SINGAPORE: A lecturer in Singapore sold his retirement home in Malaysia to help six foreign students continue their studies in Australia.
Frankie Yee, 56, said he got acquainted with the six two years ago when they arrived at the republic from Uzbekistan to study.
Yee personally witnessed their hardships where they would work an average of 10 to 12 hours daily and 18 hours on the weekends.
“At times, they had to make do with only one meal a day, just so they could save enough money to pay for their school fees,” he said, adding that they also had to send money home to support their families.
Yee said he was informed by one of the students in January that he plans to further his education either in Germany, Latavia or Italy.
The three countries, he said, offered them the best chance of getting a full scholarship.
“After considering the options, I suggested that Australia would be a better choice, and the remaining five boys agreed to join him there,” he added, noting that he decided to help raise funds to support them in their studies.
Recalling the hardship through a post on his Facebook, Yee said he spent nights writing to many companies and asking contacts if they could help to contribute whatever amount they could.
“I contacted many ex-students, friends and relatives. I knew it was difficult, but I was not willing to give up,” he said, adding that if he gave up, it would mean the six, who left their country with US$1,000 in hand, would have no chance to have a better life.
Describing himself as brazen for asking money from people, Yee’s efforts were however met with rejection.
“What hurt most was the rejection from some whom I had helped years ago and who had gone on to become successful,” he said, adding he thought they would be generous enough to collectively help support the boys, whom Yee lovingly called them “my six boys”.
In the end, none of them stepped up and Yee had to put up with many snide and rude remarks such as accusing Yee of preying on young teenage boys.
Others also pointed out the boys were Muslims and they might take the money given by Yee to sponsor terrorists.
Not expecting a return for his deed, Yee hoped that the six would remember God had been kind to them and brought them to Singapore to meet someone who loved them unconditionally.
“One day, it will be your turn to help others fulfil their dreams,” he said.
Speaking to Shin Min Daily News, Yee said he sold the home in Genting, and raised S$150,000 ($112,638) to send them to Australia.
Two of them have since started their studies in the University of Sydney, while the others are waiting for their admission to the University of Wollongong.