WHEN sailor Bernie Chin was awarded a $50,000 sports scholarship for winning a historic gold at the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Nanjing in August, the 15-year-old was unsure how exactly he would use the money to further his sporting pursuits.
One thing he was certain of, however, was that he wanted to use a portion of the sum awarded to help the less fortunate.
The Raffles Institution student did that yesterday, taking $5,000 out of the scholarship to give to The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund (SPMF).
Given that his scholarship, sponsored by NTUC FairPrice Foundation, was awarded for the purposes of school or tuition fees, equipment, or other training-related costs, his generosity is striking. But Bernie said he knew from the start he wanted to do good with the money he received.
Said the YOG Byte CII champion: “Growing up, my parents taught me that to be able to give is a blessing. I have friends who have benefited from this fund, so I’ve always wanted to be able to give to it.”
The SPMF helps provide pocket money to children from low-income families to help them through school.
ST’s editor at large Han Fook Kwang, who is also chairman of SPMF and received a cheque in person from Bernie, lauded the sailor for his act of giving.
He said: “We get donations from big organisations and grown-ups, but to have a student helping other students, it’s wonderful.”
Singapore National Olympic Council athletes’ commission chairman Yip Ren Kai, who was also present at the cheque presentation yesterday, hopes that Bernie’s move will help spur other athletes to give back to society.
Said the former national water polo player: “Bernie has really exemplified what we’re looking for in our athletes – to be a champion in and out of the sporting arena.
“What he did will go a long way in giving back to the community and hopefully this will also inspire more to come forward.”
Giving back to the community is also something retired Singapore striker Aleksandar Duric can relate to.
He is donating three pairs of brand new Nike football boots, specially embroidered with his name, his jersey number, the Singapore flag and the date of his last match played last Saturday, to help raise funds for the SPMF.
The first three to donate $1,000 or more will receive a pair of the boots. Each donor is entitled to only one pair.
Said Duric: “I may have retired from football but I will never stop helping people. Football didn’t make me rich but that doesn’t mean I cannot help others.
“I’ve been part of The Straits Times (as a columnist) for so long and the SPMF is a worthy cause. I hope that by giving these boots, I can still contribute to a good cause even though I had played my last game. And I’m looking forward to help SPMF in the near future.”
To indicate interest in donating to SPMF, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 6319-2121.
Additional reporting by Wang Meng Meng
The Straits Times, page C22, October 22nd, 2014 by May Chen, The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited