“I like to see Malaysians of all races, Chinese, Malays and Indians, especially little children, enjoying the park. I don’t know how much longer I can do this as I am old, as long as I can I’d like to continue.”
This is the statement Mr. Lee told Free Malaysia Today when asked about volunteering to keep the park a clean place.
Lee Kim Siew is an 84-year-old retiree who has dedicated the last five years of his life to cleaning up the park near his house in Puchong, Selangor.
He spends three hours every day, with a plastic bag held in a glove-clad hand, pacing his steps around the large recreational park.
He stops every time he spots rubbish, picks it up and puts it into the plastic bag.
The ex-headmaster is a familiar sight to regular patrons who visit the park. They smile and exchange pleasantries, sometimes a brief chat before moving on with their day.
“When I first came here, I was shocked to find rubbish strewn everywhere, it was so smelly,” explains Mr. Lee.
Cigarette butts, bottles and wrappers are his common finds. At times, he even gets his hands in the dirt digging a drain to allow the water to flow from the pathways.
Other times, he devotedly picks up every fallen branch and dried leaves he stumbles upon his trail to ensure the park is entirely clean of trash.
Despite being in his golden age, Mr. Lee doesn’t seem to sweat it, literally although he mentions that his age restricts his movement. When he first started, he was at the park six times every week. Now he only does four to five times weekly.
The selfless elderly has also donated more than 67,000 books to schools in local and neighboring regions. He continues to hope that his effort to educate people to change their habits will prevail.
We are rooting for you, Mr. Lee!