WHEN the Covid-19 pandemic hit the country, many were thrust into the front line to help those in need.
One of them is Ayer Hitam MCA division chief Ling Tian Soon.
Since the first movement control order was enforced last year, he has been out and about assisisting the vulnerable and giving aid.
Ling recalled a plea for help he received on March 23 last year from some single mothers.
He led his team of volunteers to distribute food to 12 needy households then.
“Other than basic food, I also distributed fresh fruits and vegetables contributed by local farmers as they were unable to export to Singapore at the time due to the border closure.”
Another memorable incident for him was a dinner event at a seafood restaurant in Yong Peng on April 8 this year that led to the Jalan Cahaya Baru cluster.
“My team and I quickly launched an effort to do contact tracing, conduct sanitisation and assist Health Ministry with mass testing such as providing marquee tents, tables and chairs, portable air conditioners and other equipment,” he said in an interview.
Ling said he had been having sleepless nights about exposing his wife and two young children to the risks due to his activities to help in the battle against Covid-19.
“I decided to send them back to my in-laws’ house in Terengganu,” he said.
He added that he had also made the painful decision not to visit his parents, although they live nearby, as he had to be in dangerous situations often.
The Parit Kassan Jegol cluster that emerged on May 17, said Ling, was another instance where he had to risk his safety to send aid to the villagers in Kampung Parit Kassan.
Out of the 85 households, 68 villagers tested positive for Covid-19, which led to the death of four, he recalled.
“Despite that, my team of volunteers and I still went into the village to distribute dried foodstuff, fresh produce and hand sanitiser as the villagers were not allowed to leave their homes.
“Thankfully, the situation improved and the cluster ended after about two weeks,” he said.
However, it has not been all smooth sailing for Ling, who is also Johor MCA Youth chief, as he inevitably came into close contact with Covid-19-positive individuals along the way and had to observe self-quarantine.
“I knew it would be dangerous going to red zones and Covid-19 cluster areas to distribute aid but I saw it as a duty to help those in need,” said Ling, who has been vaccinated.
Since last year, he has had to undergo 13 swab tests.
“From the first few painful swab experiences, I am now more comfortable and at ease when having my nose and throat ‘poked’ by medical personnel,” said Ling, who is also political secretary to Ayer Hitam MP Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong.
His team has been instrumental in distributing aid in various forms to thousands of residents during the pandemic.
This included giving away tonnes of vegetables and fruits from local and Cameron Highlands farms, food parcels, face masks and hand sanitiser to residents in the Ayer Hitam.