Marathon runner who raised $120k dressed as Catwoman in 2012 wins volunteerism award

Madam Jenap M. Said is often seen volunteering at events to help ex-offenders who know her best as "Catwoman".
Madam Jenap M. Said is often seen volunteering at events to help ex-offenders who know her best as "Catwoman".PHOTO: Yellow Ribbon Singapore

SINGAPORE - Madam Jenap M. Said is often seen volunteering at events to help former offenders, many of whom know her best as "Catwoman".

The 61-year-old Yellow Ribbon Singapore volunteer made a name for herself participating in charity marathons and events, often dressed as the iconic cat burglar.

In 2012, she single-handedly raised $120,000 in donations to support former offenders in their studies, by running 60km dressed in full costume.

It marked the highlight of more than a decade of volunteer work that Madam Jenap devoted many weekends to, while working full time as a quality manager at a market research firm.

"I believe that in life you have to do some volunteer work for others. Especially at my age, you can meet and interact with others," she told The Straits Times.

Madam Jenap is one of four recipients who were awarded the Outstanding Volunteer Award during the Home Team Volunteer Network (HTVN) 10th anniversary event, which was conducted online on Thursday (Oct 28).

Another 16 received the Commendation Award for their work in the network, which started in 2011 and has around 15,000 volunteers from all walks of life.

Law and Home Affairs minister K. Shanmugam, who was the guest of honour, said in his welcome address that the volunteers' work helped make Singapore a safer place.

"This safety is made possible because of the strong partnership of the community, our volunteers - all of you who serve as additional operational forces on the ground, and provide different perspectives, ideas, solutions on how to keep Singapore safe," he said.

The volunteers' roles include assisting with policing and emergency response, preventive drug education outreach or be-friending former offenders.

Another Outstanding Volunteer Award recipient, Mr Pragash Kulasagar, 54, was recognised for his role as a citizen-on-patrol (Cop) leader in the Ang Mo Kio South area.


Mr Pragash Kulasagar was recognised for his role as a citizen-on-patrol leader in the Ang Mo Kio South area. PHOTO: SPF

Cop volunteers are attached to a neighbourhood police centre and help to patrol the area, disseminate crime prevention advisories and report suspicious matters or crimes in progress.

In his 15 years as a Cop, Mr Pragash reported many suspicious activities at public areas, as well as a harassment case where an elderly woman was tormented by loan sharks.

The work is unpaid, yet he consistently devotes more than the minimum two hours required of volunteers each month, even clocking in 50 hours of patrol in 2019 before the pandemic hit.

"I feel a sense of responsibility for our estate," said Mr Pragash, who works as a technician at the airport.

"When we help people, we feel good too. That's how we motivate ourselves."

Retired firefighter Yunnos Shariff hung up his boots in 2003 after 41 years of service. But he stayed on to volunteer as a guide at the Civil Defence Heritage Gallery, conducting tours for visitors and Singapore Civil Defence Force recruits.


Retired firefighter Yunnos Shariff stayed on to volunteer as a guide at the Civil Defence Heritage Gallery, conducting tours for visitors and Singapore Civil Defence Force recruits. PHOTO: COURTESY OF MR YUNNOS SHARIFF

At 77, he is among the most senior volunteers at the HTVN, and was recognised with the Outstanding Volunteer Award on Thursday.

"I'm very happy about this gift for my long service," said Mr Yunnos, who contributed many personal memorabilia to the gallery, such as patches collected from firemen who visit Singapore, and part of his personal collection of some 700 firetruck models.

"I'm gifted with my experience so I want to share it with the younger generations."