World Cup Asia qualifying match at Rajamangala national stadium in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, June 11, 2024. Chinese football fans poured their love to a Singaporean goalkeeper's restaurant payment account after his performance in a game on Tuesday allows China takes a further step to be the World Cup 2026. (AP Photo/Pattarchai Pramarnpanich)

Singapore goalkeeper Hassan Sunny saves the ball from Thailand's Supachai Chaided, not in photo, during their World Cup Asia qualifying match at Rajamangala national stadium in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, June 11, 2024. Chinese football fans poured their love to the Singaporean goalkeeper's restaurant payment account after his performance in a game on Tuesday allows China takes a further step to be the World Cup 2026.(AP Photo/Oranuch Tongcharoen)

Singapore goalkeeper Hassan Sunny saves the ball from Thailand's Supachai Chaided, not in photo, during their World Cup Asia qualifying match at Rajamangala national stadium in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, June 11, 2024. Chinese football fans poured their love to the Singaporean goalkeeper's restaurant payment account after his performance in a game on Tuesday allows China takes a further step to be the World Cup 2026.(AP Photo/Oranuch Tongcharoen)

Hwang Hee Chan of South Korea tries to dribble past Hassan Sunny of Singapore during 2026 FIFA World Cup Asian 2nd Qualifier soccer match between Singapore and South Korea at the National Stadium in Singapore, on Thursday, June 6, 2024. Chinese soccer fans have poured their love — and money — into Hassan Sunny’s food stall after his performance in a game this week indirectly helped China advance to the third qualifying round for the World Cup in 2026. (AP Photo/Suhaimi Abdullah, File)

Hwang Hee Chan of South Korea tries to dribble past Hassan Sunny of Singapore during 2026 FIFA World Cup Asian 2nd Qualifier soccer match between Singapore and South Korea at the National Stadium in Singapore, on Thursday, June 6, 2024. Chinese soccer fans have poured their love — and money — into Hassan Sunny’s food stall after his performance in a game this week indirectly helped China advance to the third qualifying round for the World Cup in 2026. (AP Photo/Suhaimi Abdullah, File)

Chinese fans have been lining up and buying out all the food at the stand run by Hassan and his wife in Singapore. Those in China have been sending money using the stall’s QR payment code, which has been widely shared online.

Soccer is one of the most popular spectator sports in China, though the men’s national team has struggled despite investments of millions in the sport. The team has only reached the World Cup once, more than 20 years ago in 2002.

Cao Zichen, who sent 8.88 Singapore dollars (about $6.50) to the goalie, said he was touched by the image of Hassan as a down-to-earth worker running a small shop, in contrast to the well-paid players in other countries including China. Eight is a lucky number in China that conveys wishes for wealth and prosperity.

Some fans described Hassan on social media as the best 12th player on the Chinese team, while a few wondered if he would have tax issues with all the money pouring in. Others called it rather sad and embarrassing that this is how China advanced, with one saying it shows the Chinese team would rather rely on others than its own players.

Dapur Hassan, the food stand, quickly jumped to No. 1 in the Singaporean snack and food section on Dianping, a Chinese restaurant review app. The shop specializes in "nasi lemak,” a popular dish of rice cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaves, which it serves with fried chicken. On the first day, it was sold out by 1:30 p.m., said Hassan’s wife, Aidah Rahim.

The rush was stressful for the kitchen staff in the back, she said with a smile. "I mean, yeah, my mom, my aunt, who have to keep on frying the chicken over and over again and then the eggs, because the best seller is only nasi lemak.”

Fans have posted screenshots of their transactions alongside comments of “Sincere appreciation from a soccer fan” or “Love from China.”

Hassan didn’t respond to an interview request via email and his Instagram accounts, but he made an announcement in Chinese on the platform on Thursday night urging people to stop sending money and warning that some QR codes masquerading as his shop's had been posted.

“Thank you for the support in the last a few days which allows me to fully feel the enthusiasm of Chinese fans,” he wrote. “I call for rational support, stop transferring money to me through the internet.”

SNTV producer Justin Chua in Singapore and Associated Press researcher Wanqing Chen in Beijing contributed to this report.

