The Mission Accomplished @ day 21!

IT consultant wheels a grand deal for grandma and charity

MALACCA: Forty-year-old IT consultant Frankie Tan Meng Kiong left behind the comforts of home as he embarked on a 600km trishaw ride to Penang to raise money for charity.

The only thing from home that he’s carrying with him throughout the gruelling journey is the memory of his late grandmother.

Tan said the idea for the trishaw ride came to him when he returned from Britain last year to be with his ailing and wheelchair-bound grandmother.

Journey of hope: Tan waving as he sets off on his ride to Penang from the A Famosa fort in Bandar Hilir, Malacca, Saturday. With him is friend Huang Kok Cherng who is also one of his five co-cyclists.

“I was very close to her and I used to take her to the park near our home in Ujong Pasir before she passed away.

“It was owing to our outings at the park that I struck upon the idea of cycling in her memory,” he said of his 86-year-old grandmother, who passed away in January this year.

However, while preparing for the voyage, Tan said he decided to also raise money for charity.

“I had initially wanted to make the journey in memory of my grandmother. In England, people would run to raise funds for charity so I decided to do the same here,” he said before the flag off in front of the A Famosa Fort in Bandar Hilir yesterday.

Even before the start of the ride, Tan had raised RM126,666 for four charities via his website www.thetrishawman.com, which was set up in May to chronicle his feat.

The money raised will be channelled to the Women’s Aid Organisation, National Council for the Blind, Malacca SPCA and Malacca’s Wings Early Intervention for Mentally Challenged Children.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam, who flagged off Tan on his ride to cheers from more than 100 supporters and friends, promised RM5,000 for each organisation.

To train for the trip, Tan bought a second-hand trishaw for RM300 and began cycling up to 60km each day.

“I thought it was apt to cycle from Malacca to Penang as both cities have been accorded World Heritage Site status,” he said.

Tan will also be documenting his journey in a pictorial album entitled United Faces of Malaysia as a means to promote unity among Malaysians.

To ensure his safety and health, Tan said five friends had agreed to follow him in a car and serve as back-up cyclists.

(News published in The Star on 07 June 2009.)

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