ST 12 Days of Christmas Surprises: Day 9 winner gives prize to animal-lover friend

The Day 9 winner of the inaugural The Straits Times 12 Days of Christmas Surprises contest is Dr Karen Soh. -- ST GRAPHIC
The Day 9 winner of the inaugural The Straits Times 12 Days of Christmas Surprises contest is Dr Karen Soh. -- ST GRAPHIC

The needs of homeless animals have always come before her own.

For the past decade, Madam Christine Tan, 45, never bought herself gifts. She would also avoid visits to the doctor.

She does all this so she can save money to feed stray cats and dogs and also pay for their medical bills instead.

For her tireless dedication in caring for the animals, teacher Karen Soh, 48, feels her animal-lover friend deserves a gift.

So she recommended Madam Tan to receive a prize in her entry to the inaugural Straits Times’ 12 Days of Christmas Surprises contest.

As the nominee of the Day 9 winner, Madam Tan will bring home a Dyson bladeless fan, courtesy of our presenting partner Standard Chartered.

"She has always been giving and seldom on the receiving end," said Dr Soh.

This will be the first time in the past decade that Madam Tan would be receiving a gift during Christmas.

Madam Tan, who works in education, readily admitted: "As I go out and feed the animals everyday, Christmas never felt part of my life until now."

Married with no children, she is the sole breadwinner of her family. Aside from caring for her aged parents, she also pays for the food and medical treatment for animals.

As her friend observes, she gives "101 per cent of her time and finances" to ensure that homeless animals are fed and cared for.

"She has not bought anything for herself in the last few years. This gift is for all the hard work she has done," Dr Soh wrote in her contest submission.

Madam Tan said she is touched by her friend’s gesture and now looks forward to Christmas.

Together with our presenting partner Standard Chartered, ST will be giving a mystery prize a day until Tuesday (Dec 24) as part of The Straits Times Appreciates Readers (Star) series to reach out to readers and the community.

Tech gadgets and household appliances worth $6,000 in total are being given out.

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 and include your full name, NRIC number and cellphone number. The contest is open until noon on Monday (Dec 23).

To check out readers’ entries as well as up-to-date stories on Christmas, please go to