PETALING JAYA: Malaysians who performed exceptional acts of charity and kindness to bring different communities together were honoured at the inaugural Star Golden Hearts Awards on Wednesday.
The recipients of different races and backgrounds had looked beyond their skin colour to voluntarily assist fellow Malaysians in need – whether it was caring for an old man’s medical needs, rescuing stranded mountain climbers during an earthquake, helping a woman who had gone into labour in the middle of a shopping complex, or providing education to underprivileged children.
Star Media Group chairman Datuk Fu Ah Kiow said these ordinary heroes exemplified the true Malaysian spirit.
“The Star being a news organisation that believes in moderation, we recognise that these activities go a long way in inspiring more Malaysians and companies to promote such acts,” he said at the awards presentation ceremony at Menara Star.
Among the recipients was twenty-seven year-old Penangite Shirin Aziha Shahidan, who was featured in The Star earlier this year for caring for her 79-year-old neighbour who suffers from an enlarged left leg.
Shirin had been taking care of Uncle Ah San, whose real name is Lim Kim Sung, since she was 10. This year, she enlisted the help of social activist Syed Azmi Alhabshi to raise funds online to cater to Lim’s medical needs.
Also hailed for their heroic efforts were the Mount Kinabalu guides who risked their lives to rescue injured and stranded mountain climbers during the Sabah earthquake in June.
Four female teenagers went from ordinary citizens to young heroes when they helped deliver the baby of a woman who had gone into labour outside the Sunway Pyramid Shopping Mall.
Shirley Lee, Farhana Mohd Fadzli, Wee Tai May, and Wong Hui Yu, aged from 15 to 19, were recognised by the awards committee for their courage and quick thinking during the emergency.
The other recipients of the award included R. Rajagopal, who selflessly took care of his friend, Low Saw Piow, by providing food and shelter when the latter found himself homeless.
Abdul Muhsi Ramlan’s courageous deed in assisting a student passed out on the road following an accident, Dr S, Madhusudhan’s voluntary mobile clinic service to the homeless, the efforts of three Teach for Malaysia fellows in providing education to underprivileged children, and Mastura M. Rashid’s noble efforts in taking homeless people off the streets via The Nasi Lemak Project – these were all inspiring acts worthy of recognition.
Ecoworld Foundation chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, who headed the awards judging committee, said the shortlisting process was an enriching experience.
“The dedication and hard work in helping saving and caring for others was very much in evidence.
“These indivuduals have one thing in common – putting their heart, soul, and dedication into something they truly believe in. By providing solace and care to those in need, they have given meaning to a truly caring society.”
The recipients were selected based on the criteria of offering voluntary services to those from different ethnicities who were in urgent need of assistance, and by doing so, promoting racial harmony and unity.