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Helping others my natural instinct, says PS21 award recipient

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.

SINGAPORE: 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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