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83-year-old grandmother who helped save man hanging from eighth-floor ledge receives Public Spirit Award

SINGAPORE – Three members of a family living in Tampines and their maid sprang into action to save a man on May 20, earning them the police’s Public Spirit Award on May 23.

At 11.30pm on May 20, Ms Siah Jia Lin had seen someone’s head on the edge of the eighth floor of a block of flats in Tampines while she was on her way to her grandmother’s apartment, where she usually stays overnight.

Siah, 20, who lives with her family on the fourth floor of the same block, saw a man hanging from the ledge. His shoes and belongings were organized in the hallway.

He quickly informed his grandmother, Ho Soo Pong, 83, and the older woman’s maid, Aye Nandar Aung, 35, who grabbed each of the man’s arms.

“He kept saying he was tired,” Ms Ho told media on May 23. “(My helper) was crying because he was afraid that the man would lose strength and let go of him if he fell asleep.”

Mrs Ho said: “I kept talking to him so he wouldn’t fall asleep.”

He added that he also told the man: “Don’t be discouraged. “Be brave and don’t compare yourself to people.”

Meanwhile, Siah called her younger sister, who was at home, and she told her father. She ran to the eighth floor and put her arm around the man’s torso to support him.

Ms Siah, a student at Singapore Management University, called the police before heading to the nearby police station.

She told the media: “It was the first time I had come across something like this. “I felt very anxious.”

His father, Siah Ee Fong, said: “I told myself to focus on saving him and not think too much.”

Siah, a 59-year-old manager in the communications industry, said the man kept apologizing to him and thanking Ms Ho while he was being held.

Siah, Ho and Aye Nandar Aung held the man down until police officers and Singapore Civil Defense Force (SCDF) rescuers arrived.

Siah said it felt like time was passing very slowly as they were desperate for help to arrive.

Mrs Ho added: “I panicked and wanted help to come quickly.”

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