Tan Chuan-Jin's photo project raises $1.7m for 13 charities

Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin (at left) presenting a metallic print of his photograph to Maybank Singapore deputy CEO Allen Ang during a tea reception for the contributors. Maybank Singapore picked The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund as
Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin (at left) presenting a metallic print of his photograph to Maybank Singapore deputy CEO Allen Ng during a tea reception for the contributors. Maybank Singapore picked The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund as the beneficiary of its donation. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

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 that his father - 39-year-old IT engineer Jeffery Lau - received for donating $10,000 to a fund-raiser with photographs taken by Mr Tan.

Mr Lau was among 100 or so individuals and firms that had bought the pictures of landscapes and interiors as well as cities, printed on metal or paper, at $10,000 a piece.

They attended a tea reception yesterday, held in appreciation of their contributions.

Maybank Singapore was among the donor companies, and it picked The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund (SPMF) as the beneficiary of its donation. Its chief executive John Lee said in a statement: "This is aligned with our mission of humanising financial services... and the bank will continue to reach out to those in need to create collective social impact."

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

The Our Place In The World project was organised by Hope Initiative Alliance, arts@work, Far East Organization and Far East Plaza. It raised more than $1.7 million for 13 charities chosen by Mr Tan, with the donors able to name the beneficiaries of their donations.

Mr Lau's beneficiary was Care Corner, which supports disadvantaged and low-income families through family service centres. It was his way to help tackle inequality in Singapore.

Mr Tan, in his address, urged people to do more than give money. "The giving of time is almost as precious, if not possibly even more precious, than money. Because when we commit our lives to the lives of others, a difference can be made."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 18, 2019, with the headline 'Tan Chuan-Jin's photo project raises $1.7m for 13 charities'. Print Edition | Subscribe