Tan Chuan-Jin pens heartfelt tribute to stalwart community volunteer who dies of cancer

Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin took to Facebook to pay tribute to one of his team’s most dedicated volunteers Mr Richard Toh, who passed away from cancer today (Sep 19).

He decided to pen the tribute yesterday and invite Mr Toh’s friends to post their reflections.

“Hopefully we get to read them to you before you run off on your next adventure!” he said.

How they got acquainted

The Speaker met Mr Toh during a house visit a few years ago.

“Instead of him asking me to help him, we chatted about the work in the community and how he could help out.”

And so he did.

Just like that Mr Toh became one of the Speaker’s team’s most dedicated volunteers.

“Rain or shine, he’d be there in a wide range of areas of service. He was in charge of our work with hoarders, he helped as part of our social team who visited our residents to follow up when needed (every week!!!), he was in our fruits and veggie distribution team, stalwart in our Meet the People Session, helped out in community activities of all sorts.”

Source: Tan Chuan-Jin Facebook

Always there for residents

Despite busy with a host of volunteering activities, Mr Toh is always there for the residents and is a dedicated and loyal supporter and friend.

Source: Tan Chuan-Jin Facebook

“He has been a wonderful friend and we only wish we could have him for longer. I cannot ask for a more dedicated and loyal supporter and friend who helped to care for me too in all my work in the community.”

The Speaker also said that Mr Toh have inspired many other “Richards” with his level of dedication.

Source: Tan Chuan-Jin Facebook

The last Meet the People Session for Mr Toh

Source: Tan Chuan-Jin Facebook

Mr Toh took this picture with Speaker the previous Monday and told him that it’d be his last MPS.

“And of course we all said: ‘No lah! Go recover quickly and come back!'”

But when chemotherapy started, Mr Toh’s body began to shut down.

We can’t quite come to terms with it, but Richard told me that he is ready to go if he was called.

“Our last meal together. Lamb shank Biryani, prata, hor fun, pizza, laksa…Richard also had some fish dish” wrote Speaker. Source: Tan Chuan-Jin Facebook

The Speaker visited Mr Toh at Singapore General Hospital yesterday to thank him.

“His body is shutting down and we don’t know how much longer will he be with us. I wanted to also tell him that it is perhaps now time for him to rest and go on his next journey when he is called. Much as we’d like him to recover, come back and continue helping our residents, to have him keep taking pictures to recognise the work of our volunteers…and much as we’d just totally miss him…I believe it’s time for Richard to return Home.”

“Thank you my friend. Be at peace.”

In a separate Facebook post today, Speaker Tan wrote that Mr Toh has passed away.

“Our dear friend, brother, comrade has just left us at 1710hrs for a better place….where grass is indeed greener there.”

Rest in peace, Mr Toh.

All photos from Tan Chuan-Jin Facebook