Setbacks spur her on to help others

Mr Ong Ye Kung, Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills), presenting Madam Gurusamy Intrany with a Silent Heroes award last Saturday. Madam Intrany counsels couples on the verge of divorce, donates to old folks' homes and gives mon
Mr Ong Ye Kung, Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills), presenting Madam Gurusamy Intrany with a Silent Heroes award last Saturday. Madam Intrany counsels couples on the verge of divorce, donates to old folks' homes and gives money to the poor she sees on the streets.ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

Despite having faced her own challenges, 65-year-old helps others, including the homeless

Madam Gurusamy Intrany has had her fair share of struggles earlier in life, from seeing her father die when she was a teenager, to going through a divorce after her husband of 13 years had an affair, and undergoing three surgical operations in one day.

Despite all these, the spirited 65-year-old has proven to be a pillar of support today, not just for her family, but also for many others.

She still takes care of her 93-year-old mother-in-law who lives with her, counsels couples on the verge of divorce, donates to old folks' homes in Singapore and India, and gives money to the poor she sees on the streets.

Last Saturday, she was one of six winners of the Silent Heroes award, given out by the Hillview Civilians Club at its 52nd anniversary dinner at Shangri-La Hotel.

Now in its third year, the award honours people who help to improve the lives of others without expecting recognition or reward.

The organisers look out for those who have shown significant concern for the elderly, sick or disadvantaged, as well as those with serious long-term disabilities who have worked towards achieving their goals.

SPIRIT OF GIVING

As long as I am alive, I like to help these people because they have also suffered.

MADAM GURUSAMY INTRANY, a Silent Heroes award recipient, who often buys a meal for the homeless elderly or disabled on the streets.

There is also a Pioneers of Promise category, which recognises Singaporeans from the pioneer generation who use their skills to raise awareness about social issues, promote harmony, and encourage youth to work towards their goals.

Madam Intrany, one of the winners in the Pioneers category, buys chicken rice for the homeless elderly or disabled on the streets, and gives them clothes or $5 to $10.

She also occasionally visits Tai Pei Old People's Home and Sree Narayana Mission with food and small sums of money for the elderly residents.

"As long as I am alive, I like to help these people because they have also suffered," said the mother of four and grandmother of three.

"My mother was a good person who worked very hard for her nine children as a cleaner and cook. She taught us to help others even though we might not have much."

Madam Intrany earns $2,000 to $3,000 each month, from being an astrologer and helping out with paperwork part-time at an engineering company.

Mr Ong Ye Kung, Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills), who was guest of honour at the event, lauded the award winners as heroes "who display humility and selflessness".

Hillview Civilians Club was set up in 1964 as a football club, but has evolved into a group that runs social outreach programmes for youth, the elderly and the disabled.

Mr M P Sellvem, the club's president, said its mission has been to cultivate "the resilience of the kampung spirit" among Singaporeans.

"Through this initiative, we believe we can inspire more people to think and do good," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 30, 2016, with the headline 'Setbacks spur her on to help others'. Print Edition | Subscribe