Wanted: People with inspiring lives, stories

Madam Noriza A. Mansor, who went to the aid of an elderly man who had soiled himself in public, was the inaugural winner of The Straits Times Singaporean Of The Year award in February this year.
Madam Noriza A. Mansor, who went to the aid of an elderly man who had soiled himself in public, was the inaugural winner of The Straits Times Singaporean Of The Year award in February this year.ST FILE PHOTO

The hunt is on for the next ST Singaporean Of The Year as nominations open today

To this day, saleswoman Noriza A. Mansor is still taken aback every time a stranger tells her how moved he was by an act she herself considers "nothing special".

When the 51-year-old went to the aid of an elderly man who had soiled himself in public, she never thought her kind deed would inspire a nation.

The single mother of five became the first winner of The Straits Times Singaporean Of The Year award this February, after news of what she did touched the hearts of the public and won over a panel of judges.

The Straits Times is today opening nominations for a second run of the award, which seeks to recognise Singaporeans who have put Singapore on the world map, persevered through incredible adversity, or otherwise made the community a better place through selfless acts.

While others flinched, Madam Noriza had stepped forward to help clean up Mr Tan Soy Yong, then 76, after he soiled himself in a Toa Payoh supermarket in 2014. She also continued to visit him and his wife for more than a year.

She was among 10 candidates for the title, including philanthropist Ben Cheong, engineer Peter Ho and Paralympian swimmer Yip Pin Xiu.

Madam Noriza said she looks forward to seeing who her successor will be. "Maybe somebody else (who is ordinary) like me can get this chance."

  • JUDGES FOR THE AWARD

    WARREN FERNANDEZ

    Editor-in-chief of Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) English/Malay/Tamil Media (EMTM) Group and editor of The Straits Times (ST)

    IGNATIUS LOW

    SPH EMTM managing editor

    SUMIKO TAN

    ST executive editor

    HELEN CHIA

    ST associate editor

    RAHUL PATHAK

    ST associate editor

    MARC LIM

    ST sports editor

    WONG KIM HOH

    ST senior writer

    SUSAN LONG

    General manager of Straits Times Press and former ST senior writer

    EDMUND KOH

    Country head of UBS Singapore and UBS Asia Pacific head of wealth management

    AARON MANIAM

    Civil servant and founding chairman of the National Youth Council Academy's Advisory Panel

    DAVID HOE

    Youth leader and pioneer of several youth mentoring programmes

    JOHN LIM

    ARA Asset Management group chief executive and founder and chairman of the Lim Hoon Foundation

    KIT CHAN

    Singer and actress

    SALEEMAH ISMAIL

    Social entrepreneur and activist for children and women

    WILLIN LOW

    Chef and restaurateur

From today, readers can go online to nominate individuals or groups for the award.

Editor-in-chief of Singapore Press Holdings' English/Malay/ Tamil Media group and ST editor Warren Fernandez said: "Once again, we're on the lookout for people whose lives and stories inspire others.

"This could be through their own work and actions, their ideas, projects or contributions in various fields. We hope to find a list of nominees, from a wide spectrum of society, with stories that resonate with Singaporeans."

The award, supported by the bank UBS Singapore, will be given out next February.

The Singaporean Of The Year will receive $20,000 and a trophy, while the other nine nominees will each get $5,000, all sponsored by UBS.

UBS Singapore country head Edmund Koh said the bank was proud to sponsor the award once more.

"UBS seeks to contribute to all of the communities in which it operates and through its values, encourages all its employees to mirror the goodwill, integrity and courage displayed by contenders for this award," said Mr Koh.

Nominations are open from now until end November. Nominees must be Singapore citizens who have been in the news this year. They may not put themselves forward or be nominated by a member of their immediate family.

ST will reveal a shortlist of 10 candidates in January, before a public vote, which will be a factor in the final decision by a panel of 15 judges.

•For more details about The Straits Times Singaporean Of The Year 2016, and to nominate someone, go to http://str.sg/soty2016

•For inquiries, send an e-mail with the subject heading "Singaporean Of The Year" to: STprojects@sph.com.sg

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 30, 2016, with the headline 'Wanted: People with inspiring lives, stories'. Print Edition | Subscribe