Yeow Weng Fee (in wheelchair) and his family at Subang Airport before their flight to Langkawi

Yeow Weng Fee (in wheelchair) and his family at Subang Airport before their flight to Langkawi

With his mobility seriously curbed due to old age, Yeow Weng Fee, 85, spends most of his time at home in Tronoh, Perak, waiting for the weekend to come around when his children and their families would take turns to visit him and his wife, Tan Eng Choo, 76.

The retired blacksmith loved travelling and used to go on annual overseas vacations with the family. However, since being wheelchair-dependent, travelling is no longer practical.

holiday-makers forming a heart shape at Resorts World Langkawi

holiday-makers forming a heart shape at Resorts World Langkawi

So, when his children proposed to take their parents on a 3-day/2-night vacation to Langkawi, it was readily accepted. Yeow and Tan were accompanied by their two daughters, son-in-law and five grandchildren in what was to their surprise, a trip in conjunction with Parents’ Day.

 popular DJs Chiong Pei Pei (L) & Liang Kim Loong (R)

popular DJs Chiong Pei Pei (L) & Liang Kim Loong (R)

Their son-in-law, Michael Chow Kah Miew, 54, said that they bought a Parents’ Day holiday package last year but couldn’t bring the folks along as they were not prepared. Seeing how meaningful it was, they decided to include them this year.

 dinner at Resorts World Langkawi

dinner at Resorts World Langkawi

He said, “The reality is that time is no longer on their side. A family vacation like this is one of the few times to take them out of their normal routine. It is a good opportunity for them to mingle around with other families. My parents-in-law are able to see for themselves that despite getting along in age, they too can still continue to enjoy life.”

Yeow Weng Fee (in wheelchair) with his wife Tan Eng Choo and their two daughters - Julia Yeow Choy Wan (standing left) & Jeslyn Yeow Choy Hoong (standing right)

Yeow Weng Fee (in wheelchair) with his wife Tan Eng Choo and their two daughters – Julia Yeow Choy Wan (standing left) & Jeslyn Yeow Choy Hoong (standing right)

For Yeow and Tan, as with most parents, they don’t mind not going on a holiday. What is most important is spending quality time with the family and seeing them happy.

Yeow Weng Fee (in wheelchair) presents a Japanese song

Yeow Weng Fee (in wheelchair) presents a Japanese song

One of their daughters, Chow’s wife, Julia Yeow Choy Wan, said, “Even so, my dad loves the beach so Langkawi is an appropriate holiday destination. Lazing on lounge chairs and looking out to the sea are precious moments that we treasure. It would be perfect if my two older siblings could come along as well.”

Yeow Weng Fee (in wheelchair) and his family just before attending the gala dinner

Yeow Weng Fee (in wheelchair) and his family just before attending the gala dinner

Also on the Parents’ Day vacation was octogenarian Tee Chu Lian. She was accompanied by her son and daughter, their spouses and a grandson. The retired rubber tapper from Seremban, Negeri Sembilan, was also a participant in last year’s inaugural trip so this was like a reunion of sorts for her, where she had the opportunity to catch up with friends she made the year before.

 Yeow Weng Fee (in wheelchair) and his family at the gala dinner

Yeow Weng Fee (in wheelchair) and his family at the gala dinner

Due to her age, long flights tire her, but she is still able to enjoy short, relaxing trips. Said her son, Danny Low Sar Yan, 56, “Although my four siblings and I visit our mother every weekend, a holiday like this forces us to let go of our work commitments, if only for a few days, and devote all our time and attention to her.”

three generations (L-R): Lee Hong (grandmother - 75 years old), Chee Ern Shan (granddaughter - 2 years old) and Chong Sook Yee (daughter - 35 years old) greeted by popular singer Amy Wang

three generations (L-R): Lee Hong (grandmother – 75 years old), Chee Ern Shan (granddaughter – 2 years old) and Chong Sook Yee (daughter – 35 years old) greeted by popular singer Amy Wang

The holiday for parents was specially arranged by MJT World Vacations Sdn. Bhd. Its General Manager Eddie Chow had always wanted to offer a “treat package” that children can surprise their parents with. However, it didn’t kick off until he shared his idea with well-known deejay Chiong Pei Pei, who managed to help solicit for sponsorship. Chow said, “I have known Pei Pei for a long time but we lost touch until one day, I heard her on the radio and reconnected with her. I can safely say that without her efforts, my dream of rewarding parents would not have been possible.

 Michael Chow Kah Miew (in red checks shirt) and his family - serenaded by local artiste Christopher Lay

Michael Chow Kah Miew (in red checks shirt) and his family – serenaded by local artiste Christopher Lay

“When elderly parents and grandparents come on this surprise trip, we look into all their needs and everything is taken care of so that they can truly enjoy a stress-free holiday. They are treated like VIPs. Besides visiting popular landmarks on the island, entertainment is provided by Ai FM radio deejays and popular local artistes, who treat these senior citizens as though they are their own fathers and mothers.”

 L-R: Michael Chow Kah Miew, Julia Yeow Choy Wan, Yeow Weng Fee, Tan Eng Choo & Jeslyn Yeow Choy Hoong

L-R: Michael Chow Kah Miew, Julia Yeow Choy Wan, Yeow Weng Fee, Tan Eng Choo & Jeslyn Yeow Choy Hoong

The presence of Ai FM deejays was why grandmother Lee Hong, 75, found the holiday so much more enjoyable. On the trip with daughter Chong Sook Yee, 35, and granddaughter Chee Ern Shan, 2, Lee tunes in to the station daily from her home in Serdang, Selangor. As a fan, it was a golden opportunity for Lee to meet, play games and sing along with the deejays.

Michael Chow Kah Miew & Julia Yeow Choy Wan with their two daughters

Michael Chow Kah Miew & Julia Yeow Choy Wan with their two daughters

Pei Pei, who was instrumental in the success of the two trips, hoped that all participants would take home the message of appreciating their parents while they are still around. She said, “Children should be filial. Trips like these also give the chance to children to express love and appreciation for their parents, which being Asians, we hardly do.”

hugs and kisses all around

hugs and kisses all around

All in all, about fifteen families from all over Malaysia participated in the special Parents’ Day celebration.

Tee Chu Lian was very touched by the proceedings during the dinner - beside her are son Low Sar Yan and grandson

Tee Chu Lian was very touched by the proceedings during the dinner – beside her are son Low Sar Yan and grandson

Eddie Chow concluded, “I hope that this celebration of parenthood and family togetherness could be turned into an annual event in Langkawi and be included in the state’s annual calendar of events.”

Yeow Weng Fee (in wheelchair) was one of three participants above 80 years old who received a free trip to Langkawi for 2016

Yeow Weng Fee (in wheelchair) was one of three participants above 80 years old who received a free trip to Langkawi for 2016

Note: An edited version of this article [Saying ‘I Love You’ with sun, sand and sea] was published on 20th June, 2015, in the now-defunct The Malay Mail.

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With love

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