SINGAPORE. Dubai Duty Free is the latest leading travel retailer to show its support for The Moodie Davitt Report’s Smile Raising Charity Dinner, to be held on Saturday 6 May at Hotel Fort Canning, Singapore.

As reported, the Smile Raising Charity Dinner will raise funds and visibility for international cleft charity Smile Train. A Gold Partner of the event, Dubai Duty Free has donated five Millennium Millionaire tickets – for a chance to win US$1 million dollars – to be given away at the dinner and has also donated US$4,000 through the Dubai Duty Free Foundation.

Dubai Duty Free’s Millennium Millionaire promotion offers participants a one-in-5,000 chance to win US$1 million, with regular draws taking place at Dubai Duty Free shopping complex

The Tax Free World Association (TFWA), which hosts TFWA Asia Pacific from 7-11 May in Singapore, has pledged to take two Platinum tables – a strong show of support from the leading industry association.

Other bookings to date include Ever Rich Duty Free, Changi Airport Group, Duty Free Global, Edrington Group, Estée Lauder Travel Retail, One World Duty Free, Regent Asia Group, Valiram, Wonderful Pistachios, Purple, Global Drinks and International Korea Tobacco, owner of fast-growing cigarette brand Pointful Korea.

Numerous individual places have also been reserved. Places remain available although they are being sold fast so we encourage potential participants to book now.

We also urgently need more support in terms of high-value prizes for the live and silent auctions on the evening.

Sunil Tuli and his wife Shikha (centre front in yellow) with members of the local medical team and Smile Train Area Director – South Asia Renu Mehta (centre, back row)

Sunil Tuli, the Group CEO for King Power Group (Hong Kong), also recently underlined his commitment to the Smile Raising Charity Dinner and cleft charity Smile Train.

Tuli, who has reserved a table at the dinner, recently visited the B&B Hospital, a Smile Train partner in Kathmandu, Nepal. There he and his wife Shikha met Smile Train Area Director – South Asia Renu Mehta, together with the local medical team, patients and their parents.

Individual places can be booked for US$400 each. Gold tables of ten are available for US$4,000 and Platinum tables of ten for US$7,500. Other special support and partnership packages are available.

For more details or to reserve a table or individual place, see the official Smile Raising Charity Dinner website or email Jeannie Wong at  or Vincci Chung at headed ‘Smile Raising’.

Smile Train Case Study 5

Meet Lian – the mother of Smile Train’s 25,000th patient in Vietnam – and her sons Dat and Quy

A smile that says it all: Lian with her youngest son Dat

Lian lives in Hai Phong, Vietnam with her husband and three sons, two of whom were born with a cleft.

Lian and her husband, Xuan Son, were married in 2005 and welcomed their first child – a happy, healthy boy – a year later. After seven years they had their second son, Quy, who was born with a cleft.

“We were upset and very worried for his future, until we heard that a mission of foreign doctors would be landing in our city soon to perform cleft surgeries for free,” Lian explains.

The child had surgery but, just a few days later, the stitches in his lips split. “We didn’t know what to do, so we just left them that way. We felt we didn’t have a choice; we don’t have a lot of money and didn’t know of any local hospital that could help us. The mission trip had already flown away.”

Playtime for brothers Dat and Quy

In 2019, Lian was pregnant again and, after an ultrasound, learned that the baby was a boy and that he too would have a cleft.

“This made us very sad; another child whose future we needed to worry about,” Lian says. “But our doctor gave us hope that he could get good treatment and grow up to live a happy, healthy life.”

Dat was born in February 2020, just before the pandemic. “I knew from Quy that babies with clefts are hard to feed; milk often drips out of their noses or chokes them. It can feel like they will never gain weight no matter how much you try to feed them.

“But that experience also taught me basic techniques for feeding such a baby, so my plan was to work hard to keep Dat as healthy and well fed as I could so that he would be strong enough for surgery when the next mission trip arrived.”

Sadly, however, no missions came. “As we waited, our hopes slowly faded. Day by day, Dat seemed to be wasting away with waiting.”

Dat just before his Smile Train-supported cleft surgery

Lian asked at the hospital where Dat was born; she searched on the internet, asking anyone she thought would be able to help. “And then I found what I was looking for: Ha Dong General Hospital in Hanoi offered free cleft treatment every day of the year thanks to their partnership with an organisation called Smile Train.

“I messaged them and quickly received a response. We immediately left to meet the doctors, and they tested Dat and prepared him for surgery right away. We were so happy that we couldn’t believe it. It was like a miracle to us; our hope was revived. Then they made us even happier by offering to fix Quy’s surgery from so long ago, also for free. We did not even know this was still possible, because if we had, we would have sought to have him treated much sooner.”

Happy together: Another snapshot of Dat and his older brother Quy

A second ‘miracle’ came as Lian and her husband had saved money to cover travel costs to the hospital which was some 90 minutes away. The cleft team told them that Smile Train would cover those expenses, so the couple had money to care for the children after the surgeries.

Understandably, on Dat and Quy’s surgery day, Lian was fraught. “But the doctors and nurses helped me get through it. They gave me a lot of good advice and shared more information about clefts that I did not know before.

“I understand now that clefts are curable and that, with follow-up treatment, my children can live as healthy a life as anybody else. They also showed me pictures of a lot of their previous patients, all of whom turned out great. That made me calmer and helped me prepare myself for the bright future ahead of us.

Dat and Quy with their father Xuan Son after the boys’ cleft surgeries and (on the right) a lighthearted moment with Dr. Hoc Trinh

“When I saw my children coming out from the operation room, I was relieved that everything went well and determined to give them all the best that they deserve. As they recovered, the hospital staff told us that Dat was Smile Train Vietnam’s 25,000th patient.”

Both surgeries were successful and Dat and Quy recovered quickly. Quy returned to school where his friends were surprised by the change in him. They became friendlier and the two boys became more active.

Dat is now in kindergarten. “I believe he will have no trouble when he starts elementary school in the next few years,” his mother says.

“I feel so grateful to the cleft team at Ha Dong General Hospital, Smile Train, and all the people who have helped my family find perfect smiles for our children.”

One of Singapore’s most renowned heritage buildings, Hotel Fort Canning bears a storied past that dates back to the early 20th century

About The Smile Raising Charity Dinner

The Smile Raising Charity Dinner at Singapore’s Hotel Fort Canning marks our 21st year in business and our fourth charity dinner to be held in Asia. Previous events in Hong Kong (2007 and 2012) and Singapore (2019) have raised almost US$1 million collectively for the nominated charities.

Smile Train has been among The Moodie Davitt Report’s preferred charities since 2007 when the Hong Kong gala dinner raised over US$300,000 for the cause.

Over the past 15 years, we have helped generate more than US$2.5 million for Smile Train through our own donations (including from The Virtual Travel Retail Expo and The Trinity Forum), charity dinners; the ‘Miles for Smiles’ fun runs in Dubai and around the world; and even a world-record, highest altitude rock gig at the Summit of Mount Kilimanjaro called The Chasing Rainbows Tour.” ✈