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Couple take needy children on a shopping spree

GEORGE TOWN: The wishes of 24 underprivileged children came true again when an Australian couple holidaying in Penang took them shopping and bought them whatever they wanted.

Heather Paikos, 63, who is in Penang for the 41st time with her husband Arthur, 68, had been buying gifts for the children, aged five to 19, from Shan Children’s Home Penang for the last three years.

“Previously, we informed the kids to make their wish lists, and we shopped according to their lists and presented the gifts to them.

“But this time, we wanted them to choose the things themselves,” she said after Friday’s shopping spree.

But only 12 could go on the trip to Tanjung Tokong Tesco.

The others had to stay in and study for their exams. Their friends picked up the “stranded ones” wish list of five items each.

The boys wanted action figures, sports shoes, bags and watches while the girls wanted perfumes, earrings, hair clips and ribbons besides stationery and clothing on their shopping lists.

Gift of giving: Heather (centre) with her charges from Shan Children’s Home at a shopping mall in Penang.
Gift of giving: Heather (centre) with her charges from Shan Children’s Home at a shopping mall in Penang.

However, all five-year-old T. Rupaneswaran wanted was a new pillow and blanket, S. Yagavendran, 12, a coin box to start saving while S. Pahvittera, 17, wanted an alarm clock to wake up on time.

The printed bill was almost 80cm long and the amount was RM3,256.40, but that was not all of it.

Heather then took the children to Tesco’s lower level of boutique outlets for the perfumes and ornaments the girls wanted. Heather paid for those in cash for unknown sums.

Helping her manage the shopping was a corporate social responsibility team from Shangri-La’s Rasa Sayang Resort and Spa, where she and Arthur were staying for a month.

In return, all Heather got were hugs from the children – and she was overwhelmed.

“It’s so fulfilling to do charity,” she said, adding that everyone should make a small contribution to the needy.

M. Anbukarasi, six, who asked for tracksuit, undergarments, shoes, colouring and exercise books said the experience was “so nice”.

“This the first time I can go shopping and choose whatever I want for myself,” she said, gleefully showing off her new stuff.

Shan Home’s caretaker M. Renuga Devi said the children were taught to be moderate and focus on their needs when making their wish lists a month ago.

“This is a blessing for our children and although they are allowed to wish for whatever they wanted, we didn’t want them to take it for granted,” she added.

Family Community , Couple , Hypermarket , Children