Readers salute their Singapore heroes as part of ST's National Day contest

(Clockwise from top left) Mr Yap Tat Ming, 48, and his mentor and friend Mr Richard Lim; para-paddler Jason Chee, Dr Tan Cheng Bock, marathon runner Chan Meng Hui, and Member of Parliament for MacPherson Tin Pei Ling.
(Clockwise from top left) Mr Yap Tat Ming, 48, and his mentor and friend Mr Richard Lim; para-paddler Jason Chee, Dr Tan Cheng Bock, marathon runner Chan Meng Hui, and Member of Parliament for MacPherson Tin Pei Ling. PHOTOS: YAP TAT MING, ST FILE, LIANHE ZAOBAO FILE, ST FILE

SINGAPORE - From an ex-convict who has turned over a new leaf to a para-athlete with incredible resilience.

More than 90 readers wrote in to The Straits Times to share stories about the heroes in their lives as part of the newspaper's National Day contest. They were asked to describe their heroes in about 50 words.

Among those who took part in the contest, 25 won a pair of tickets each to the National Day Parade (NDP) on Thursday (Aug 9).

Here are 10 of the winning entries:

"Then 96-year-old Madam Tan Lai was featured among 'Extraordinary People' on TV in 1995. She collected cardboard and newspapers to support her disabled grandson and did not take anyone or anything for granted. In reality, she was not extraordinary. The late Madam Tan was a loving grandmother first and foremost." - Shawn Chua

"An ex-convict and drug addict who once terrorised Chinatown, Richard Lim would be the last person to be anyone's hero. But he turned over a new leaf and founded a children's shelter in a drug-plagued region. He proved it is possible to change and start anew. He is my hero." - Yap Tat Ming

"There is an old man working as a cleaner in Golden Mile Food Centre. On one occasion I saw him giving $2 to a paralysed begger. In another instance he gave $2 to a handicapped person busking at the food centre. He is truly my unsung Singaporean hero!" - Sim Kwang Seng

"Jason Chee is my hero. Undeterred by life's calamities, he never gives up and fights his way through every obstacle. His relentless spirit, boundless perseverance and formidable ability is inspiring proof that what trumps all, is heart." - Lee Kong Huat

 
 
 

"A maverick Singaporean pariot, Dr Tan Cheng Bock has Singapore's interests at heart although his opinions at times are at odds with the establishment. Why not? Politics is a nebulous word that cannot be defined but we also need to measure a hero by his societal contributions." -Ng Eng Kiat

"This is my friend Jimmy. Six years ago, we were holidaying on a beach in Bali. While swimming near the beach, I nearly drowned. If not for Jimmy who risked his life to pull me out from the torrential water, I will not be alive today." - Mah Kiat Seng

"My hero is my mum. Working quietly and not knowing to many, she has been one of the pioneers during the 80s that have scaled HDB flats floor-by-floor carrying heavy equipment to scrub and get rid of building debris, including hardened cement in each HDB flat. My true unsung hero behind the urbanisation of Singapore!" - Ong Kim Soo

"MP Tin Pei Ling showed me that despite criticisms and doubts over ability, one should have the tenacity to persevere, contribute more and talk less, and prove naysayers wrong. She is also a model to young people like me that we can make a difference to our country." - Sean Lim

"Chan Meng Hui is my Singaporean hero. I aspire to be fit, strong and healthy like him as I get older. Chan is 88 years old but he recently completed his 101st marathon in 2015, and is still actively running at his age. If he can run, what's stopping me?" - Chew Chin

"There are so many heros that I've amired and respect, but during our National Day, the only person I think of as my hero is Mr Lee Kuan Yew. He clearly had a central role in creating Singapore, and among other things, his zero corruption tolerance has made Singapore among the least corrupt and most efficient countries in the world." - Victor Chia