In 1962, when my Dad was a teacher in ACS Ipoh, there was a young boy in Form 1 who wore thick spectacles and had to go right up close to the blackboard to take down notes. His parents were too poor to afford a new pair of spectacles. One day, my Dad took him on his old Triumph 500cc bike to an optical shop and bought him a new pair of spectacles so that he could see better what was on the board. This boy studied and worked hard, and went on to eventually get his bachelor’s degree and is now a retired engineer. He never forgot Dad’s kind gesture which made a difference in his life; and, determined to help other students in the same situation, set up the fund in Dad’s name: The Leong Soon Nyean Spectacle Fund.
My Dad never knew about this fund until just a few months ago, last year. Someone had arranged an ACS luncheon, where the 2 of them met again and this man reminded my Dad of what he had done for him so many decades ago.
My Dad’s act of kindness had made a difference in that young boy’s life. It was a simple act that was significant to that boy, who became a man who remembered, was grateful, and now contributes to help change the lives of others too.
Now in 1962, Dad was by no means a rich man, not even close to it. In fact, he came from a very poor family; so poor, that they used to unscrew one light bulb in order to use it in the next room. He was the youngest son of 12. The family went through the Japanese invasion and hid in the caves, where potatoes was a rare treat. His father, Grandpa, was a lowly paid clerk who worked hard despite suffering pain in his legs. The doctors advised Grandpa to take morphine for his pain but Grandpa refused; he knew that if he did, all their money would go to the morphine and the family would starve. When the pain was intense, his children would massage him to ease the pain. Dad had gone to study in Hong Kong but had to return after only 1 year, as the family did not have enough money. So only the eldest son was sent overseas for education. All the others had to stay behind and look out for each other and themselves. After that, Dad got a Government Scholarship to Brinsford University, London.
Me, as a young child growing up, i have always witnessed my Dad’s sacrifices that he has made for our family. He was always there, had our backs, and worked so hard to let us be where we are today. I remember so many of my friends joking that they wished Dad would adopt them as his god-children! But i was the lucky one to be my father’s daughter. He has shown me many things. He has shown me that money isn’t everything; though without money, one has nothing. He has shown me tolerance, perseverance, kindness, generosity, strength, sacrifice, compromise, love, pain, betrayal, anger, forgiveness.
Hearing my Dad’s story and of the young ACS boy who later set up the fund in Dad’s name, gave me goose-bumps, and tears of such pride. My good ol’ Dad. You make me proud, Pops, and i love you!
I hope this story will inspire YOU, the reader, to practice random acts of kindness to others. Simple acts of kindness, even the ones that you may forget, can touch someone else’s life in such a significant way and make a huge difference in their lives…and then the lives of others too! Every little deed affects someone, so do remember to be kind, to be loving, to be generous, to be helpful, and to show gratitude in return. What goes around comes around.