Like many parents in Singapore, Madam Seet Tiong Boon wants to reward her son Kevin when he does well in school.
But the 16-year-old will not accept her gifts.
The "thoughtful" and "thrifty" Kevin always insisted that he did not want to buy anything, said Madam Seet, an accounts manager.
"He wanted to make sure that I spend money wisely."
As the Day 10 winner of The Straits Times 12 Days of Christmas Surprises contest, the 51-year-old now has a gift that Kevin cannot turn down - a Yamaha YAS-101 sound bar, courtesy of ST’s presenting partner Standard Chartered.
It is a reward for Kevin’s improvement from being a mediocre student to acing his N-level examinations. He obtained an aggregate score of seven points.
Aside from the effort of his schoolteachers, Kevin credits older brother Edgar for sparking the transformation.
Said the Bukit Merah Secondary School student: "I wasn't that interested in my studies in lower secondary. I was more into playing computer games.
"My brother broadened my mind on how the world works and told me it was necessary to study."
Having faced difficulties of his own while studying for the N-levels, Edgar, who is now a second-year student at Ngee Ann Polytechnic, knew the importance of hard work, and reminded his brother not to slack off.
Despite a three-year age gap, the brothers are close, said their mother. Madam Seet said: "Edgar is Kevin's role model, motivator and very close buddy, and Kevin did quite well to gain from his brother's experience."
Just two more prizes will be given out in the contest, which aims to give a reader a mystery gift a day until Dec 24. It is part of The Straits Times Appreciates Readers (Star) programme to reach out to readers and the community.
To take part, just tell us in not more than 40 words: "Why my loved one or I deserve to get a gift from The Straits Times".
E-mail your entry to email@example.com and include your full name, NRIC number and mobile phone number. The contest closes at noon tomorrow (Dec 23).
To read other winners’ stories and find out how to join the contest, go to www.straitstimes.com/st-christmas-2013