Aidah Rahim, wife of singaporean goalkeeper Hassan Sunny, holds nasi lemak, a popular rice dish cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaves, for a customer at her food stall in Singapore, Friday, June 14, 2024. Chinese soccer fans have poured their love into Sunny's food stall after his performance in a game this week indirectly helped China advance to the third qualifying round for the World Cup in 2026. (AP Photo/Tim Chong)

Aidah Rahim, wife of singaporean goalkeeper Hassan Sunny, holds nasi lemak, a popular rice dish cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaves, for a customer at her food stall in Singapore, Friday, June 14, 2024. Chinese soccer fans have poured their love into Sunny's food stall after his performance in a game this week indirectly helped China advance to the third qualifying round for the World Cup in 2026. (AP Photo/Tim Chong)

Aidah Rahim, wife of singaporean soccer goalkeeper Hassan Sunny, speaks with the Associated Press at her food stall in Singapore, Friday, June 14, 2024. Chinese soccer fans have poured their love into Sunny's food stall after his performance in a game this week indirectly helped China advance to the third qualifying round for the World Cup in 2026. (AP Photo/Tim Chong)

Aidah Rahim, wife of singaporean soccer goalkeeper Hassan Sunny, speaks with the Associated Press at her food stall in Singapore, Friday, June 14, 2024. Chinese soccer fans have poured their love into Sunny's food stall after his performance in a game this week indirectly helped China advance to the third qualifying round for the World Cup in 2026. (AP Photo/Tim Chong)

Michael Zhou, 48, from Shanghai takes a selfie with Aidah Rahim, wife of singaporean goalkeeper Hassan Sunny, at her food stall in Singapore, Friday, June 14, 2024. Chinese soccer fans have poured their love into Sunny's food stall after his performance in a game this week indirectly helped China advance to the third qualifying round for the World Cup in 2026. (AP Photo/Tim Chong)

Michael Zhou, 48, from Shanghai takes a selfie with Aidah Rahim, wife of singaporean goalkeeper Hassan Sunny, at her food stall in Singapore, Friday, June 14, 2024. Chinese soccer fans have poured their love into Sunny's food stall after his performance in a game this week indirectly helped China advance to the third qualifying round for the World Cup in 2026. (AP Photo/Tim Chong)

Aidah Rahim, wife of singaporean soccer goalkeeper Hassan Sunny, talks to Chinese customers at her food stall in Singapore, Friday, June 14, 2024. Chinese soccer fans have poured their love into Sunny's food stall after his performance in a game this week indirectly helped China advance to the third qualifying round for the World Cup in 2026. (AP Photo/Tim Chong)

Aidah Rahim, wife of singaporean soccer goalkeeper Hassan Sunny, talks to Chinese customers at her food stall in Singapore, Friday, June 14, 2024. Chinese soccer fans have poured their love into Sunny's food stall after his performance in a game this week indirectly helped China advance to the third qualifying round for the World Cup in 2026. (AP Photo/Tim Chong)

A chinese soccer fan takes a photograph in front of Singaporean goalkeeper Hassan Sunny's food stall in Singapore, Friday, June 14, 2024. Chinese soccer fans have poured their love into Sunny's food stall after his performance in a game this week indirectly helped China advance to the third qualifying round for the World Cup in 2026. (AP Photo/Tim Chong)

A chinese soccer fan takes a photograph in front of Singaporean goalkeeper Hassan Sunny's food stall in Singapore, Friday, June 14, 2024. Chinese soccer fans have poured their love into Sunny's food stall after his performance in a game this week indirectly helped China advance to the third qualifying round for the World Cup in 2026. (AP Photo/Tim Chong)

A chinese soccer fan takes a photograph in front of Singaporean goalkeeper Hassan Sunny's food stall in Singapore, Friday, June 14, 2024. Chinese soccer fans have poured their love into Sunny's food stall after his performance in a game this week indirectly helped China advance to the third qualifying round for the World Cup in 2026. (AP Photo/Tim Chong)

