Speech by Minister for Transport, Mr S Iswaran at the Transport Gold Awards

02 Dec 2022Speeches
Dr William Wan, General Secretary, Singapore Kindness Movement,
Colleagues from the transport community and Singapore Kindness Movement

1.     Good morning. I am very happy to join all of you today, to recognise our transport colleagues who have rendered exemplary service to the public and commuters. It is good that we are able to gather in person like this. I can feel the buzz as I came in and it speaks to the warmth and spirit that we have as a community and as we look to the future with optimism. This year, we have a total of 632 winners from 16 companies who will be recognised with the Transport Gold Award – the highest number of awardees in the award’s long 23-year history. We also know that these 632 winners are just the tip of the iceberg. There are many thousands of acts of kindness that take place everyday across our entire transport system and everyone of the people involved are winners.

2.     Public transport is close to the heart of all Singaporeans and is a part of our everyday life. From bus captains who greet us “good morning” as we board, to train station staff who ensure smooth operations, as well as drivers who ensure that we head to our destinations on time – we all have daily encounters with our transport workers. Ultimately, it is not just how good our infrastructure is, but also the dedication and warmth of service of our transport workers, that make Singapore’s transport system safe, reliable, convenient and pleasant. Today, I want to share a few stories that have inspired me and are symbolic of the kind of people that we have, and the culture that we continue to uphold and nurture. 

3.     First is the story of Ms Siti Nur Azimah, a customer service officer from TransitLink. When a member of public alerted her that a senior had fallen and sustained a head injury near Hougang Bus Interchange, Azimah rushed to render first aid to the senior, even though her shift had not started. She even went above and beyond the call of duty to stay with and care for the senior until the paramedics arrived and took over.

4.     Another example is that of Mr Ng Chee Seng, a senior bus captain from SMRT. While driving Bus 903, he noticed a boy wandering on Riverside Road amidst heavy traffic. Sensing that something was amiss, Mr Ng safely stopped the bus, and brought the lost eight-year-old boy onboard his bus back to Woodlands Integrated Transport Hub, where he entrusted the care of the boy to his colleagues to try to locate his parents. The story does not end there. While he was driving the return route, Mr Ng spotted the boy’s parents desperately looking for him in the same area, so he delivered the happy news that their son was safely cared for and was at the Woodlands Integrated Transport Hub. You can imagine the immense relief and gratitude of the parents, which was a result of Mr Ng’s quick thinking and willingness to go the extra mile.

5.     It is important that we celebrate acts of kindness like these, because it is very easy to take these things for granted. Every one of us can make a difference in anybody’s life just through one act of kindness, and every act of kindness begets kindness and will be paid forward. When somebody does a good deed for us, we feel even more motivated to do so for somebody else. It is only when we all come together to look out for one another that we can have a broader culture of mutual care and kindness among Singaporeans. 

6.     As a final example, I recently shared a post about eight students from Saint Andrews Junior College. They helped an elderly man who was stranded at Kovan MRT station when his personal mobility aid ran out of battery. The students pushed the elderly man to his destination about ten minutes away, so that he could charge his personal mobility aid. This is not a case of transport workers but fellow Singaporeans helping each other. I want to say to this group of SAJC students and many others like them, Lucas, Eldon, Kenny and friends, you have done us proud. 

7.     I hope the stories I’ve shared today will inspire all of us to be kinder in our daily lives. On this note, I want to commend Singapore Kindness Movement for raising public awareness of good deeds year after year through meaningful activities like today’s Transport Gold Award. I want to thank the entire team – staff, volunteers, and supporters of Singapore Kindness Movement for driving positive change in our society. As Dr William Wan said, kindness is infectious; it is a virus that we all want to catch.

8.     As we emerge stronger from the pandemic, let us continue to do our part in building a more gracious Singapore, one act of kindness at a time. Thank you.

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