Top 15 feel-good stories of 2015

1. Trailer truck heroes


Members of the public who helped Mr Kim out from under the trailer received the public-spiritedness awards by the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF). PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

South Korean tourist Kim Sung Mo thought his life was in grave peril after he found himself trapped under a trailer truck at the junction of Boon Keng Road in July. 

Thankfully, passers-by who witnessed the accident rushed in to help. At least 30 members of the public formed a line to prop up the lorry. 

“Man screaming… then all walk(s) of life came to help. Well done Singapore,” said Facebook user Foo Suan Wang who uploaded the video. Months later, seven of the good Samaritans would be identified and rewarded with a free trip to South Korea.

Read more here and here.

2. Lighter side of rail life  


McDonald's staff handing out free drinks to the commuters waiting to get home. PHOTO: LILYJAMESGREY/TWITTER

The massive train disruption on the North-South and East-West lines earlier this year seemed to have brought out the creativity among frustrated commuters. 

“Is this the rail life? Is this just fantasy. Caught in a packed ride. No escape from this MRT,” wrote one Facebook user Billy Teo.

There was also no shortage of goodwill. Staff from Changi Airport and fast-food restaurant McDonald's were seen handing out free drinks. 

Some commuters also carpooled with strangers, posting their travels on social media platform Twitter with the hashtag #ThingsIDidWhenMRTWasDown.

Read more here.

3. Foreign workers to the rescue


 Mr P. Muthukumar (right) and Mr S. Shanmuganathan with Naureh Fitria Auni, the girl they saved. PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

It was a scene straight out of a movie - a two-year-old girl was dangling precariously, stuck between the rails of the second floor of a Housing Board block. 

Luckily for her, two men rushed to her aid, and one of them even clambered up the Jurong East block to catch her. 

The two men were later identified to be foreign workers Subramanian Shanmuganathan and Ponnan Muthukumar. 

They each received the SCDF Public Spiritedness Award in April this year for their selfless act.

Read more here and here.

4. Here's to you Mr Robertson 


More than US$100,000 (S$135,000) have been raised for James Robertson from Detroit. PHOTO: GOFUNDME

Detroit resident James Robertson walks more than 33 km each day to and from work. 

The factory worker began this gruelling routine a decade ago, when his Honda Accord broke down. His supervisor said he has never missed a day of work.

Help began to pour in from the public after Mr Robertson’s story made headlines in February. One online donation drive raised more than $135,000.

Read more here.

5. Live and let dive 


Filipino diver John David Pahoyo with his botched dive in the men's 3m springboard at the OCBC Aquatic Centre on June 6, 2015. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM YOUTUBE

Laughing stock? No sweat, says Filipino diver John David Pahoyo. The athlete who was in town for the SEA Games in June was widely mocked online after a video of his failed dive went viral. 

One video, hosted on local humour site SGAG’s Facebook page, racked up millions of views. 

But Pahoyo himself found levity in the situation. “This was not the first time I failed a dive. And I am still proud because not all of us has the privilege to represent our own country to such a big sporting event like this,” he told his detractors, earning plaudits aplenty.

Read more here.

6. Rallying together after tragedy


Tributes left for victims of the Sabah earthquake at Tanjong Katong Primary School on June 11, 2015. ST PHOTO: TED CHEN

An earthquake struck Sabah in June this year, claiming more than 19 lives. Among its victims were students and teachers from Tanjong Katong Primary School.

The Education Ministry set up a fund for dependents of Singaporeans who lost their lives to the tragedy, as well as trainers and guides in Sabah.

As of Aug 31, close to $1 million had been collected, the ministry said.

Read more here and view the press release here.

7.  Profile in courage


Mr Patrick Chan, 56, (third from left) and his wife Lily Cheok, 63, with their sons (from left) Shamus, 29; Sean, 25; Enoch, 23; and Jonah, 24. Shamus' four-year-old daughter, Cassiel, is sitting on the floor. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

Former cop Patrick Chan has not had an easy life. Only Shamus, his eldest son, was born healthy. 

Sons Sean and Enoch, his second and fourth, have Down Syndrome, while Jonah weighed only 916g at birth and had to spend nearly five months in intensive care.

