Mall explosion: Deceased’s father overwhelmed by outpouring of public support for his family

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Dec 7: Tchee Fah Hin, father of Kiam Jong — one of the three who died in the CityOne Megamall explosion on Tuesday, today thanked kind Sarawakians of all races and faiths for coming forward to help him and his family in the wake of the tragedy.

“I am very proud to be a Sarawakian. We should all be proud to be Sarawakians. Many people, including organisations, regardless of races and religions have come and helped me and my family in this difficult times,” he told reporters in his run-down house.

The 66-year-old was deeply moved and overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from the public in the last few days.

“I am grateful and want to take this opportunity to thank all Sarawakians because without them I wouldn’t have received so much support and contributions in cash and in kind,” he added.

Tchee shared that at least 500 people, especially from the Malay and Bumiputera communities, had come to his house in Kampung Stutong Baru here.

Rita Lopez (centre) and Maureen Ben, representing SMB St Teresa Class of 1981 alumni, present donations to Tchee.

“We must love and safeguard Sarawak. I am saying this not because I’ve received donations but I have now seen and experienced for myself the kindness of Sarawakians who stepped up to help me,” he commended.

Living in an extremely poor environment, Tchee’s current wooden shack is in a deplorable state with uneven and unstable floors, missing wall panels and windows, and everything seems to be scattered all over the house.

In fact, it would not be wrong to say that his house is unfit for human occupation, more so with him having mobility impairments.

The wooden shack with overgrown plants and no proper driveway is where Tchee has been living for the past 25 years.

When asked if he had appealed for assistance to rebuild the house where he has lived for 25 years, Tchee revealed that he had recently spoken to certain people about applying for a low-cost house.

“I’ve spoken to some parties who visited me about applying for low-cost housing. Initially, I was thinking of getting help to rebuild this house, but the land does not belong to me. It is my brother’s,” he revealed.

The grandfather of one is now living with his second son, while his eldest son, who is married, lives with his in-laws. Tchee’s wife died four years ago.

Despite suffering in silence, Tchee, however, puts on a strong resolve to remain positive and optimistic while keeping an open heart to accept the reality and loss from the tragedy.

“I have to accept because it is an accident and no one should be blamed. I have to be all right so my two other children will not have to go through more troubles to take care of me as they have to manage the funeral.

“But of course, the outpouring of support from many people have helped in a way to divert my negative thinking and pain. That is why I am grateful and thankful,” he concluded. — DayakDaily