It is what drove Mr Lim Hang Chung to set up a free TCM clinic 12 years ago, and to start an initiative that funds and organises the funerals of those in need.

Mr Lim Hang Chung is the winner of the President’s Award for Volunteerism and/or Philanthropy (Senior) 2016

In 2004, Mr Lim Hang Chung started a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) clinic at Arumugam Road to offer free treatment for the public, regardless of race or religion.

Since then, it has grown into the Cheng Hong Welfare Service Society (CHWSS), which comprises one TCM centre and six TCM clinics. Consultations, acupuncture treatments and medication are still free – made possible through collaborations with partners that provide manpower (TCM physicians and pharmacy assistants) and medication.

Today, CHWSS also provides financial assistance to those in need and befriending support to the elderly at homes for seniors. Every weekend, Mr Lim and his staff distribute meals preparedby Willing Hearts Kitchen to nearly 200 seniors living in Chinatown.

Mr Lim, who is in his late 70s, was previously also the vice-chairman of voluntary welfare organisation Loving Heart Multi-Service Centre (2000–2011) and Cheng Hong Siang Tng (1985–2004), a Chinese temple. He still serves as an advisor for the latter

Bringing peace to the dead

In 2012, Mr Lim started a pro bono initiative called Afterlife Memorial Service (AMS), which pays for and sees to the funeral arrangements of those in need. To date, it has funded the funerals of more than 77 people aged 49 to 77.

A conversation with an elderly bachelor who had no kin and was on a public assistance scheme spurred Mr Lim to start AMS. The man had told Mr Lim that he was despondent at the thought of his own passing, knowing that he would have little money to leave behind to pay for his funeral.

His story tugged at Mr Lim’s heart, who promised to see to the man’s funeral arrangements when the time comes.

Mr Lim did even more. He gives the man some money every month to help improve his plight.

When the man was hospitalised, Mr Lim visited every day with his favourite food. That led to the man telling Mr Lim he was his only kin, words that moved Mr Lim profoundly.