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Sian Chay Appreciation Dinner Speech by Chairman Toh Soon Huat

17 Dec 2016

Sian Chay Appreciation Dinner

——by Chairman Mr. Toh Soon Huat

Good evening, our honourable Minister Mr. Ng Chee Meng, Senior Minister of State (PMO) Mr. Heng Chee How, Mr. Yeo Guat Kwang, ladies and gentlemen.

Thank you for your kind attendance at the Sian Chay Appreciation Gala Dinner today.

I wish to express my appreciation to Mr Johnny Ong, Charity Ambassador of Sian Chay for support and encouragement for the organisation of tonight’s dinner as well as his kindness and loving heart.

Sian Chay was established over a hundred years ago. I joined Sian Chay in 2006 after repeated invitations by my friend, Mr. Teo Kim Chuan. At that time, Sian Chay has only 4 staff, 2 frontline staff and 2 physicians, with a daily average of 20 patients. It was facing financial and operational difficulties which posed real challenges on me then.

After thoroughly reviewing the different aspects of Sian Chay, we decided to change our model of operation to meet the new trend . In 2012, with the help of MP Mr. Yeo Guat Kwang, the first branch of Sian Chay was opened at Blk 603 Hougang Ave 4 to serve the residents. With our continuous efforts and public support, Sian Chay has now opened a total of 12 branches with 114 staff; 81 full time and 33 part time . The total monthly staff payroll is $180,000; with an annual payroll of $2.3 million. The average number of patients’ visits is around 1,000 monthly. Dividing the monthly salary by the number of patients, the cost per patient visit is $7, which does not include medication subsidy. If medical subsidy is included, it’s about $11 for each patient’s visit.

There are 4 wellness centres under Sian Chay, located at Sengkang South, Boon Lay, Marsiling and Yio Chu Kang, providing wellness activities to more than 10,000 residents annually. Sian Chay 535 Geylang branch, which provides specialised tumour treatment, now serves more than 100 cancer patients and with wellness program after their chemotherapy.

It is projected that the patient visit in 2016 will increase to 345,000 with about 700,000 dosages of prescriptions, operating with an annual budget of $5 million. In second quarter of 2017 , 3 new branches will be opened: Punggol North, Moulmein and Gambas, which will bring the total number of branches to 15. By next year end, the patient visits will increase to 500,000, with 1 million dosages of prescription at the budget of $6 million.

Currently, the subsidy per patient is around $11. The low subsidy needed is because we received support from both generous sponsors and government. And we adopt a lean management structure for cost saving. Our directors like myself are all volunteers serving without payment or reimbursement since 2008. This also lighten the financial burden on Sian Chay.

Quite a few friends asked me why I declined any payment; why I opened so many branches; why I publicised widely in newspapers, why I was so concerned with reputation. It was those lack of awareness that lead to misunderstanding. Just like old saying, high above the cloud makes me chill, sharing chillness with you is my will. With you in my deep heart, even chillness becomes warmness.

From 2013 to 2016, with the public support  Sian Chay raised about $21 million. The renovation cost of 12 branches and 4 wellness centres was about $1.6 million. Meanwhile, the operation branch operation costs, staff payroll and fund-raising cost amounted to $9 million. Sian Chay served 535,000 patients in total, including 111,000 for tuina therapy, and 1.23 million dosages of prescription. The total number of patient served todate is about 150,000.

My elder sister is a TCM physician. One day she came to me, saying she wanted to be a volunteer at Sian Chay. I told her, “You are my sister. To avoid gossip, better not.” She said, ”You are just and honorable. What are you worried about? You shouldn’t be so picky on your sister.” At last, my sister advised me to be careful. She heard rumors saying that I must have earned a lot through these years of fund-raising. Just a couple of days ago, a friend of mine told me that rumors saying that my years at Sian Chay must have been on the take. This friend is now seated here as well. I would say, the benefit is even more than that. The biggest benefit is that patients getting well and living a happy life!

I won’t explain about myself. I believe that the best way to respect philanthropy is a respectful mission, manner, attitude and behavior. With recognition and support from patients and the public, Sian Chay rapidly opened its branches in HDB estates to help the seniors to get convenient treatment and free from tedious transportation. Meanwhile, help them get care, concern and love and to enjoy a blissful and happy life.

This appreciation dinner is to show our gratitude for the support from all our sponsors, volunteers, government departments, grassroots organisations and all benevolent individuals. I hereby thank CCC, Pei Hwa Foundation, Trans-Cab to provide resources to serve the public.

