A racquet, a laptop, Covid-19 and Lee Chong Wei

The badminton ace is touched by the plight of a youth who wanted a computer but couldn’t afford it.

Returning to Bukit Mertajam, Penang, to help those suffering due to the Covid-19 pandemic has crossed the mind of badminton ace Lee Chong Wei many times – but the movement control order (MCO) made this impossible.

However, when Lee saw a video clip of a youth crying when he received a laptop donation, he immediately reached for his phone and got his MP Steven Sim on the line.

Lee told Sim that he wanted to contribute 50 tablet computers for those in need.

Speaking to Malaysiakini, Lee said he felt compelled because of his own circumstances growing up.

“In that video, (Sim) met the boy. The boy wanted to be a doctor. He needed a computer (for classes). The MP got one and gave it to him. The boy cried.

“When I was young, I wanted a (badminton) racquet. I didn’t get one. So (me and that boy) are the same.

“Children have ambitions. Some want to be badminton players. Some want to be doctors. Some want to do their best in school.

“Some don’t get any of this because their family can’t afford it,” he said.

Lee was referring to the episode where a grandmother and her 16-year-old grandchild broke down in tears when the latter was gifted with the computer.

Prior to this, the boy relied on his neighbour’s smartphone to follow online classes. When the phone broke down, he fell behind.

Lee said he had placed the order for the tablet computers which would cost him no more than RM30,000. He said the order should arrive around Chinese New Year and he will send them to Sim for distribution.

Previously, said Lee, he had been contributing to hospitals, police stations and families in need in Bukit Mertajam. However, he did not publicise this.

Lee said Bukit Mertajam was always close to his heart because that was where he grew up. He said he was regularly in contact with Sim to keep abreast on how he could help.

“Bukit Mertajam is my kampung. I know Sim. I told him that I’ll do this for now. If you need more, I’ll do more (after Chinese New Year),” he said.

He said that although he could not help everyone, he would do what he could.

Lee is considered among the greatest badminton players ever. He was ranked World No 1 for 349 weeks and won many accolades in the badminton world.

He is the most successful Malaysian Olympian, holding three silver medals.


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