GEORGE TOWN: After losing his father to cancer in 2014, Song Doe Rang has found another father figure in Tan Swee Ban, a social worker who once cared for his dad.
Doe Rang, 18, now calls Tan his godfather and helps him run the Peace and Harmony Home, a non-profit nursing home in Jalan Thomas, Bukit Dumbar.
Tan, 53, used to be a social worker before he opened the nursing home.
He took care of Doe Rang’s late father Song Khee Hooi, who underwent cancer treatment at Penang Hospital for 11 days.
Doe Rang said he would never forget the day he met Tan at the hospital three years ago.
“Without Tan, I would not have seen my dad for one last time.
“Tan texted one of my relatives to inform us that my father was in critical condition. My father managed to open his eyes to see me briefly that day.
“I will cherish that moment and it was my godpa who made it possible,” he said.
“I lost my biological father that day, but gained another papa.”
Doe Rang, who is of mixed parentage, lost his mother when he was four.
He lived in Sungai Petani, Kedah, with his father, who collected and sold recyclables to make ends meet.
After Khee Hooi’s death, many people and foster homes came to Doe Rang’s aid, including taking him in as a foster child.
A Good Samaritan opened up his house in Alor Setar for Doe Rang, but he chose to return to Tan after three weeks.
“Staying with papa gives me a sense of comfort,” he said.
Doe Rang’s biggest hope now is to help Tan achieve his goal of accommodating 100 old folks at his nursing home.
“I’m trying to repay Tan for taking great care of my father, but it will never be enough.
“He has done a lot for me and I will be forever grateful,” Doe Rang said.
Tan said Doe Rang, who is waiting to retake his SPM before he can enrol in a nursing school, was capable of helping out at the home.
“He can do everything, from bathing the residents to changing their diapers and feeding them during meal times.
“He is like my own son. He is very helpful and he understands my vision for this place. I hope that one day, he can take over the operation when I am unable to,” he said.
Tan made a vow eight years ago to help the elderly who are sick and with no family to look after them. Since then, he has helped over 300 senior citizens.
The home currently has 30 residents.