Meet the first Straits Times Singaporean of the year

Madam Noriza became the first person to win this award.

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The 50 year old saleswoman beat 9 other contenders to take home this inaugural award. The award is given out to persons whom have changed the lives of others or their community through extraordinary acts of goodwill, ingenuity or perseverance.

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What did Madam Noriza do?

She did what nobody else wanted to, in fact everyone avoided and ignored the situation, I most likely would have been a victim of the bystander effect too.

Not Madam Noriza though. She made headlines in 2014 when she reached out to an elderly man who had soiled himself in Toa Payoh. The elderly man was with his wheelchair-bound wife at the time after shopping for groceries.

Nobody else had offered to help the elderly man, whose stench had turned members of the public away. Madam Noriza was unfazed by the smell and knelt down to wipe the elderly man and bought him new shorts. Her act moved a bystander to tears.

She did not stop there, however. Since that day, she has regularly used her days off to visit Mr Tan Soy Yong and his wife Lee Bee Yian, both 76, even after they were moved into nursing homes.

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Madam Noriza said of her win: “I’m speechless. I feel very happy but also a bit sad because uncle (Mr Tan) could not be here today. But I felt like he was here beside me when I went on stage.

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“I hope everyone will do something like me and not ignore people who are poor and handicapped. Actually, they don’t want to be in this kind of situation. Don’t neglect them.”

Kudos to Madam Noriza, a deserved recognition for the love she had for a stranger and for taking it upon herself to go above and beyond to care for the elderly man and his wife.

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