Doing their bit for the Games
Twenty-one years ago, he was one of the first to sign up to be a volunteer when Singapore hosted the 1993 South-east Asia (SEA) Games.
With the Republic hosting the biennial games again next year, one can expect Salim Suri, 61, to throw his name into the hat again.
"It comes from my heart. I love to volunteer and give back to the community. It's as simple as that," said the father of two, who was at the official launch of the 28th SEA Games and the 8th Asean Para Games at The Meadows@Gardens by the Bay yesterday.
He added: "I don't just donate my time for sporting events but I also do my bit for community outreaches such as cleaning mosques and even counselling."
Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong said in his speech yesterday that 12,000 volunteers have pledged their support - 5,000 by sign-ups and 7,000 by pledges from ITE's and polytechnics
According to Pauline Loo, head of volunteer management for the Singapore Sports Council, some 15,000 volunteers are expected to sign up for the Games.
"We make sure that they will receive specialised training between September this year and May next year to familiarise themselves with the venues and how to treat the guests and fans," she said.
Apart from Salim, a pair of father and son have also signed up as volunteers.
Richard Yin, 47, used to be the head of volunteer logistics for the 2010 and 2011 Singapore Grand Prix race.
His son Heinrich Yin, 15, is following in his father's footsteps.
While the Sec 4 student at Beatty Secondary School has only volunteered for one event so far, he is still looking forward to getting more hours under his belt, just like his father.
"Volunteers are the nucleus of any major event. Without them, nothing works," said the older Yin.
While he admits that he hasn't been volunteering as much as some of the others, Yin couldn't pass up a chance to help out at the SEA Games.
"Back in 1993, I wasn't so interested. But this is a chance I just can't miss. And I hope to set a good example for my only son," he said.
His son seems to think so.
Heinrich said: "I want to follow in my father's footsteps. The SEA Games will be the biggest event I've helped out with and I'm looking forward to it."
Recalling the Games in '93, Salim said the crowd back then cheered the home athletes as loud as they could.
"They were very loud," he recalled with a grin.
He added: "It gave me goosebumps to hear the crowd cheer so much."
And while Salim has had his fill of volunteering, he has no plans of slowing down.
"After over 20 years, it's finally back. I can't wait to help out and serve my country," said Salim. "I pray to God that I have the strength to help out for years to come. Nothing can stop me."
These volunteers aren't the only ones who cannot wait for the Games to begin.
Alvin Teo, 24, is planning to get tickets for the swimming events.
"I think swimming is a sport where we can win a lot of medals. I'll definitely watch them 'live'," said the Singapore Management University student.
*Those interested to sign up as volunteers can find more details online at http://www.seagames2015.com/get-involved/be-a-volunteer