A man of compassion who gave people opportunities in life

I am deeply saddened to read of the death of Mr Lee Seng Gee - a gentleman who gave so much of his life to doing charity work ("Lee Foundation chairman Lee Seng Gee dies, 95"; May 11).

As chairman of the Lee Foundation, Mr Lee was instrumental in giving so much to education and even to those with special needs - translating love for mankind to a deep concern for their welfare.

Through the support of the Institute of Mental Health and the Singapore Association for Mental Health, my late wife and I have benefited much from the sponsorship of the Lee Foundation for some of the books we wrote.

From Mr Lee's leadership and generosity, we were able to earn a decent living, chart new directions in life and contribute as useful members of society, thus debunking the myth that people with mental illness are unable to function properly and have no economic value.

In these collaborative efforts, it has been proven that despite disabilities, people with such special needs can have capabilities.

I have every confidence that whoever takes over as the new chairman of Lee Foundation will continue Mr Lee's good work to provide that much-needed funding, so that those in need can find a meaningful purpose in life through the arts.

Other charitable organisations and philanthropists should emulate the kindness which Mr Lee displayed, and cast their nets wider to reach out to more people with special needs.

Raymond Anthony Fernando