IT’S the first birthday of ‘Baby Loc’ and he finally gets an endearing hug from Louis Ng, the MP for Nee Soon East, who helped with a crowd-funding campaign earlier this year to save the abandoned Vietnamese baby.
The little baby’s real name is Loc Pham Duc Loc. He was abandoned at Van Buc Temple in the southern coastal province of Ben Tre. The monks took him in and he joined more than 90 orphans living at the temple.
Soon, the worst fears came true.
Doctors conducting medical checks on the orphans found that ‘Baby Loc’ had “a problem with his head”. He has hydrocephalus, or “water on the brain”, a build-up of the cerebrospinal fluid that surrounds the brain.
At seven months, he was rushed to the Kandang Kerbau Women & Children’s Hospital, thanks to the initiative of Nguyen Hong Thao, 33, who runs Thien Long Vietnamese Restaurant. She immediately sought the help of Vietnamese monk Thich Le Hieu.
‘Baby Loc’ was earlier treated at two hospitals in Vietnam. But about a month after his second surgery, he was pronounced incurable by medical specialists.
His condition improved after three surgeries and MP Ng’s regular updates over Facebook aroused Singaporeans, who joined in the crowd-funding to help pay for the baby’s medical expenses. More than S$100,000 was raised in Singapore.
“It really did break my heart when I first met him, seeing him lying in hospital with so many tubes attached to him,” recalls MP Ng over Facebook. “Little did I know that I would see my own daughters also in hospital with all that tubes attached to them. But the difference was that my daughters had their daddy and mummy, Baby Loc didn’t.”
MP Ng, a father of three babies, including twin females born four months ago, adds: “His journey hasn’t been easy and his story is a sad one, a very sad one. But this group of people who have stepped forward to help him are truly angels.
“Their selflessness has changed his life and filled him with love. I don’t think their kindness can ever be repaid and I don’t think they want to be repaid. Thank you so much for saving Baby Loc.”
He particularly thanked the crowd-funding donors, most of whom prefer to remain anonymous. “The people who have got together to help a baby who is unrelated to them deserve recognition,” adds MP Ng.
“I wish Baby Loc never learns about how he was abandoned by his parents, how he was almost left to die. I’m grateful that chapter of his life has passed and the new chapter is about hope, about being surrounded by people, doctors and nurses who care and love him, about having a chance to live.”
For the record, MP Ng, who is also Chairman of Nee Soon Town Council, is also an animal lover. He founded Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES), an animal protection organisation, aimed at fostering a spirit of volunteerism and working with the community to create much-needed awareness on animal protection issues.
He went through a personal baby trauma in February when his wife, Amy, delivered little Katie and Poppy via emergency caesarean, at the Singapore General Hospital (SGH). They were prematured and spent weeks in the intensive care unit.
Mum Amy and the babies are now on the perfect road to recovery.
As I end this babe-endearing article, let me happily reiterate to gutsy one-year-old Loc Pham Duc Loc, on his birthday: Fight on Baby Loc!
Suresh Nair is a Singapore-based journalist who sits on the Nee Soon East Citizens Consultative Committee (CCC). He helps out every Monday at the Nee Soon East MPS (Meet The People Session).