National Day Awards 2019

Volunteering is in Gerald Balendran Singham's DNA

MR GERALD SINGHAM
MR GERALD SINGHAMPHOTO: DENTONS RODYK

Mr Gerald Balendran Singham
Chairman, National Crime Prevention Council,
Public Service Star (Bar)

Mr Gerald Singham credits his lifelong interest in volunteer work to his father.

"He belonged to the post-independence generation of Singaporeans who had so much less, yet did so much for the community," says the 58-year-old, who is deputy managing partner at law firm Dentons Rodyk.

He is also vice-chairman of racial harmony advocacy group OnePeople.sg

One of his most pressing tasks today is ensuring that elderly Singaporeans do not fall prey to scams.

"In the early years, there was physical crime - burglary, robbery. But crimes today have taken on a whole new typology with these scams," he says.

"A lot of work is being done by the (National Crime Prevention Council) to create greater public awareness and programmes for crime prevention."

Mr Singham especially treasures the bonds forged with fellow volunteers and the satisfaction gleaned from paying it forward to society at large.

 

The award, he says, is a reminder that public service is in itself a privilege. "It means that we are in circumstances where we have the capacity and means to help others."

Mr Singham believes that the titular phrase in the national anthem, Majulah Singapura, or "onward Singapore", rings as true today as it did for the country's pioneer leaders 54 years ago.

"That's my wish in every way possible - that Singapore is always moving onward and upward, both economically and multiracially as a cohesive society.

"Be an answer to somebody's prayer. That's always the case in public service - to try to help others on something that is meaningful and needed by them."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 09, 2019, with the headline 'Volunteering is in his DNA'. Print Edition | Subscribe