Singapore

Making a difference: Pilot cooks for the terminally ill

We profile six everyday heroes who have made a difference in the lives of strangers. Their heartwarming deeds are celebrated in the ongoing Good Man Good Deeds Good Rice campaign, a collaboration between Chinese evening daily Lianhe Wanbao and Tong Seng Produce, which will donate 500kg of its SongHe rice and 60 litres of canola oil each to charities of their choice.

For pilot Aldous Lee, heading home is not always the priority after a long flight. Instead, he goes to the market to buy enough meat and seafood to feed 120 people.

The 47-year-old is a regular volunteer at HCA Hospice Care. He shows up every Tuesday and Friday morning with 10 other volunteers to prepare meals for 120 terminally ill patients. He splits the cost of these meals with another volunteer.

His menu boasts expensive ingredients such as prawns, scallops, cockles and fish slices, and they can cost up to $500.

Mr Lee takes these meals seriously as it might be the last meal for some of these patients.

He said: "I cook for them things I would like to eat. I want to let them enjoy good food so they don't feel like patients."

He added that pilots are paid well but many spend big as well.

"Some people can spend over $400 on one meal but that amount can feed so many people. It will be good to help people with this money."

Mr Lee starts marinating meat a day before the meal, and on days of the meal, he can spend up to four hours in the kitchen.

He said: "It is easy to give money but difficult to give time. We give these patients time in the hope that they feel our sincerity."

Mr Lee sometimes also cooks curry chicken for the patients at home and brings it over to the hospice in his car, despite the lingering smell.

He said: "I enjoy cooking so why not use that to give joy to 120 people?"

His kindness extends beyond cooking. He forks out money for funerals for patients who die alone.

He said: "They have no families so the least we can do is to help them with their last journey and let them know that there are still people who care."

Mr Lee is planning to start visiting the homes of terminally ill patients. He hopes to encourage more to step forward as volunteers.

He said: "Sleeping at home takes up a day, helping others also takes up day. Why not do something meaningful then?"

Mr Lee's chosen charity is Care Corner Senior Services. Set up in 1981, Care Corner helps more than 50,000 people of all ages annually. There are six senior activity centres under Care Corner islandwide that provide services for the elderly.

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Pilot cooks for the terminally ill

 

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