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​Book and roving exhibition of philanthropy launched at LKCMedicine 

Published on: 16-Oct-2019

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A book and roving exhibition depicting the lifelong friendship and charitable acts of a late philanthropist couple, Mr Ong Tiong Tat and Madam Irene Tan Liang Kheng, and their late lawyer friend, Mr Koh Choon Joo, were launched at LKCMedicine today.

Titled, "The Char Kuay Teow Legacy: How an Enduring Friendship Turned into a Forever Gift", the book and exhibition mark a heartwarming tribute to the three philanthropists who epitomised the spirit of philanthropy and charity. They also include touching stories borne out of a deep friendship between them and how their friendship grew to benefit numerous tertiary institutions, medical institutions, welfare organisations and society at large today. 

The book's name was derived to remember the chance encounter between Mr Ong and Mr Koh over a plate of char kway teow. They forged a friendship that lasted for more than 40 years, and resulted in a legacy which saw millions of dollars given to various causes.  

With the donations from the three philanthropists, many scholarships, bursaries and professorships were created. Many including teachers and students of CHIJ Secondary (Toa Payoh), Geylang Methodist School (Secondary), Hwa Chong Institution (HCI) and Raffles Institution have contributed to the book and exhibition. Young recipients of various gifts and bursaries also helped to put together the content of the book and exhibition.

The roving exhibition will be displayed at 18 exhibition venues in educational institutions including NTU and LKCMedicine. The exhibition in LKCMedicine will be available till 26 October.  

LKCMedicine is also one of the beneficiaries of the Estate of Irene Tan Liang Kheng.

In August last year, the School received an S$11 million gift – the largest by the Estate to a single beneficiary – to further medical education and research in healthcare. The gift was given by the Trustee of the Estate and nephew of the couple, Mr Tan Hsuan Heng. In recognition of the generous gift, LKCMedicine named the auditorium in honour of the couple, the “Ong Tiong Tat and Irene Tan Liang Kheng Auditorium”. 

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At the launch event held at the Ong Tiong Tat and Irene Tan Liang Kheng Auditorium, Mr Tan shared while working on the book and exhibition launch over the past few months, he learnt a lot and came face-to-face with the stories of people who withstood hardship.

"I often wonder in the past why my uncle, Mr Ong Tiong Tat, and my auntie, Madam Tan gave. Now that I have seen the faces of those who they have helped, I couldn't walk away. I simply couldn't. Thanks to uncle and auntie, I have grown more aware and sensitive to the needs of others," he added. 

He also thanked LKCMedicine for organising the launch and introduced three professors who have benefited from the donations – including LKCMedicine Professor of Metabolic Medicine Bernard Boehm, who is also the Ong Tiong Tat Chair Professor in Diabetic Research. 

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During the launch, students from CHIJ Secondary (Toa Payoh) did a poem recital, while HCI students performed Wushu, also known as Chinese martial arts. There was also a sharing session of how a team of Singaporeans from NTU and NIE overcame challenges to reach the summit of Mount Everest, the world’s highest mountain. 

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A Presentation of Token of Appreciation was also held and given to institutions – including LKCMedicine – that contributed to the book and exhibition launch. Mr Tan presented the Token of Appreciation to LKCMedicine Chief Operating Officer Mr Chan Wei Chuen.

The event ended with a lunch reception. 

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