10-year-old raises S$14,000 from sale of sambal chilli for cancer-stricken hawker


SINGAPORE: A 10-year-old girl has raised about S$14,000 from sambal chilli she made to gather funds for a cancer-stricken hawker.

Phoebe Lim met Mr Tan Boon Teck, who suffers from Stage 3 colon cancer, on Saturday morning (Aug 12) in his rented flat in Ang Mo Kio to pass him the money.

“Today I went to Uncle Tan’s house and passed him the money that I raised from selling chilli,” she wrote in a Facebook post on Saturday. 

“Uncle Tan wants me to help him say thank you to everyone who has helped him. He says he will get well soon and he will invite all of us to eat his Char Kway Teow when he is fully recovered.”

Mr Tan is the youngest son of the late Mr Tan Chong Chia who founded the famed Armenian Street Char Kway Teow.

The funds for Mr Tan were from two batches of sambal chilli – coming up to an estimated 1,000 bottles. 

Phoebe’s father, Mr Joshua Lim, said for the first batch they received orders for about 300 bottles. However, more than 100 bottles were wasted after some customers did not pay or come to collect.

“For the second batch, we told people to pay first because we didn’t want to experience the same thing again,” he told Channel NewsAsia. “So for the second batch everyone paid and we are able to pass the money to Uncle Tan first before we started doing the chilli.”

He explained that they decided to collect payment first so they could give Mr Tan the money sooner, while they worked on making the sambal chilli: “For the second batch, we wanted to stop at 500 (bottles), but because during the first batch people had made enquiries and gotten our bank details to transfer money, when we closed orders for 500 bottles, people still kept sending in money so we had to continue making the chilli.”

He estimated that the second batch had about 700 bottles.

“I’m quite proud of her,” Mr Lim added. “I’m glad that she can help someone in need. She’s not thinking about herself. I hope she will continue to do that.”

Phoebe Lim (left) with her family and Tan Boon Teck, who suffers from Stage 3 colon cancer, at his flat in Ang Mo Kio. (Photo: Cindy Tan)

Phoebe said all the hard work was definitely worth it: “I will continue do what I can to help those people who are in need, through my passion that is cooking.”


Mr Tan’s niece, Cindy Tan, told Channel NewsAsia that her family is very grateful for the support from Phoebe and her family.

“I can’t describe this feeling,” she said. “For such a young girl, who has put her heart out, to help my uncle, who is a stranger to her … we are very touched.”

Ms Tan added the money would be going to her uncle’s daily expenses and medical costs: “Now, every two to three days he buys fish for his meals, which costs about S$50.

“He needs to eat fish, as he needs a lot of protein due to the radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatment. He is unable to eat so much meat, and cannot eat too much vegetables as well as other food that is high in fibre, because of his medical condition (colon cancer).”

Last month, a group of hawkers led by Douglas Ng of fishball noodle chain Fishball Story, pledged to donate a portion of their proceeds from an annual Timbre+ food festival to Mr Tan.

Other fund-raising efforts include an ongoing GIVE.asia page set up by Mr Tan’s niece, which has garnered about S$6,800 to date. 

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