Kind woman who helped injured elderly at Chinese Garden meets him after reading his Stomp report, gets big hug from him and receives SCDF award

The elderly Stomper who had gotten injured at Chinese Garden on May 27 finally got to meet the Good Samaritan who helped him.

Stomp had arranged for both parties to meet at Taman Jurong Emergency Preparedness Day 2016, held this morning (June 26) at Block 365 Corporation Road.

In an exclusive interview with Stomp, Mr Yeong Wan Loy, 69, and Ms Lakshmeran Mahalakshmi, 45, recounted what happened that fateful day when the accident happened.

Ms Lakshmeran also received the Public Spiritedness Award from the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), which Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam presented to her.

In earlier report, Mr Yeong had written in to Stomp about his mishap and how a woman came forward to help him.

The regular Stomp contributor also expressed his wishes to "meet the woman face-to-face to express my heartfelt thanks with a big hug."

Ms Lakshmeran, who saw his article the very same day it was published on May 30, then wrote in to Stomp to identify herself.

Mr Yeong, who is a retiree and part of a community that holds walks around Singapore every Tuesday, had been waiting for his friend at Chinese Garden that Friday morning, so that they could do a recce of the place for their next event.

He said, "At that time, I already saw Ms Lakshmeren at the main entrance. I turned around to wave good morning to her after passing them.

"Unfortunately, I took a misstep and tripped. There was a railing by the side of the bridge that prevented people from falling into the river, which I knocked into."

That was when Ms Lakshmeren turned around, saw that Mr Yeong was lying on the ground and rushed over to him.

"There was a deep gash on his head. There was a lot of blood and it was all over his shirt," recalled Ms Lakshmeren, a pre-school principal with the PAP Community Foundation (PCF). She had been attending a family carnival with fellow teachers on the day of the accident.

Adept at cardiopulmonary resuscitation and first-aid due to the nature of her job, Ms Lakshmeren put her skills to good use by helping Mr Yeong.

She applied pressure on his wound, as well as tried to keep him calm throughout.

"He kept saying that he did not want to go to the hospital or need an ambulance, but I told him, 'Why not you just let them take a look first'. I tried to keep him conscious and luckily, he was quite responsive."

Not only did Ms Lakshmeren disperse crowds each time they started to form, she also stayed with Mr Yeong until an ambulance arrived 20 minutes later.

Mr Yeong was then sent to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital, where he received seven stitches on his forehead.

Asked about how he felt when the accident happened, Mr Yeong said, "I was actually quite worried about what was going to happen to me.

"I was very glad when my friends came, and that there was somebody who did not know me at all but was prepared to get down and rough to help me.

"I think I am very lucky in a few ways. Firstly, for her. And secondly, the wound was fortunately only on my forehead and not somewhere else like my eye."

Referring to his Stomp report, he added, "I write in to Stomp regularly about various issues and this time, I just wanted to thank her for her good deed. I'm glad she saw [the article]."

Ms Lakshmeren said she was "taken aback" when her assistant first showed her the Stomp article and asked, "Is this you?"

"I went, 'Oh my goodness, it's me'. I am very thankful that somebody appreciated me. I would have done it for anyone."

Asked if she had words of encouragement for other people who find themselves in similar situations, Ms Lakshmeren responded, "I would like people to be more forthcoming.

"My children always say that I am 'kpo', but it's just something I do. When I see a lost child or anyone in need, I will go help them.

"We should not just comment or take pictures. Some people even just look [at what is going on] and then leave.

"But it is not about whether something is within your capacity. Instead, just approach and see how you can help.

"I'm just so happy to see him (Mr Yeong) and know that he's okay."

Ms Lakshmeren was among the two citizens who received the Public Spiritedness Award today morning.

Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnamm, who was the Guest-Of-Honour at the Emergency Preparedness Day event, said in his opening speech that while Singapore is usually quite safe, "Anything can happen anytime" and that "we should all help each other."