Sunday, August 22, 2010

Singapore's richest give & don't tell

Extract from The Sunday Times
August 22 2010, Sunday

Do not expect Singapore's tycoons to make a hue and cry about their philanthropy like the high-profile and very public move by 40 American billionaires recently.

When it comes to giving out money, who they give to and even why they give,these multi-millionaires and billionaires prefer to keep it quiet.

The few who did open up to The Sunday Times cited education, health care, the elderly and the arts as some of their pet causes.

Their charity stems from influences like having a father who valued education, to growing up poor.

Former remisier king Peter Lim, ranked eighth with an estimated net worth of US$1.6 billion, is also a big supporter of education.

He made headlinesthis year when he pledged $10 million to the Singapore Olympic Foundation for sports scholarships, especially for students from poor families who find it hard to excel in sports without the money.

'As someone who comes from a humble background, I know what it's like to study and work at the same time to achieve one's dreams,' he said.

The publicity-shy son of a fishmonger had worked as a cabby, a cook and a waiter to fund his university studies.

Mr Peter Lim has also committed tofund, for several years, scholarships for bright and needy students at Raffles Institution and St Joseph's Institution International, as well as financial aid for students at NorthLight School and Assumption Pathway School.

Among the wealthy who also volunteer is Mr Peter Lim. He supports an annual project known as Operation Redshirt, to distribute foodstuff to the elderly poor during Chinese New Year.

'He'll carry the provisions himself. He picks up the trash and cleans up after events,' said Sister Marjorie Almodiel, centre manager for Apex Day Rehabilitation Centre for Elderly in Bukit Merah, who helps identify beneficiaries.

'I find him a very unusual rich man.'

Peter Lim, private investor

Net worth: US$1.6 billion

Causes: The elderly and education, including $10 million for sports scholarships

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