On Vesak day, MyQueenstown team visited Mr Toh who is an active volunteer in Tiong Ghee Temple. Mr Toh, despite being at a retirement age of 64 years old, still fervently believes in active learning and volunteerism. He owns a construction based business which he proudly acclaims to have brought up his 3 sons with.
Tiong Ghee Temple in Stirling Road
As a maintenance officer, Mr Toh helps out with the coordination of various projects such as arranging Chinese Opera shows, and also the sending of invitations to residents on festive dates. In his 37 years of volunteering in Tiong Ghee temple, Mr Toh was also involved in many of the temple’s event management and decision making processes. Some of the beautifully crafted altars and doorways were even painstakingly designed and built by him.
At 8.00am in the morning, Mr Toh started helping out in the preparation of arranging the various incenses and worship items in view of the large number of visitors that day. He explained that there would normally be around 3-4 people maintaining the premises, which includes both paid-staff and volunteers.
Thousands of Lanterns lighted up during Vesak Day
At 12.00 pm, Mr Toh oversees the cooking of lunch by one of the volunteers. Over lunch, we asked Mr Toh the reason behind actively volunteering for thirty over years. He explained his belief in the accumulation of merits through good deeds, and the derivation of happiness through helping people. He believes that all religions are inherently good; it is only that man tends to stray from the true teachings of a religion.
Mr Toh recalled upgrading projects of the temple in the past, from which he had faced numerous setbacks. As a pragmatic person by virtue of his work, he dislikes last minute opinions or changes to his construction projects. He thinks that any wastage to resources and the inconvenience brought to others could be minimized when instructions are made clear by the upper management, in any organization or projects.
Mr Toh and his friend, Mr Ang
At 4.00pm, Mr Toh had his last snippet of talk with his decade old friend Mr Ang before driving to his house in Bukit Panjang for his well-deserved rest. Mr Toh discussed the issue on self-inflicted stress, common to many Singaporeans today. ‘With responsibility, comes stress’, as quoted from him. With the increasingly hectic lifestyles of Singaporeans today, one must definitely not forget to sooth the mind, the soul, and the body.
Mr Ang leaves the temple
Lanterns in the temple dimmed as dusk approaches