A chinese soccer fan takes a photograph in front of Singaporean goalkeeper Hassan Sunny's food stall in Singapore, Friday, June 14, 2024. Chinese soccer fans have poured their love into Sunny's food stall after his performance in a game this week indirectly helped China advance to the third qualifying round for the World Cup in 2026. (AP Photo/Tim Chong)

Aidah Rahim, wife of Singaporean soccer goalkeeper Hassan Sunny, speaks with the Associated Press at her food stall in Singapore, Friday, June 14, 2024. Chinese soccer fans have poured their love into Sunny's food stall after his performance in a game this week indirectly helped China advance to the third qualifying round for the World Cup in 2026. (AP Photo/Tim Chong)

Aidah Rahim, wife of Singaporean soccer goalkeeper Hassan Sunny, speaks with the Associated Press at her food stall in Singapore, Friday, June 14, 2024. Chinese soccer fans have poured their love into Sunny's food stall after his performance in a game this week indirectly helped China advance to the third qualifying round for the World Cup in 2026. (AP Photo/Tim Chong)

Customers line up at the food stall of Singaporean goalkeeper Hassan Sunny in Singapore, Friday, June 14, 2024. Chinese soccer fans have poured their love into Sunny's food stall after his performance in a game this week indirectly helped China advance to the third qualifying round for the World Cup in 2026. (AP Photo/Tim Chong)

Customers line up at the food stall of Singaporean goalkeeper Hassan Sunny in Singapore, Friday, June 14, 2024. Chinese soccer fans have poured their love into Sunny's food stall after his performance in a game this week indirectly helped China advance to the third qualifying round for the World Cup in 2026. (AP Photo/Tim Chong)

Singapore goalkeeper Hassan Sunny saves the ball from Thailand's during their World Cup Asia qualifying match at Rajamangala national stadium in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, June 11, 2024. Chinese football fans poured their love to a Singaporean goalkeeper's restaurant payment account after his performance in a game on Tuesday allows China takes a further step to be the World Cup 2026. (AP Photo/Pattarchai Pramarnpanich)

Singapore goalkeeper Hassan Sunny saves the ball from Thailand's during their World Cup Asia qualifying match at Rajamangala national stadium in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, June 11, 2024. Chinese football fans poured their love to a Singaporean goalkeeper's restaurant payment account after his performance in a game on Tuesday allows China takes a further step to be the World Cup 2026. (AP Photo/Pattarchai Pramarnpanich)

Singapore goalkeeper Hassan Sunny saves the ball from Thailand's Supachai Chaided, not in photo, during their World Cup Asia qualifying match at Rajamangala national stadium in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, June 11, 2024. Chinese football fans poured their love to the Singaporean goalkeeper's restaurant payment account after his performance in a game on Tuesday allows China takes a further step to be the World Cup 2026.(AP Photo/Oranuch Tongcharoen)

Singapore goalkeeper Hassan Sunny saves the ball from Thailand's Supachai Chaided, not in photo, during their World Cup Asia qualifying match at Rajamangala national stadium in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, June 11, 2024. Chinese football fans poured their love to the Singaporean goalkeeper's restaurant payment account after his performance in a game on Tuesday allows China takes a further step to be the World Cup 2026.(AP Photo/Oranuch Tongcharoen)

Hwang Hee Chan of South Korea tries to dribble past Hassan Sunny of Singapore during 2026 FIFA World Cup Asian 2nd Qualifier soccer match between Singapore and South Korea at the National Stadium in Singapore, on Thursday, June 6, 2024. Chinese soccer fans have poured their love — and money — into Hassan Sunny’s food stall after his performance in a game this week indirectly helped China advance to the third qualifying round for the World Cup in 2026. (AP Photo/Suhaimi Abdullah, File)

Hwang Hee Chan of South Korea tries to dribble past Hassan Sunny of Singapore during 2026 FIFA World Cup Asian 2nd Qualifier soccer match between Singapore and South Korea at the National Stadium in Singapore, on Thursday, June 6, 2024. Chinese soccer fans have poured their love — and money — into Hassan Sunny’s food stall after his performance in a game this week indirectly helped China advance to the third qualifying round for the World Cup in 2026. (AP Photo/Suhaimi Abdullah, File)

PLAINFIELD, Vt. (AP) — Vermont is seeking an assessment to determine whether last week’s flooding, which damaged homes, knocked down bridges and washed out roads, qualifies for a federal disaster declaration and aid.

