CM’s wife advocates for inclusivity and understanding at charity event

whatsapp image 2024 05 15 at 16.14.18 Tan (third from right), together with (from right) Woo, Dr Sim, Dr Kelvin and Yen Ching taking part in the charity car washing initiative by throwing water onto a car.

IN collaboration with three non-governmental organisations (NGOs), Penang Down Syndrome Association (PDSA) successfully hosted its Charity Fun Car Wash at its premises in Pulau Tikus today.


The charity initiative, involving the participation of more than 20 individuals with autism and Down syndrome, will continue to take place for the second day tomorrow.


Tan Lean Kee, wife of Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, said the event is not only aimed at raising funds but also raising awareness and promoting inclusivity and understanding within our community.


“This car wash serves as a testament to our collective responsibility to create inclusive spaces that foster growth, acceptance, and belonging for everyone.


“Moreover, beyond the confines of this event, it is imperative that our broader community cultivates a mindset of empathy and understanding. By empathising with the challenges faced by individuals with special needs and their families, we pave the way for genuine inclusion and meaningful participation in community life.


“Together, let us celebrate diversity, promote inclusivity, and continue advocating for a society where every individual, regardless of their abilities, is embraced and supported wholeheartedly,” Tan said during her speech.


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Some of the participants doing the bit for charity.


She also praised the organising committee, parents, dedicated volunteers and compassionate special needs educators for contributing their efforts in ensuring the success of the event.


The event was made possible through the support of Waxwings Care Centre, LemmeLearn Empowerment Centre, and Passion Hub.


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Dr Sim says with the right support, individuals with special needs can express themselves, develop their talents and live comfortably.


PDSA adviser Dr Sim Joo Seng emphasised the objectives of this event were to raise awareness about the existence of these special individuals and also about the NGOs supporting them.


“Research findings in Malaysia (2023) stated that 1 in 36 individuals is born having Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Our society knows the existence of these special individuals but they are not aware enough to know that these individuals also live among us.


“For example, if they see these individuals at the supermarket or at work throwing tantrums or experiencing anxiety, they may not know how to handle the situation properly because they assume it is just typical behaviour.


“Therefore, our duties here are to educate the public about the fact that, with the right support, these people can express themselves, develop their talents, and live comfortably,” he said.


The participants underwent a three-day training programme to learn car washing techniques, ranging from children aged six to a 37-year-old adult.


Today’s event saw the participants enthusiastically engaging in car washing with joy.


There will be two sessions, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, and 27 vehicles have already reserved spots for the full two days.


The teenagers are scheduled for the morning session, followed by the younger ones in the afternoon.


Others present to show support included Pulau Tikus assemblyman Joshua Woo Sze Zeng, PSDA chairman Gonk Yen Ching, Lemme Learn Empowerment Centre founder Eileen Soon, The Passion Hub founder Yunice Ong Ee Lan and co-founder Dr Kelvin Lee Yuen San.


Story by Nurul Hawa Farahin Hameddy

Pix by Law Suun Ting