East Coast Park rescuers get award
He had not swum in a decade.
But while walking in East Coast Park on May 8 with his wife, he heard a group of boys screaming for help.
Mr Tan Kian Choon, 53, did not hesitate and jumped into the water and helped a woman save one of them. One of the other boys drowned.
Yesterday, Mr Tan and the woman, Ms Silvia Hajas, 47, a housewife, became the first recipients of the Singapore Civil Defence Force's (SCDF) Community Lifesaver Award.
It is given to those who risk their lives to save others.
Mr Tan, who is self-employed, said at the presentation: "My wife and I heard the boys shouting for help, and at first I thought it wasn't serious."
Then they saw Ms Hajas pulling a boy out of the water. He was the second child she had saved.
Said Ms Hajas: "I was exhausted after going back and forth to save two boys, so I asked him for help."
Mr Tan grabbed a lifebuoy and the two swam 50m and used it to save the third boy. The fourth boy, Muhammad Suhaimi Sabastian, 12, drowned.
Yesterday, Commander of the 2nd SCDF Division, Colonel Alan Toh, presented the two heroes with their awards.
Mr Tan's wife, Madam Yvonne Gan, 48, a housewife, told TNP: "My only thought was the two boys in the water. I told my husband to go in and save them, not knowing how strong the current was.
"It was only later that it sunk in that I could've lost my husband."
Colonel Abdul Razak Raheem, director of the SCDF's public affairs department, said the Community Lifesaver Award and Community First Responder Award, introduced yesterday, were to encourage the public to help anyone in need.