The Straits Times Singaporean of the Year 2015 award: Meet the second batch of nominees

(From left) Madam Noriza A. Mansor, Mr Peter Ho, Mr Joshua Khoo and Mr Dylan Ong.
(From left) Madam Noriza A. Mansor, Mr Peter Ho, Mr Joshua Khoo and Mr Dylan Ong.ST PHOTOS: ONG WEE JIN, TIFFANY GOH, YEO KAI WEN

SINGAPORE - A good Samaritan, a pair of chefs determined to serve high-end cuisine at low prices, and an engineer with big dreams for Singapore - these are the next batch of candidates shortlisted for the inaugural Straits Times Singaporean Of The Year 2015 award.

Supported by the bank UBS Singapore, it seeks to recognise Singaporeans whose extraordinary acts of goodwill, ingenuity or perseverance have improved their community and the lives of others.

Individuals or groups can be nominated for the award until the end of the year.

Six candidates have now been shortlisted and the full shortlist of 10 will be released next month.

The latest three are Madam Noriza A. Mansor, 50, who stepped forward to help a complete stranger, Mr Tan Soy Yong, when he soiled himself in public. She has since "adopted" the 76-year-old and his wife as her "parents".

Engineer Peter Ho, 37, has also been nominated. The co-founder of tech company Hope Technik hopes to make Singapore's presence on the world map felt through technology.

Also shortlisted are Mr Dylan Ong, 28, and Mr Joshua Khoo, 31, who founded restaurant chain Saveur to give the average Singaporean the chance to eat fancy French cuisine without breaking the bank.

The Singaporean Of The Year will receive $20,000 and a trophy, and the other nine nominees will each get $5,000, all sponsored by UBS.

After the shortlist of 10 candidates is released, there will be a public vote, which will be a factor in the final decision to be made by a panel of 15 judges. The panel will comprise editors and senior writers from the ST newsroom, as well as others from various walks of life, including singer Kit Chan, youth leader David Hoe and chef Willin Low.

Noriza A. Mansor

Madam Noriza A. Mansor got to know a 76-year-old after helping him when he soiled himself while out with his wheelchair-bound wife. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

In a nursing home ward, Mr Tan Soy Yong, 76, lay listlessly in bed. But when Madam Noriza A. Mansor walked into the room, his face lit up and he raised a hand in greeting.

The 50-year-old bedsheet promoter is no blood relation of Mr Tan's but, for more than a year, she has spent most of her days off looking after him.

Their relationship started in October last year when she helped Mr Tan, who had soiled himself while buying groceries with his wheelchair-bound wife.


Peter Ho

Mr Peter Ho gave up his job as a race car engineer and started Hope Technik with three others in 2006. PHOTO: TIFFANY GOH FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Mr Peter Ho believes in "super soldiers". They may sound like the stuff of Hollywood movies such as The Avengers, but the co-founder of start-up Hope Technik is not being ingenuous.

The home-grown company specialises in high-performance engineering for the military, motorsport and biomedical industries.

A jaunt through its Penjuru Close workshop yielded glimpses of exoskeletons, such as mechanical limbs that Mr Ho said would allow "a skinny guy like me to lift four people with one hand".


Dylan Ong and Joshua Khoo

Chefs Joshua Khoo (left) and Dylan Ong, who trained at Shatec, opened Saveur four years ago with the aim of keeping prices low. ST PHOTO: YEO KAI WEN

Mr Dylan Ong has a tattoo of Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper on his right forearm. "It's related to my passion for food. And it reminds me that I must always serve others," he says.

Mr Ong, 28, and business partner Joshua Khoo, 31, do that - on more than one level. The duo opened French restaurant Saveur four years ago to serve haute cuisine, but at prices that would be easy on the average Singaporean's wallet.

"Our dream was to bring French food to the masses," said Mr Khoo.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 14, 2015, with the headline 'How to nominate'. Print Edition | Subscribe