Getting by with a little help from their friends
Seniors at Tak Kok Tsui home can count on an 84-year-old pastor and a caregiving couple
The story of an elderly man who provides shelter for old people with nowhere else to go has inspired a couple to do their bit for people in need.
When Dr Rin Park and his wife - who arrived in Hong Kong from Korea last year - read in the South China Morning Post last month about the Lord Grace Home for the elderly in Tai Kok Tsui, run by 84-year-old pastor Lee Mo-fan, they decided that they, too, could contribute.
The 49-year-old doctor, who specialises in managing skeletal and muscle pains, is paying monthly visits to the home to offer free health checks.
His wife, Irene Lam Nga-lan, 40, and their volunteer team provide music and food for the elderly residents.
"Pastor Lee is old and he should be taking care of himself, but he's caring for other people instead," said Park. "What we're doing is not so much helping, but just sharing what we have."
Park received seminary and medical training in the US. He chose his chiropractic practice to help people in pain. Last year, after marrying his wife - who was born and grew up in Hong Kong - they came to live here.
"He didn't know anyone in Hong Kong at first, but one thing he knew was how to help people," Lam said.
"We read about the elderly people in this home who were abandoned by their families and we felt really sad."
They mobilised a volunteer team of around 30 people, including Park's patients and a group of Korean university students in Hong Kong.
During their visit last Sunday, they played music and handed out mooncakes, bringing smiles to the faces of the seniors. They also plan to do some cleaning and renovation chores.
"What elderly people lack most is respect. They're very happy when you come and visit them," said pastor Lee, who has been running homes for the elderly for half a century. He pays for those who cannot afford the rent from donations.
Police and social workers refer him to elderly people living on the street who cannot care for themselves properly. There are about 20 residents at the home.
One of them is Wong Wah, 86, who used to sleep in a Mong Kok shopping mall and was manhandled out in June. "It's great that now I have a home to live in, and there are volunteers who come and chat with us," he said.
The Parks are raising funds for the home with a concert on November 20 featuring Korean band Orientango.