Tan Hin Toe’s lasting act of love, a gift of sight for others

“Are you happy?”

Those were the three words Tan Hin Toe used to ask his children Karen, Sheena, and Randy, each time he spoke to them.

Tan, who passed away from liver failure on March 3, two months after his 83rd birthday on Jan 1, always lived to make other people happy.

Following his death, his family thought of ways to honour the memory of the loving husband and father.

His wife, Linda Chee Bee Neo, then hit on the idea to donate RM10,000 collected from his wake to the Gift of Sight project, which helps low-income individuals in need of eye surgery.

Tan and Linda, long-term patients of Dr M. Narendran, a consultant ophthalmologist and vitreoretinal surgeon at Bukit Tinggi Medical Centre, knew he was involved in the Gift of Sight project with Rotary Klang Central and thought it would be the perfect way to give back to society.

“My husband was a kind man who always put others first,” said Chee, who turns 80 on April 19.

“Because he was born on Jan 1, his family said he was lucky, and he was ‘happy’, as his birthday was always a holiday.

“That is why he made it his motto in life to make those he met happy.”

She added that every time he met someone – strangers, friends, or family members – he would ask them if they were happy, or if they needed help, and what he could do to lend them a helping hand.

“He would always ask anyone he meets, especially our three children, ‘Are you happy’? He put their happiness above all else,” she said.

“So, although he is not here physically, his spirit lives on in this donation. He would approve of this, as the gift of sight will make many people happy.

“Dr Narendran has looked after us for 12 years, and this is the least we can do to make others happy.”

Sheena, who accompanied her mother to the cheque presentation ceremony at Bukit Tinggi Medical Centre yesterday, remarked that her father always wanted the best for those around him.

“Dad was an engineer with Tenaga Nasional Berhad for 35 years until retirement. He worked hard but always had time for his children,” said Sheena.

“I am sure he will be happy and proud, knowing that this donation will give the gift of sight to those in need.”

This is the third year that Bukit Tinggi Medical Centre has partnered with Rotary Klang Central in the Gift of Sight programme, although the latter has been doing it for four years.

In the first year of their collaboration, they helped 30 patients, while last year, it was 40. This year, the target is to help 50 people, with 35 already receiving treatment.

Dr Narendran, who is also a columnist with Twentytwo13, said he was touched by the generosity shown by Tan’s family.

This programme has been going on for three years. It is a success because of the team effort – from Rotary, which does the community outreach programme, to the hospital, and the support of senior management,” said Dr Narendran.

“I would also like to thank my staff, who have been extremely supportive, and who always go above and beyond, to get things done.

“I have known Tan for 12 years. He has always been a loving man. I can feel his love through this donation. Thank you,” he added.

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