The flooding from the remnants of Hurricane Beryl happened a year after the state experienced catastrophic flooding that left some victims still awaiting home buyouts or repairs.

“We know this storm has done tremendous damage in many communities, and those impacted will need help to recover," Gov. Phil Scott said in a statement Saturday. “That’s why it’s so critical for Vermonters to report their damage to help us demonstrate the need for these federal resources.”

Two people were killed by the flooding, including a motorist in Lyndonville and a man who was riding an all-terrain vehicle in Peacham, authorities said.

Some of the hardest-hit riverside communities were Barre, Hardwick, Lyndonville, Moretown and Plainfield, but the estimated $15 million in damage to roads and other public infrastructure was more widespread. Damage assessments will be done in eight of Vermont's 14 counties. A public assistance disaster declaration would provide 75% reimbursement to communities for responding to and repairing public infrastructure damaged by the storm, the governor said.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency must verify at least $1.1 million in response and public infrastructure recovery costs for the state to qualify for a major disaster declaration, according to Scott. For counties to qualify, they must show damages of $4.60 per capita, Scott's office said.

An individual assistance declaration would give some financial assistance to homeowners and renters for property losses, the governor said. They are encouraged to report property losses by calling 211 or visiting www.vermont211.org.

Even though Vermont is an inland state, it's suffered damage from tropical storm systems. In 2011, Tropical Storm Irene dumped 11 inches (28 centimeters) of rain on parts of the state in 24 hours. The storm killed six in the state, washed homes off their foundations and damaged or destroyed more than 200 bridges and 500 miles (800 kilometers) of highway.

In May, Vermont became the first state to enact a law requiring fossil fuel companies to pay a share of the damage caused by extreme weather fanned by climate change. But officials acknowledged last week that collecting any money will depend on litigation against a much-better-resourced oil industry.

Signs are displayed outside the town hall, Sunday, July 14, 2024, in Plainfield, Vt., a community that had some of the worst damage in last week's flooding. (AP Photo/Lisa Rathke)

Signs are displayed outside the town hall, Sunday, July 14, 2024, in Plainfield, Vt., a community that had some of the worst damage in last week's flooding. (AP Photo/Lisa Rathke)

FILE - The remains of an eight unit apartment building that locals call the Heartbreak Hotel are in Plainfield, Vermont, on July 12, 2024, after flood waters and debris caused by the aftermath of Hurricane Beryl pulled several of the apartments into the Great Brook waterway. Vermont is seeking a federal assessment to determine whether last week’s flooding, which damaged homes, knocked out bridges and washed out roads, qualifies for a federal disaster declaration and aid. (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey, file)

FILE - The remains of an eight unit apartment building that locals call the Heartbreak Hotel are in Plainfield, Vermont, on July 12, 2024, after flood waters and debris caused by the aftermath of Hurricane Beryl pulled several of the apartments into the Great Brook waterway. Vermont is seeking a federal assessment to determine whether last week’s flooding, which damaged homes, knocked out bridges and washed out roads, qualifies for a federal disaster declaration and aid. (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey, file)

FILE - An overwhelmed residents surveys the damage following flooding caused by the remnants of Hurricane Beryl, July 11, 2024, in Plainfield, Vt. Vermont is seeking a federal assessment to determine whether last week’s flooding, which damaged homes, knocked out bridges and washed out roads, qualifies for a federal disaster declaration and aid. (AP Photo/Dmitry Belyakov, file)

FILE - An overwhelmed residents surveys the damage following flooding caused by the remnants of Hurricane Beryl, July 11, 2024, in Plainfield, Vt. Vermont is seeking a federal assessment to determine whether last week’s flooding, which damaged homes, knocked out bridges and washed out roads, qualifies for a federal disaster declaration and aid. (AP Photo/Dmitry Belyakov, file)

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