Madam Lim Song Kie remembers clearly that her husband wanted to give away some of the wealth that he created from his hard work and enterprise, but did not manage to do so before he passed away in 2003. “Before he left, he told me to look after myself well, and make plans to help others in need. Before this, we helped many relatives back home in Indonesia,” she said.
She is now honouring his wish to help people in need by establishing a bursary in their name at the National University of Singapore (NUS). The Ong Sin Seng and Lim Song Kie Bursary, set up by Madam Lim, will be awarded to financially needy undergraduate students enrolled in any course of study at the University. “I felt it was important to help the community here in Singapore,” says Mdm Lim, who, together with Mr Ong, had previously helped numerous friends and relatives in Indonesia by providing them with funds for housing, medical expenses and education, and continues to do so today.
Born in Jakarta, Mr Ong was a bank accountant before starting a construction business in Indonesia. He moved his family to Singapore in the early 80s and invested in precision manufacturing here. His company, First Engineering Ltd, did so well, that at one point, it accounted for 25 percent of the world’s output for high-precision computer components for big name customers in the computing business arena. “Even when he fell sick, he continued to toil for the company and hardly rested,” shares Mdm Lim, who recalls how her husband took good care of the family while she supported him at home.
Mr Ong was someone who recognised the value of education. So, when Mr Larry Koh, a long-standing family friend, suggested to Mdm Lim that she set up a bursary at NUS, she felt it was a good idea. A Knight Frank property adviser, Mr Koh had established the Kathleen Koh Seok Hoon Scholarship at NUS named for his late sister and was touched by the impact of his gift.
Asked if Mdm Lim had a message for the recipients of the Bursary, she encouraged them to pay it forward. “I just hope they help others when they can.”
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