PICTURES

Golfing buddies donate $70,000 to School Pocket Money Fund after friend shaves head

Mr Gwee Peng Hong getting his head shaved at Little Red Dot to raise funds for The Straits Times' School Pocket Money Fund on Jan 12, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM 
Mr Gwee Peng Hong getting his head shaved at Little Red Dot to raise funds for The Straits Times' School Pocket Money Fund on Jan 12, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM 
Mr Gwee Peng Hong getting his head shaved at Little Red Dot to raise funds for The Straits Times' School Pocket Money Fund on Jan 12, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM 
Mr Gwee Peng Hong getting his head shaved at Little Red Dot to raise funds for The Straits Times' School Pocket Money Fund on Jan 12, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM 
Mr Gwee Peng Hong getting his head shaved at Little Red Dot to raise funds for The Straits Times' School Pocket Money Fund on Jan 12, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM 
Mr Gwee Peng Hong getting his head shaved at Little Red Dot to raise funds for The Straits Times' School Pocket Money Fund on Jan 12, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM 
Mr Gwee Peng Hong getting his head shaved at Little Red Dot to raise funds for The Straits Times' School Pocket Money Fund on Jan 12, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM 
Mr Gwee Peng Hong getting his head shaved at Little Red Dot to raise funds for The Straits Times' School Pocket Money Fund on Jan 12, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM 
Mr Gwee Peng Hong smiles after getting his head shaved at Little Red Dot to raise funds for The Straits Times' School Pocket Money Fund on Jan 12, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM 
Mr Gwee Peng Hong smiles after getting his head shaved at Little Red Dot to raise funds for The Straits Times' School Pocket Money Fund on Jan 12, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM 

It started out as a joke between golfing buddies, but three weeks later Mr Gwee Peng Hong had his head shaved for charity.

The 65-year-old managing director of a trading firm was sporting a head full of jet black hair - all natural, he said - until Sunday. With his crowning glory shorn off at the Little Red Dot salon in Forum The Shopping Mall, his friends donated around $70,000 to The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund (SPMF).

"It feels very comfortable," Mr Gwee said, laughing, after paying for the haircut.

He was egged on by friends from a group of around 50 men, who call themselves the Lucky Dippers and meet up once a month for a game of golf, dinner and drinks. They have donated collectively to SPMF and other organisations in the past.

At a year-end celebration last December, they had teased one friend about his balding and greying head, comparing his hairline to Mr Gwee's as the two are of the same age and build. The men ended up challenging Mr Gwee to shave, and he eventually agreed, on the condition that they fork out $10,000.

"I thought, if I'm going to shave my hair after all these years I'd better up the stakes and give it to charity," Mr Gwee said. The only other time he has gone bald was "for fun" in pre-university days. He added: "I personally believe in the goals of (the fund), in giving the less privileged a chance to achieve."

Mr Hong Pian Tee, independent director of mineral resources company AsiaPhos and one of Mr Gwee's friends, said: "We like to find opportunities to do something for charity, and we're always looking for cheeky ideas to make it more interesting...The wilder the prank, the more money will be contributed."

After three weeks, the group of friends had pooled together around $70,000, which was collected at Sunday night's "shaving ceremony" and dinner.

Chairman of SPMF Han Fook Kwang, who is also one of Mr Gwee's friends, said: "I've enjoyed the company of this group of friends because they know how to enjoy their golf and whisky but most of all how to have fun, especially when it's for a good cause."