The idea for a KSK fund raising dinner in Penang came from KH member Patsy Gooi, who is the sister of KSK Head of Fundraising, Liaison Ruby Khong. It was appropriate to have a fund raiser in Penang because it was there that H.E. Tsem Tulku Rinpoche had first mentioned that it would be a good idea to have a mobile soup kitchen when he saw some homeless people in the streets. Rinpoche has been feeding the homeless for many years on his own accord, having suffered from homelessness and hunger as a teenager. In 2006, some of Rinpoche’s students decided to distribute a few packets of food to the homeless in KL and from then, Kechara Soup Kitchen was born. KSK wishes to purchase or rent a building in the centre of KL as permanent premises for a soup kitchen so that hot food can be served on a daily basis. In order to achieve this dream, funds need to be raised.
On 24 August 2008, the KSK fund raising dinner event at G Hotel, Penang, began with cocktails at 7pm. Guests consisting of Penang’s most charitable ladies and gentlemen, established corporate figures, high society ladies from KL and friends of Ruby and Patsy came glamorously dressed up to the nines. Kechara Media & Publications had a small table displaying the coffee table book, ‘If not now, when?’, where 30% of sales would be contributed to KSK. We sold three books only but better than nothing.
After a screening of KSK’s short presentation, Ruby Khong gave a short welcome speech. As she recited Shantideva’s dedicational prayer, which is always recited before KSK food distribution, the hall fell silent in respect for this inspirational prayer.
Dressed immaculately in a stunning Eric Choong creation, Celebrity TV host, Xandria Ooi, was the MC for the evening, and gave a brief history of KSK to the rapt audience.
Dinner was then served and the evening’s entertainment began with a dance performance by the Flower Girls, consisting of my mum, aunt, grandma and cousin. This was followed by a couple of songs from the guest of honour, YB Datuk Dr. Victor Wee, Economic Advisor to the Ministry of Finance. He played the guitar and gave a wonderful rendition of ‘Vincent’ and ‘Jambalaya’. He was followed by another guest of honour, the blogger turned politician, YB Tuan Jeff Ooi, MP for Jelutong, who sang a Malay and then a Mandarin song.
Other performers included a group of high society ladies, led by Datin Maylene, who were friends of KSK Hon. Treasurer, Julia Tan. They had come from KL especially to attend and perform at the event.The ladies sang solos, duets and gave a group performance. Datin Irene and Datin Maylene were even sponsored RM1000 to sing another song.
The musical talents of Patsy and Soon Lee’s son, Gavin, were showcased as he performed his own composition on a keyboard. Our very own singing superstar, James Long presented two songs – ‘You Raise Me Up’ and ‘Sway’. James was then sponsored to give an encore for RM5000!
Although it was a Sunday night and the program ended late, the guests were all extremely happy with the evening. One gentleman, the husband of the lady who sponsored James’ encore, even pledged RM50,000 if KSK was to start up in Penang. Rinpoche was very happy to hear this and hopes that one day KSK will manifest in Penang and anywhere else so that people will never go hungry.