Uncle Mike is both ‘mother’ and ‘father’ of 3 Malaysian orphans, Latest World News

A visit to an orphanage in Gombak, Selangor, more than 16 years ago, marked the beginning of a parenting journey for bachelor Michael Tong.

Today, this 55-year-old man not only remains the “mother” and “father” of three children, but he is also the “grandfather” of the children of one of the children he decided to take under his wing.

Mr Tong told Harian Metro that during the visit he had noticed how withdrawn 12-year-old Rafei Ahmad Fauzi was compared to the other children at the orphanage.

“Rafei and his younger brothers, Rasyid and Abdul Rahman, lived in the orphanage after their parents died within a month of each other,” Mr Tong said.

He also learned that Rafei was reluctant to go to school. Mr. Tong learned from Rafei’s teachers that he had learning difficulties.

“So I would pick him up from the orphanage every morning and take him to school. When I was done, one of my workers would pick up Rafei and take him to the teaching center. Then I would pick him up from the teaching center and take him. return him to the orphanage,” Mr. Tong recalled.

It was then that they suggested that he take the child with him to facilitate the trip.

Eventually, Tong also took in Rasyid and Abdul Rahman after reading a note in which Rafei said he missed his two brothers terribly.

“I have been his ‘mother’ and ‘father’ ever since and we are still together,” said Mr Tong, whom the children referred to as Uncle Mike.

“At first I was worried because I had no experience, but I had a lot of support from my friends and family.”

He added that their mother, Mrs Oh Siew Eng, 86, has treated the children as part of the family.

Mr. Tong sent the three children to school and even hired an ustaz to teach them to read the Quran every night.

“I would cook for sahur and iftar during Ramadan. Other days, I would get up around 5 a.m. to make breakfast for them.”

Rafei is now 29 years old and has two children, whom Tong considers his grandchildren. Rasyid is 28 years old and Abdul Rahman is 24.

“The children never called me ‘Dad’ and I preferred them to continue addressing me as Uncle Mike,” Mr Tong said.

“For me it is not important what they call me, as long as I am sincere in taking care of them like my own children.”