Singapore—Perhaps when the coronavirus pandemic is over, we’ll remember the people who went out of their way to perform acts of kindness and generosity to those who needed it the most. One such person—a “beng” at that—has found that his generosity has reached not only all of Singapore, but the world.
Jason Chua is the “beng who cooks.” For those who may not know, a “beng” is a hooligan or thug. (Like all other countries, Singapore has its share of bengs, the most famous being a certain individual whose beng ways were displayed in a leaked recording some months back. All we can say is to that is…sia suay).
“Beng Who Cooks” is the name of his hawker stall at Hong Lim Market and Food Centre. Before the circuit breaker, he had been serving 40 to 50 rice and pasta bowls, and after April 7, his business, like everyone else’s, took a hard hit.
But it seems Mr Chua has been busier than ever.
Over the last month, Mr Chua, a tattooed former boxer, has served food to the needy all over Singapore since the start of the circuit breaker.
In the meantime, his hawker stall takes “maybe 10 to 25 orders per day,” as he told Reuters, to sustain itself.
His inspiration to feed those in need came from a friend who had told him about buying food for a homeless person. Today, together with his partner, Hung Zhen Long, Mr Chua operates “Beng Who Cares,” which gives away 50 to 60 meals to those in need every day.
Mr Chua’s heartwarming story has made the news all over the world, with media outfits carrying the Reuters story in the US, Dubai, Malaysia and other countries.
Here in Singapore, he has also been featured in the local media both recently and in early April.
Yahoo Singapore wrote that the Beng Who Cares Foundation is committed to giving meals to the needy until the circuit breaker restrictions are lifted. The foundation is being funded by the friend who had inspired Mr Chua’s journey into becoming the “Beng Who Cares,” and is not receiving donations for its endeavours. Instead, he asks that what the foundation is doing be shared so that the hungry would know where they can go when they need a meal.
But there have been some who have given “cash, oil and rice,” for the meals given away, Mr Chua told Reuters.
He said that what motivates him these days is positive feedback when people love his food. “Surprisingly, the feedback is amazing…It motivates you. I crave a lot of praises and those praises are what is pushing me and motivating me to do what I really love.”
Being young and tech-savvy, Mr Chua also made use of a contactless way for those in need to ask for a meal—via the social media platform Instagram. And everyone who asked was given a meal, with no questions asked, CNA reported earlier this month.
The 28-year-old Mr Chua, who has run the “Beng Who Cooks” stall for the past two years, said, “As long as we don’t die, we carry everyone, so everyone survives together.” —/TISG