It was a role that touched Dave Tan Yeng Chai deeply and one which he hopes will spur Malaysians to do good at all times.
In Kisah Benar Ong Kim Koon, Hero Malaysia – The Amazing Malaysian Heroes, Tan stars as Ong, a 52-year-old doting father and grandfather who helped save an injured couple trapped in their mangled car after an accident on the Middle Ring Road 2, near Tesco Ampang, Selangor, on April 11, 2011.
Ong, however, was knocked down by another vehicle during his heroic effort.
His right leg was crushed and had to be amputated the same day. Ong’s broken left leg became infected but doctors postponed the amputation as he was too weak.
He succumbed to his injuries 11 days later without knowing the couple he saved – Zainal Md Yusoff, then 45, and his wife Rosamiah Hashim, then 38 – had survived.
A 47-year-old salesman was subsequently charged and fined RM5,000 by the Ampang magistrate’s court after he pleaded guilty to reckless driving.
“This is my first time taking on a role based on a true story and I am honoured to be part of this film,” Tan, 53, said.
“It’s not easy to come across people who go out of their way to help others these days,” said Tan who was able to relate to Ong better after meeting Ong’s wife Lau Chooi Lin, 58, and son Vincent, 34.
Vincent, who was touched with the production of the film, said he was glad there were those who wanted to document his father’s story.
“My family and I are moved that my father is still remembered. I would like to thank the people behind the making of this film.”
Vincent, who also appears in the film, said his family was not rich but Ong was always insistent it was important to help those in need.
“He used to tell us he was ‘satisfied and happy’ when he could help another person.”
“As a young boy, I saw how my father helped others despite not having enough money for himself. Whenever a poor man came up to us asking for money, my dad would buy him food. He would not chase them away like what others may do.”
Vincent said his two daughters – Ong Yi Qing, 10, and Ong Yi Heng, 12, were very close to their grandfather and aged only three and five when Ong died.
“It has been seven years. My kids were too young to understand why their grandfather did what he did, but I continue to remind them of his deeds over the years.
The movie is a collaboration among Astro Gempak, Directors Think Tank and Professional Storytellers.
Directors Think Tank’s Tan Wei Peow shares his views about the film
“I was moved to work on the film upon learning the driver of the vehicle which hit Ong got a light sentence. I had to do the film not only for Malaysians to learn about Ong’s sacrifice but also for his family.
During the accident scene, I constantly reminded Dave that he had to get into his character. It was an emotional scene to shoot for me.
After working on this film, I feel we truly need more heroes. We can all play our part by doing little things such as not littering to make Malaysia a better place for all.”