Read this tale of courage and perseverance here.

8.  Help for ailing baby


Baby Xie Yujia and her mother Jamie Chua are aiming to raise enough money so that Yujia can go to Boston for reconstructive surgery. PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

Baby Xie Yujia was born with a congenital defect - her oesophagus, or food pipe, is not connected to her stomach.

The baby has had to undergo numerous operations, and has so far suffered a collapsed lung, a seizure and a detached retina.

Her mother Jamie Chua is banking on the kindness of strangers by setting up a crowdfunding site (with an incredible goal of $1.7 million) so that Yujia can go to Boston for reconstructive surgery.

People have so far donated more than $540,000, says crowdfunding site GIVEasia.

Read more here.

9. Scammed out of savings


Mr Tan Soy Kiang, 70, met one of the women who was allegedly cheating him of his earnings on Feb 4, a day after he received his pay packet. PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

A 70-year-old cleaner and pump attendant lost $400,000 to two women over a 15-year period.

Tan Soy Kiang, who is single, was told the money was for a non-existent debt he owed the Government. The issue came to light in 2013, only after his niece pressed him for the truth.

A crowdfunding campaign to help Tan has so far raised close to $70,000.

Read about the generosity of the public here.

10. Happily ever after


Raelene and her husband Soo Ren telling their story during an interview. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM YOUTUBE

After 46 years of marriage, love is very much still in the air for Australian-born Raelene and her husband Tan Soo Ren.

Their moving love story was highlighted earlier this year by Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam. It was uploaded as part of the Singapore Memory Project.

"I was coming home from work one very rainy day and you turned up at Kilburn Station with a spare umbrella, and you simply said 'I thought I'd come and meet you so you wouldn't get wet'. I knew then that this was a really special person,” said Raelene to her husband in the video that has garnered more than 400,000 views.

Read about Raelene and Soo Ren's love here.

11. Rest in Peace with the Force


Daniel Fleetwood and his wife Ashley. PHOTO: ASHLEY FLEETWOOD/FACEBOOK

Ardent Star Wars fan Daniel Fleetwood was able to see his dreams come true just before he succumbed to cancer. 

The 31-year-old saw an early version of the film franchise’ latest instalment, thanks to fans who helped spread the news with hashtags ForceForDaniel on Twitter and Reddit.

"Daniel put up an amazing fight to the very end," his wife wrote. "He is now one with God and with the force."

Read more here.

12. Good samaritan student


The Edgefield Secondary School student took off his shoes and offered them to the young boy, who was barefooted. PHOTO: ZEN GINJI/FACEBOOK

An Edgefield Secondary School student made news at the start of the year after he was photographed helping out a young boy who appeared to be lost.

The student, who has yet to be identified, not only tried to help him out, but he also offered the boy his shoes.

Read more here.

13. Cat crisis 1 


The foreign worker parked himself in a cavity on the side of the drain and reached down to save the cat. PHOTO: YISHUN 326 TABBY CAT/FACEBOOK

It was wet, slippery and the water from the drain was rising but a kind-hearted foreign worker did not hesitate to swing into action to save a drowning cat.

Read more here.

14. Cat crisis 2 


Ginger, the seven-year-old cat was found with serious head injuries in Baylands Building in Middle Road. PHOTO: SAVE GINGER THE WATERLOO CAT / FACEBOOK

A seven-year-old neighbourhood cat sustained serious head injuries after it was knocked down by a motorcycle in June earlier this year.

A group of animal lovers banded together to raise funds to cover the cat medical expenses. 

More than $6,000 has been raised so far.

Read more here.

15. Eat for a good cause


A full house at Strangers' Reunion cafe on a Tuesday (Dec 8) in support of the eatery's cancer-stricken head chef. PHOTO: ANJALI RAGURAMAN

People thronged Strangers’ Reunion cafe and Curious Palette in Kampong Bahru Road in support of cancer-stricken head chef Sebastian Tan.

Staff from the outlets, which are usually closed on Tuesdays, came back to work for free on those days. The takings will go towards paying for his cancer treatment.

The cafes will continue to open on Tuesdays until they reach the target of about $100,000. 

Read more here.