Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin's photo fundraiser raises more than $1.7 million

Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin presenting a metallic print of his photograph to Maybank Singapore deputy CEO Allen Ng during the “Our Place in the World” photo exhibition high tea reception at Fullerton Hotel on April 17, 2019.
Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin presenting a metallic print of his photograph to Maybank Singapore deputy CEO Allen Ng during the “Our Place in the World” photo exhibition high tea reception at Fullerton Hotel on April 17, 2019.ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

SINGAPORE - In the formal Straits Ballroom of Fullerton Hotel, a small boy clad in his school's physical education attire bounds onto the stage to shake the hand of Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin, drawing the loudest applause from an audience of smartly-dressed adults.

He poses next to the photograph his father - 39-year-old IT engineer Jeffery Lau - received for donating $10,000 to a fundraiser of photographs taken by Mr Tan.

Mr Lau is one of about 100 individuals and companies that had bought the photographs of landscapes and interiors as well as cities printed on metal or paper, at $10,000 a piece.

They were present at a tea reception on Wednesday (April 17), held in appreciation of their contributions.

The photographs had been shown in February at a public exhibition tagged "Our Place in the World", that was held at Far East Plaza shopping mall.

Both events were organised by Hope Initiative Alliance, arts @ work, Far East Organisation and Far East Plaza.

More than $1.7 million were raised and will be given to 13 charities chosen by Mr Tan, with the donors able to name the beneficiaries of their donations.

 
 

Maybank Singapore was among the donor companies and it picked The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund (SPMF) as the beneficiary. Said its chief executive John Lee: "This is aligned with our mission of Humanising Financial Services, where we contribute what we can as an active corporate citizen, and the bank will continue to reach out to those in need to create collective social impact."

The money will help provide pocket money to about 10,000 students from low-income families that the SPMF supports each year.

Mr Lau said that by donating, he hopes to inculcate the value of giving back to the community in his children. "Charity begins at home," he added.

The beneficiary he chose was Care Corner as he values the work they do in supporting disadvantaged and low-income families through Family Service Centres. It was his way to help tackle inequality in Singapore.

Mr Tan told the many corporate leaders at the reception that he hoped the project enabled the donors to learn more about the various causes they were supporting. He encouraged them to mobilise their businesses and workers to do more than just give money.

"The giving of time is almost as precious, if not possibly even more precious, than money. Because when we commit our lives into the lives of others, a difference can be made."