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In what sounds like a script out of a feel-good prison movie, the once-crypto mogul, who found himself in handcuffs at Singapore's Changi Airport while allegedly trying to make a sneaky exit in October, has surprisingly declared his stint in Singapore's prison as a delightful retreat.
Zhu was sentenced to four months in jail by the committal order in late September but was released slightly early based on standard provisions for good behavior.
In a stream with co-founder Kyle Davies and pseudonymous OX social media manager 'Lukas', Zhu waxed poetic about his "best sleep ever," push-ups, and a newfound appreciation for floor bedding, making one wonder if he mistook his cell for a zen monastery.
“Obviously, no one wants to go to prison, but I think that it was a really enjoyable experience overall,” said Zhu. “All the things they allow you to do still in prison are the things that, like in the ancient days, would still be considered entertainment, right?”
"It’s a really magical feeling; you feel a kinship with your ancestors; this is how I was supposed to live," he mused, sparking both bewilderment and a hint of envy among his listeners.
Zhu even ventured to suggest that a stint in the clink might be beneficial for the soul and is "good" for people. "Not to the point of highly recommending it per se," Zhu continued. "But I would say that it's something if everyone got to experience once, I think it's definitely good for you," he opined, making one wonder if he's on to a new wellness trend.
Zhu said he spent his time reading, doing push-ups and cherishing the spartan comfort of sleeping on the floor, which he likened to a Japanese tatami mat, apparently a hidden secret for spine health. "The sleep is amazing," he said, noting that it's "really good for decompressing your...spine."
Despite the seemingly Zen-like experience, the backdrop to Zhu's prison narrative is far from serene. In September, MAS imposed nine-year prohibition orders on Davies and Zhu, prohibiting them from operating in Singapore's regulated financial services industry.
The firm's implosion, with an estimated loss of $3.3 billion, however, didn't lead to criminal charges in Singapore for Zhu and Davies. Instead, Zhu's short prison stint seems almost like a minor inconvenience in comparison.
Meanwhile, Zhu's house has been transformed into an urban farm called Yarwood Homestead, managed by Abundant Cities - a venture co-founded by his wife, Dr Evelyn Tao.
Nestled on Yarwood Avenue in the upscale Bukit Timah neighborhood, the couple bought the Good Class Bungalow (GCB) for S$48.8 million (US$35.53 million) in March 2022. Abundant Cities researches "nature-based solutions for citizen farmers" according to its website and offers monthly farm tours for $120 per ticket, complete with lunch, perhaps reflecting Zhu's newfound appreciation for the simpler things in life.