Coming-of-age climb

Coming-of-age climb

In the household of Mr Ho Kwon Ping and his wife Claire Chiang, who head the Banyan Tree group, the three children take a “coming-of-age” trip before they turn 20.

Oldest son Ren Hua, 30, who works in the family business, did his trip in Vietnam while their daughter Ren Yung, 27, a social entrepreneur, went to Lijiang in China for hers.

But Ren Chun, 19, the youngest, is the first to use the trip as a fund-raiser – climbing Mount Kinabalu in Malaysia for the visually handicapped last month.

It was also his birthday month and he told family and friends he did not want a party or any presents.

He just wanted pledges to his cause, the Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped, which he identified when mulling over his greatest fear.

“When I thought about it, sensory deprivation came straight to mind. I’m very afraid of not being able to see the faces around me,” says Ren Chun, who is now doing his national service in the police force.

The two-day climb up the 4,095m Mount Kinabalu was a “metaphor” for the cause, he says. He was accompanied by his sister.

This is because of the 3am ascent – a three-hour climb made in darkness and heavy rain – with little lamps shining on every next step to find their way.

He says: “I thought this was how it would be like every day for the visually handicapped, so the climb was a tribute to them.”

He raised about $9,000 which has motivated him to do a more ambitious trek to Adam’s Peak in Sri Lanka.

He says: “It is easy to have ideas but equally easy not to do anything about it. So I want to start something and see where it takes me.”

Source: The Straits Times