Nominations open for Silent Heroes Awards

Senior Minister of State Sim Ann with Mr Leong Sow Hoe, president of the Insurance and Financial Practitioners Association of Singapore, which supports the awards; and Mr M. P. Sellvem, president of the Civilians Association of Singapore, which organ
Senior Minister of State Sim Ann with Mr Leong Sow Hoe, president of the Insurance and Financial Practitioners Association of Singapore, which supports the awards; and Mr M. P. Sellvem, president of the Civilians Association of Singapore, which organises the awards, at the launch of nominations yesterday.PHOTO: SUSANNA CHIA

Grandmother Jayamany Overithi has surely earned the right to put her feet up, but the energetic retiree is an enthusiastic volunteer with 14 organisations, including hospitals and community clubs.

Madam Jayamany, 71, puts in six hours daily from Sunday to the following Saturday helping others, a selfless undertaking that has lasted for more than 20 years.

"I love it," she said.

She works with the elderly, has helped tutor young children and spends time with those who are partially paralysed.

Her family jokes that they do not see her much because of her commitments.

"Whenever I help the elderly, it is almost as if I am taking care of my own mother. Seeing smiling faces and spending time with them makes me very happy," said Madam Jayamany, a grandmother of three.

Her sterling work has not gone unnoticed: In 2016, she won the Silent Heroes Award, which was conferred by the Hillview Civilians Club, now known as the Civilians Association of Singapore.

Madam Jayamany was one of five winners that year, clinching her award under the Pioneer of Promise category.

The awards aim to recognise unsung champions who display extraordinary humanity and compassion to people, causes and missions.

Nominations close on June 30. The public can nominate Singaporeans or permanent residents who have contributed to society.

There are four categories: Hearts of Humanity, Pioneers of Promise, Outstanding Adults and Inspiring Youth. Nominations can be made at www.sgsilentheroes.com

Ms Sim Ann, Senior Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth and Communications and Information, said at the launch of the nominations process yesterday at Prudential Tower in Cecil Street: "These silent heroes may go unnoticed, but what they do is valuable and impactful.

"They often extend a helping hand, uplifting many lives in the process and making a difference in the community."

Madam Jayamany said her win in 2016 came as a shock: "I didn't even know until I got the invitation letter. But I'm thankful, as receiving it gave me the chance to help even more people afterwards."

She added that people were more likely to approach her for assistance, knowing that she would always extend a helping hand.

She is also keen to help another silent hero receive recognition.

"I will definitely try to nominate someone this year."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 19, 2019, with the headline 'Nominations open for Silent Heroes Awards'. Print Edition | Subscribe