ST 12 Days of Christmas Surprises: Day 8 winner admires fiance's mum for her strength

The Day 8 winner of the inaugural The Straits Times 12 Days of Christmas Surprises contest is Ms Crystal Koh. -- ST GRAPHIC 
The Day 8 winner of the inaugural The Straits Times 12 Days of Christmas Surprises contest is Ms Crystal Koh. -- ST GRAPHIC 

It's the older woman's resilience that impresses marketing executive Crystal Koh, 26.

Four years ago, her then-boyfriend's mother, Mrs Carol Lim, suffered an inflamed spinal cord - she had a neurological condition called transverse myelitis. She was subsequently bedridden for seven months.

Over the next few years, Miss Koh witnesses the determination of Mrs Lim as she goes on her physiotherapy sessions. These days, the latter can even make short trips to the market on foot.

Inspired by the display of indomitable spirit, Miss Koh recommended Mrs Lim to receive a gift from The Straits Times 12 Days of Christmas Surprises.

As Day 8 winner of the contest, Miss Koh will give her future mother-in-law a Canon digital photo printer, courtesy of ST's presenting partner Standard Chartered.

Mrs Lim, a retired teacher, was diagnosed with the debilitating condition in December 2008 - seven months before Miss Koh met the former's eldest son Sean in mid-2009.

The two women grew "quite close as I frequently visited her at her house," said Miss Koh. She would also help Mrs Lim with daily tasks around the house, such as teaching the latter how to use a smartphone and how to surf the Internet.

No surprise Mrs Lim, 54, views Miss Koh as the daughter she never had.

Describing the latter as "caring and thoughtful", the mother of three boys said the young woman would often send her home-cards on birthdays and anniversaries.

On getting the photo printer from The Straits Times, Mrs Lim said: "I'm very happy and touched by her concern to make me happy."

ST, together with our presenting partner Standard Chartered, is offering readers the chance to win one mystery gift a day until Christmas eve as part of The Straits Times Appreciates Readers (Star) series.

Tech gadgets and household appliances worth $6,000 in total are being given away.

To take part, just tell us in no more than 40 words: "Why my loved one or I deserve to get a gift from The Straits Times."

E-mail your entry to and include your full name, NRIC number and cellphone number. The contest is open until Monday noon.

To check out readers' entries as well as find out how to join the contest, go to

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