I would like to specially thank 2 corporations that donated their corporate shares to support Sian Chay’s philanthropy. One is Mr. James Tan, CEO and Chairman of Moxian Inc, who personally donated Moxian shares valued at $1,148,000 to Sian Chay . Moxian Group was successfully listed on Nasdaq last month. Its business is about social marketing and promotion. The other person is Mdm. Song Fanrong, CEO of Friedrich Frobel Holding, personally donated Frobel shares valued at $1 million to Sian Chay. Frobel is an international preschool organization based in Singapore, with 11 preschools island-wide. I would specially thank my friend, Jasmine. Once, she said to me, ” Mr. Toh, you are doing a lot of hard work. Though my capability is limited, I will introduce friends to support you.” I wish to thank her for introducing a benevolent person Mr. ISP to me. He has never visited Sian Chay before. But after a few meetings, this anonymous kind person donated $350,000 to support the construction and set up of Moulmein-Cairnhill branch.

From December 2013 to March 2016, Sian Chay received $2.9 million matching grant from the $500 million “Care and Share Fund” from government as part of the Golden Jubilee celebrations. From 2014 to 2016, Sian Chay received donation of $2 million from Lee Foundation to establish the “Pioneer Generation Medical Fund” to benefit 200,000 Pioneer Generation citizens. $1.05 million were raised on “Love from the Stars Charity Show & Dinner”. The Lim Family, Mr. Lim Oon Cheng and Mr. Lim Oon Kuin donated $1 million. Two years ago, “San Huang Wu Di” pledged to donate $1 million, of which half has been received already. “Benevolent person Mr. Toh” donated $500,000. I sincerely appreciate their kindness and support to Sian Chay.

At the same time, this appreciation dinner was strongly supported by entrepreneurs and generous individuals. $100,000 from Charles & Keith, and $50,000 from No Signboard Seafood. Mr. Foo of Qianxi Group sponsored all 70 dinner tables tonight. The stage lighting was supported by Unusual Entertainment. Design 18 sponsored stage decoration. Thank you, Keith. For the past four years, all grand openings and fund-raising events of Sian Chay were fully sponsored by him. 92 years old Calligrapher Mr. Xu donated 20 pieces of his works for silent auction. Not to mention a lot of other gifts from benevolent individuals.

“All things in the world are finally impermanence. There is no need to trouble ourselves as there is nothing worthy worrying about.” We came to the world with nothing and we will leave with nothing. It’s a sense of social responsibility to return to the society and to help the poor with part of the fortune we have earned. Life is never easy and usually unpredictable. No one will know what will happen tomorrow. We shall live with a bit more wisdom, compassion, universal love, devotion and good cause. No need to worry about next generation’s future as they have their own fate. Mr. Yu Pengnian donated all his fortune before he passed away and said that his descendents do not need his money if they are virtuous and that it will be useless to leave fortune to unvirtuous descendents, no matter how much.

Sian Chay hopes that residents not only receive treatments at our branches, but take part in wellness activities to maintain their health in wellness centres as well. Residents get to know each other and communication and become friends, in the long run, to establish mutual help between neighbours and live a blissful and harmonious life.

Based on the original mission and cultural basis “for a selfless world, for a world for public”, Sian Chay added in 5 core values which are Forgiveness, Universal Love, Compassion, Gratitude and Blessing. Sian Chay’s commitment to provide support to the nation building and social harmony. Sian Chay actively promotes the concept ” Nation Progresses, Family Prospers. Family Harmony, Successful Endeavour.  Forward with the Nation and Bonding with the People” to achieve a better society. It is an important way to return to the society to actively participate in the charity events organised by civic and community organisations, associations and community centres.

A successful man is not evaluated by how much he has earned, or how much power he gained, or how high his title is. It is rather evaluated by how much he did for the society, how many people has been benefited with his help and how many people obtained happiness because of him.

Charity is a true love. It is sincere, compassion, gratitude, light, priceless. It is a connotation, a moving, a learning, a self-cultivation. It is a power to enrich life, reflecting the value of life.

Charity needs dedication, more and more.

Charity needs compassion, more and more.

The broader your mind is, the wide the stage is.

To be grateful for existence, value, connotation and meaning of live. The present moment is forgiveness, compassion, universal love, gratitude, devotion, contribution, commitment and responsibility.

Sharing happiness is better than keeping it to oneself. Universal happiness is better than just sharing. Contentment brings happiness. Being content with yourself brings happiness to others around.

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