Singapore

Clerk is volunteer driver for elderly diabetic

Part of a series featuring six ordinary heroes who have made a difference to other strangers’ lives. Their heartwarming deeds are celebrated in the ongoing Good Man Good Deeds Good Rice campaign collaboration between Chinese evening daily LIanhe Wanbao and Tong Seng Produce’s rice brand SongHe. In their name, Tong Seng will donate 500kg of SongHe rice and 60 litres of canola oil to their charity of choice.

Every six months, Madam Irene Tan has a date - with the diabetic Madam Sam Yock Yien. Although the two are unrelated, Madam Tan, a 53-year-old clerk, insists on sending the elderly Madam Sam to her routine hospital check-ups.

Madam Tan, who lives in Yishun, is an active community volunteer who got involved because she was tired of surfing the web at home. Her children said her volunteering has made her cheerier than before.

While planting at the neighbourhood park, Madam Tan met Madam Sam, who has to go for a check-up at Singapore General Hospital every six months.

Madam Tan learnt that Madam Sam had a hard time getting to the hospital - she found it hard to get cabs and difficult to get seats if she went by train.

She then offered to drive Madam Sam to the hospital.

"It does not take me five minutes to drive from my place to hers," Madam Tan said.

The two developed a warm relationship. One time, when Madam Sam felt an ache in her stomach, she called Madam Tan, who immediately rushed over with her son.

"I tell my kids, when your grandmother goes to the hospital, your auntie, your mother and our maid will follow. But Madam Sam is alone," she said.

Madam Tan attributed her giving spirit to her secondary school teacher who encouraged her to stay in school.

"My teacher told me when I have the ability to do so, I should help others as well," Madam Tan said.

She also gives out free bread and fruits to needy residents every Wednesday night at her residents' committee centre and leads residents in exercising on Sunday mornings.

Madam Tan's charity is the Sree Narayana Mission nursing home.

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