Tuesday January 29, 2013
Still giving back to society at 93
By CAVINA LIM
GEORGE TOWN: For the past 49 years, without fail, nonagenarian Ong Kheng Chin makes it a point to bring Chinese New Year cheer to residents of the Penang Home of the Infirmed and Aged.
The 93-year-old retired headmistress, who believes in giving back to society for the success and well-being of her family, started her philanthropic work in 1964 during her early days as the Penang Buddhist Association Kindergarten principal.
Ong's only son, Chin Kok Cheong, 59, said his mother would visit the home on the Sunday two weeks before Chinese New Year, bearing red packets, mandarin oranges, sponge cakes as well as other necessities for the elderly.
“She was taking the usual bus to work one day and saw the home, which was undergoing renovations and had only a few residents then.
“My mother just knew that she was fated to help the poor, sick and needy.
“She went to visit the home with a few friends and saw several people cooking in the kitchen. She felt that she could help out by buying some ingredients,” said the retired university professor.
Chin said Ong, who just turned 93 on Saturday, had become a motivation to their family and friends to extend a helping hand to the needy and underprivileged.
“Even though my mother is wheelchair-bound, she is strong and healthy despite her age.
“Those who know her personally and those whom she had just met are amazed by her strong will and determination to help, no matter what, and because of that, many people have come from far and near over the years to join my mother in giving out the goodies.
“Many showed support for her actions, and it became a tradition for her to hand out the contribution every Chinese New Year,” he said.
On Sunday, some 20 people, including Ong's family and friends, joined her in distributing some 300 red packets and other items to the inmates and staff at the home in Jalan Masjid Negeri here.
Chin said his mother also gave donations to several other non-profit organisations such as St Joseph's Home and Salvation Army Penang Children's Home, among others.
When asked what was her wish for the coming Chinese New Year, Ong replied: “Peace for the world”.