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Big Hearts, Big Dreams: Stories of ST Singaporean of the Year finalists advised in new e book, Lifestyle News & Top Stories

From serving to full strangers to placing Singapore on the world map, the selflessness and devotion of these nominated for The Straits Times Singaporean of the Year award is chronicled for posterity in a brand new e book.

Big Hearts, Big Dreams compiles the tales of the 31 individuals who have been within the operating for the award, which was begun in 2015 by The Straits Times and supported by financial institution UBS to recognise Singaporeans who had made headlines and impressed the neighborhood.

It took ST senior author Wong Kim Hoh two months to meet up with a lot of the award’s finalists from 2015 and 2016 and to flesh out their tales.

“It jolts you a bit to know that there are people out there who cared so deeply that they would do such selfless acts,” says the 56-year-old, who is finest identified for his interviews with inspiring Singaporeans in his weekly It Changed My Life collection in The Sunday Times.

Swimmer Joseph Schooling and his mother and father, May and Colin, gained final yr’s award after the 22-year-old took home Singapore’s first Olympic gold medal within the 100m butterfly in 2016.

In 2015, bedsheet promoter and single mom Noriza A. Mansor gained hearts when she helped an aged man who dirty himself in public and went on to befriend him and his spouse.

It is barely via tales that you just realise what you suppose is not possible is in reality attainable. Stories assist to floor us. They make us gripe much less and do extra.


Mr Wong spent late nights and weekends on prolonged interviews with the nominees with a purpose to decide up attention-grabbing nuggets from their histories that will allow him to retell their tales anew.

He spent three hours with the “effervescent” Ms Megan Loy, who nearly died from burn accidents sustained when a fireball ripped via a Taipei water theme park three years in the past.

Now a second-year medical scholar, she was nominated for the award final yr alongside plastic surgeon Chew Khong Yik and Associate Professor Tan Bien Keem, who helped to get her home from Taipei.

Without flinching, she recounted intimately to Mr Wong what it was prefer to be caught within the path of the fireball. She is now contemplating specialising in burns treatment and reconstructive surgical procedure.

Mr Wong additionally bought classical conductor Darrell Ang, who snagged a Grammy nomination for his first CD recording with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, to open up concerning the struggles his household went via to kick-start his music profession.

Ang’s mother and father needed to promote their home to place up the $75,000 exit and allow bond he wanted to go away for Vienna after finishing his O ranges. After he moved to Moscow to check, he lived within the basement of a church for at the least a yr and a half as a result of he couldn’t afford the lease elsewhere.

Last yr, he turned the conductor and inventive director of the Sichuan Symphony Orchestra, a uncommon appointment for a Singaporean.

“It takes guts and gumption to act on what you want to do,” says Mr Wong.

He is among the judges for the award, the third version of which might be given out on Feb 6 by President Halimah Yacob.

The 10 finalists this yr vary from para-athlete Jason Chee, who overcame the loss of his limbs and eye to clinch medals for Singapore in table-tennis, to award-winning film-maker Kirsten Tan and Ms Qin Yunquan, who teaches self-defence to the needy and former victims of crime.

Their tales might be included in later editions of the e book.

Mr Wong hopes Big Hearts, Big Dreams will encourage Singaporeans. “It is only through stories that you realise what you think is impossible is in fact possible. Stories help to ground us. They make us gripe less and do more.”

• Big Hearts, Big Dreams ($25) is offered at main bookstores.

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