BUKIT MERTAJAM - Most newlyweds head off to their honeymoon after their wedding. Not voluntary fire-fighter Kenny Ooi.
Immediately after his wedding dinner last Saturday, he waded straight into the water and has spent the last four days helping to evacuate flood victims.
His bride Young Hui Ling waited at home.
Ooi, 28, the founder of the Kota Permai Voluntary Fire and Rescue Unit, dashed off after hurriedly finishing the last course of the dinner at a church hall here.
He rushed back home to change into his fireman's clothes and headed to flooded areas with his fellow volunteers.
"I left my own wedding dinner earlier than most of my guests did. Some people might think it's a very pantang (taboo) thing to do but it doesn't matter to me. The lives of the people out there are more important," Ooi said in an interview at his unit's base here yesterday.
He helped to evacuate victims in Kota Permai here until 4am on Sunday before going home to rest.
The exhausted Ooi was too tired to even notice that he had around 100 missed calls requesting his help.
He slept for only three hours and by 9am, he was out again helping evacuate victims at other areas.
Ooi said he was thankful that his wife was always understanding and was never mad at him for all the times he had to cancel plans or leave halfway when they were dating.
Asked if she was angry that Ooi left her on their wedding day, Young said she would never get angry.
"Rescuing people has always been his passion and I fully encourage him," she said.
Ooi said he was 12 years old when he was inspired by the responsibilities that firemen shoulder.
At 19, he founded the voluntary unit and began collecting funds and donations to have their own fire trucks and premises of their own.