DOING charity work for homeless and indigenous people brings 42-year-old Richard Wong (pix) much joy.
He enjoys it so much that he continues the good work despite being busy with college and running a business.
In sharing his inspiration, Wong said his foray into charity was due to his own experience of “living small” in Australia when he was pursuing his degree.
“When I was in Australia, I lived with inadequate resources. I could only live in a small room and often at times, I needed to save money as well ... I was like a ‘bum’ there.
“Since then, I was determined to help people in need,” said Wong.
Wong co-founded a group called Food for Gelandangan (FFG), which was mooted in 2015, taking the cue from flood relief missions during the 2014-2015 Malaysian floods.
The core team of FFG are friends from the Old Putera Association, an association of former Royal Military College alumni and family members. To date, the number of FFG members is close to 70.
“Initially, we provided (homeless people) hot meals, but it proved to be impractical as the food would last at most a day. It was then that we changed our provisions to dry food such as biscuits, fruits and so on,” he said, adding that FFG has expanded its scope over time to other forms of assistance such as clothes and medical care. FFG also provides assistance to the orang asli community.
“We help the orang asli living in the interior of Hulu Perak, some of whom are illiterate.
“We often make changes and improvements to the assistance provided from time to time and the impact on the homeless is visible.
“We are glad that our fortnightly programmes have truly helped them,” he added.
Wong said his aim is to learn as many things as possible so he can utilise the skills for charity and to solve issues plaguing the community.
“I studied electrical and computer engineering in Australia and have just finished studying law in London. Now, I plan to study medicine.
“I’m not learning all this to be a doctor, lawyer or engineer, but I want to gain as much knowledge as I can from a wide range of professions, as well as to improve myself and my thinking in order to be a good strategist in solving community problems and improving the standard of living of Malaysian society.”
Selected as a recipient of the My Hero 3.0 Award, Wong was also named the “Ambassador of Unity”.
He received a cash prize of RM5,000, a trophy and certificate of appreciation, which was presented by the prime minister’s wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali.