Tuesday 20 May 2014

Public Service Week 2014

Retired nurse tends to health-care needs of seniors
By Andrea Ong, The Straits Times, 19 May 2014

MADAM Yeo Chwee Fong spent 36 years as a nurse in hospitals all over Singapore.

But despite retiring 14 years ago, the 70-year-old is still conducting health screenings and dispensing useful advice on nutrition and health care.

The difference: The "patients" are her fellow residents, who affectionately call her "Missy" and banter with her in Mandarin, dialect and Malay.

She started volunteering at the Paya Lebar Wellness Centre in 2008, when the People's Association launched a wellness programme to encourage seniors aged 50 and above to stay active and adopt healthy lifestyles.

On Friday, the Public Service will honour her and four others with the PS21 Star Customer Award. It recognises members of the public who have contributed significantly in the delivery of public services.

Some 172 public officers and government agencies will also be getting awards from Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean at the ceremony, a highlight of Public Service Week, which starts today.

Director (services) of the Public Service Division's PS21 office Tay Choon Hong told The Straits Times that the Star Customer Award recipients actively contributed their local knowledge, valuable time and rich experience to help agencies improve their services. These can be delivered more effectively if the Public Service works in close partnership with the people it serves, he added.

In Madam Yeo's case, her neighbours are comfortable enough with her that they ask her questions they may not dare to pose to doctors in health-care institutions, such as how to interpret lab results.

"I've accumulated so much experience. What's the point of just keeping it? I can share, I can help out," she said.

Among the four other recipients of the Star Customer Award is Madam Saniah Rasban, 53, the resident superhero of Chong Pang. Trained in first aid and a member of the Citizens on Patrol programme, the grandmother of three has nabbed thieves, put out a fire and helped accident victims on several occasions.

Assistant director of the Singapore Police Force's service delivery department Shunmugam Krishnaraju said her commitment illustrates the adage that "it takes two hands to clap".

"This is especially so in law enforcement as we need the public to be our eyes and ears on the ground," he said.

Public Service Week will be marked by some 139,000 public officers, with agencies holding observance ceremonies. President Tony Tan Keng Yam will host some 650 officers to tea at the Istana on Thursday.

Helping others my natural instinct, says PS21 award recipient
By Louisa Tang, TODAY, 19 May 2014

From rendering first aid to a driver involved in an accident to helping to nab snatch thieves — this grandmother of three has done it all in her 18 years of helping her community in Yishun.

On Friday, Madam Saniah Rasban, 53, will be one of only five recipients of the PS21 Star Customer award, given out as part of Public Service Week celebrations. The award is presented to civic-minded members of the public who contribute significantly to their communities.

Speaking to TODAY last week, Mdm Saniah was modest about her contributions. “It’s my natural instinct to help,” she said. “I feel sincerely happy ... when I am able to look after the safety of my fellow residents and family.”

For the past decade, the full-time housewife patrolled her neighbourhood, initially as part of the Chong Pang Zone 4 Residents’ Committee (RC), before officially joining the Neighbourhood Watch Group one year ago.

Last year, Mdm Saniah helped the police on three occasions to nab criminal suspects. One such occasion included a case of snatch theft in March. Hearing cries for help while she was on her balcony, she rushed after the suspect and managed to detain him with the help of some passers-by.

Mdm Saniah also helped a driver whom she had witnessed in a collision with a parked trailer while she was on an evening stroll with her husband at Yishun Dam. “I rushed over to check the driver’s pulse and find out if he had cracked any bones,” she said, recounting that the driver was stuck in the car and covered in blood. “I ensured that he had no major injuries before the paramedics arrived.”

Mdm Saniah has also been heavily involved in the RC youth Malay dance group for the past eight years, bringing together youth from primary schools as well as 20-year-olds. “I talk to them at the void deck (and) playgrounds ... sometimes, they even come to me with their troubles,” she said.

Public Service Week was started in 2008 to build in public officers a sense of pride and belonging to the public service. Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, who is also Minister-in-charge of the Civil Service, said: “Our officers dedicate themselves in so many different ways to making life better for Singaporeans and to make Singapore better. I would like to thank all of you for your hard work.”

A total of 177 awards in four categories — the others being the Best Practice Award, PS21 Star Service Award and PS21 Distinguished Star Service Award — will be given to public officers, agencies and members of the public at Friday’s annual Excellence in Public Service Awards Ceremony.

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