National Kindness Award recognises transport staff who went the extra mile

Transport Minister S. Iswaran (left) presenting Mr Noh Abdul Sukor with the Outstanding Award, on Dec 1, 2021. PHOTO: SINGAPORE KINDNESS MOVEMENT

SINGAPORE - A normal workday at Tanah Merah MRT station took a sharp turn for station manager Muhammad Noh Abdul Sukor when a panicked man rushed up to the passenger service centre, clutching his unconscious baby.

Speaking rapidly, the man told Mr Noh that his one-year-old daughter had suffered a seizure.

"At first, I was scared and shocked," said Mr Noh, 38, recalling the incident in August last year.

"His baby's skin was turning blue and I was very worried that she was choking on something. Her breathing was also laboured."

Mr Noh, who is first aid-trained, immediately checked the girl's pulse and asked the assistant manager to call for an ambulance.

He instructed the man to carry his daughter face down while patting her gently. The girl vomited and regained consciousness about a minute later.

On Wednesday (Dec 1), Mr Noh was among 30 service staff from the transport industry who received the Outstanding Award at the 22nd National Kindness Award - Transport Gold ceremony at the Asian Civilisations Museum.

A record-high total of 568 transport staff who went the extra mile in the past year received the Transport Gold award.

The Caring Commuter Award was also presented to seven people who had performed acts of exemplary kindness and consideration to fellow commuters.

TransitLink customer service officer Parameswari Silakumaran, 31, picked up an Outstanding Award for regularly helping out commuters in a pinch to pay for their ez-link top-ups or replacement card.

Once, Ms Parameswari was approached at Hougang Bus Interchange by a teenager who was short of less than $2 to replace her younger sister's damaged concession card.

Ms Parameswari Silakumaran (centre) receiving the Outstanding Award from Mr S. Iswaran (left), on Dec 1, 2021. PHOTO: SINGAPORE KINDNESS MOVEMENT

Without hesitation, the customer service officer offered to pay the balance, and declined the girl's offer to return the money via PayNow and a $5 FairPrice voucher.

Ms Parameswari, who grew up with a single mother, said she received a lot of financial assistance as a child to pay for her education, and this was her way of giving back to the community.

"I don't mind giving small sums of money. When I see people who don't have enough cash, I know how it feels because I went through the same thing," she said.

Ms Susanty Yaakop received the Outstanding Award for her exemplary service as a TransitLink customer service officer at Bedok Bus Interchange, where she patiently helps an elderly commuter top up his concession card each month.

As she has a family member with dementia, Ms Susanty, 42, recognised that Mr Chin Kwek Chong, who is in his 80s, had the same condition.

Ms Susanty Yaakop (centre) receiving the Outstanding Award from Transport Minister S. Iswaran (left) on Dec 1, 2021. PHOTO: SINGAPORE KINDNESS MOVEMENT

Although communication was difficult as Mr Chin cannot speak clearly and murmurs, Ms Susanty has learnt to patiently use gestures such as pointing towards the screen and writing down words on paper to help Mr Chin understand.

Speaking at the award ceremony, Transport Minister S. Iswaran praised the transport service staff for their inspiring acts of kindness.

"Lending a helping hand without hesitation, no matter how big or small the deed, makes a difference and it leaves an indelible positive imprint on our society," he added.

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