A candid camera moment to remember

Mr Lui admiring his brand-new Nikon yesterday. The 79-year-old, an award-winning photographer, could not afford the $700 needed to repair his existing camera, so an effort was made to get him a new one.
Mr Lui admiring his brand-new Nikon yesterday. The 79-year-old, an award-winning photographer, could not afford the $700 needed to repair his existing camera, so an effort was made to get him a new one.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

Mr Lui Hock Seng, 79, was pleasantly surprised to receive a brand new Nikon camera after his shift ended last night.

It was the perfect gift for Mr Lui, a cleaner at Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), the parent company of The Straits Times. The father of three has spent more than 50 years photographing Singapore, winning several local and international competitions in the process.

"I wanted to buy this camera, but I couldn't bear the price," he said in Mandarin, after receiving the gift.

The camera is a replacement for his six-year-old digital Nikon, which began malfunctioning several months ago. Earning just a few hundred dollars per month, Mr Lui could not afford the $700 fee to have it fixed.

His predicament came to the attention of staff at The Straits Times, who reached out to various companies in search of a replacement.

Unsure if they would get a sponsor, SPH staff, photographers and members of the public contributed a total of $1,750 to buy Mr Lui a new camera.

But within days, Nikon agreed to provide a D7200 camera with an 18-140 mm kit lens worth $1,799.

So the cash raised was given to Mr Lui, along with the camera, yesterday.

He is still unsure what he will do with the money. "You did not need to give me this. You already helped with the camera. That is enough," he said, adding that he was "very satisfied" with the gift.

"Thank you everyone for the help and Nikon company for the sponsorship," he said.

Mr Lui was not the only SPH cleaner to receive a gift. On Monday, cleaners were treated to a special lunch and vouchers as part of Cleaners' Appreciation Day, a special event to reward the company's cleaners for the work they do.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 21, 2016, with the headline 'A candid camera moment to remember'. Print Edition | Subscribe