Our story begins with a pint of stout, and a plate Char Kway Teow at Zion Road Hawker Centre.
Two like-minded men, years apart, became best friends when Ong Tiong Tat suggested that they share a meal after he noticed that Koh Choon Joo was dining alone. Koh and Ong developed a unique bond over food, stout and soccer.
When Koh, the senior of the two fell ill, his friend never left his side. Ong moved in with Koh and tirelessly took good care of his health, finances, and philanthropy giving till his passing. He was a true son to Koh who had no children.
Ong subsequently inherited Koh’s estate and furthered Koh’s philanthropy works in Singapore Teacher and Legal Education. Koh was in the legal profession and served as a magistrate in an honorary capacity at the Singapore Juvenile Court.
Ong’s faithfulness to Koh caught the heart of Irene Tan who handled Koh’s trading account at the bank. As she visited Koh’s home regularly for work, and she was drawn to the Ong’s loyalty to his friend.
When the couple eventually tied the knot, they were inseparable. The couple donated generously in their lifetime. They contributed to various programmes, scholarships, professorships in local schools and higher education.
When Ong passed on in 2011, Tan honored her late husband and pressed on in charity giving and community works while battling cancer. She also contributed to healthcare research. She lived her last few years with great purpose and vigor.