SINGAPORE - He is best known as the country's first Olympic gold medallist, but for about 10 minutes on Thursday (Nov 24), swimmer Joseph Schooling took on a new role: chauffeur.
The 21-year-old drove three children from the Make-A-Wish Foundation in a Porsche Cayenne outside Kallang Wave mall after an event by The Schooling Effect and Make-A-Wish Foundation.
There, Schooling and the three nine-year-olds - Boon Kye Feng, Joshua Koh and Joshua Ong - pledged their dreams at the mall's Christmas tree. The pledge is created as part of the book Hello, My Name Is Joseph Schooling, to encourage and inspire people to dare to dream.
Joshua Ong, a pupil at Schooling's alma mater Anglo-Chinese School (Junior), also presented the swimmer with a copy of the school's annual magazine.
Schooling had assured the crowd that he was a "safe driver" before embarking on the car ride, and asked if Joshua had enjoyed the ride, the latter answered: "The car ride was fast and nice. Roller-coasters go upside down but the car did not go upside down, so I was not scared."
Liberty Insurance's vice-president for marketing and analytics Teo Ser Foong and Porsche's managing director Martin Limpert each presented Make-A-Wish Foundation CEO Judy Lim cheques for $5,000 and $18,000 respectively.
Said Limpert: "The Make-A-Wish Foundation fulfils dreams for kids who are not able to fulfil them on their own, and that's also how the story of Porsche started. Joseph Schooling is a role model and of course having won Singapore's first Olympic gold medal, commands a certain attention, and the fact that he supports the foundation and that he is a young sports person is a perfect fit with our brand.
"We want to start to set the stage now with the $18,000 that we hope will be able to help the kids fulfil their dreams, and make some of them a reality."