It was a Sunday morning like any other
for Mr Louis Chow Chee Loon and his family on 3 June 2012, until Mr
Chow, 41, an IT Manager at the Movement for the Intellectually
disabled of Singapore (MINDS), was alerted by his wife, who had heard
cries for help.
Mr Chow’s wife, Mdm Wong Siw Moi, who
is in her 30s, looked out of her master bedroom window of their 11th
floor flat at Woodlands Drive 44 and saw Ms Nuraini visibly hanging from pole supports of
the upper storey’s laundry area, which was in full view from their
Ms Nuraini was the domestic helper of
the family who lived in the flat above Mr Chow’s.
Little did Mr Chow’s family know that
their otherwise uneventful Sunday would culminate in them receiving
the Public Spirited Award from the Singapore Civil Defence Force
|Mr Louis Chow (second from left) and his wife, Mdm Wong Siw Moi (second from right) with their Public Spiritedness Awards presented by 4th Civil Defence Division Commander Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Teong How Hwa (extreme left) with Warrant Officer (WO) Abdul Rahman. PHOTO: Sidwyn Koh|
Without his quick reaction, chances of
the domestic worker surviving would have been rather slim,
considering the 12-storey height at which the domestic worker was
precariously hanging on to dear life.At that point, with few vital moments
to spare, Mr Chow’s only focus was to save the domestic worker or
at least prevent her from slipping down any further till more help
Mr Chow rushed to support her by
pushing one of her feet up.
It was believed that Ms Nuraini’s
employer was also trying to pull her to safety.
“When you see people who need help,
you help them out, regardless of race, religion or nationality; you
don’t need to think twice,” said Mr Chow.
Ms Nuraini soon lost grip of the
laundry pole supports and would have plunged head-first down 12
storeys, if Mr Chow had not held on to her foot with all his might.
He even pulled her ankle against the
metal pole outside his 11th-storey window for better
support as they waited for more help.
Now dangling over a narrow concrete
ledge below Mr Chow’s window, Ms Nuraini was held back from certain
fall by Mr Chow’s grip of her foot alone.
Both Ms Nuraini’s leg and Mr Chow’s
hand were injured in the process but Mr Chow held on as that was her
only chance of survival.
“I was telling myself I must never
let go; it’s a life in my hand,” recounted Mr Chow.
In the meantime, Mdm Wong Siw Moi got
help from their immediate 11th-storey neighbours, who had
been mere acquaintances then.
She also dialled the SCDF emergency
hotline and the police.
Mr Ong Hwee Lim and Mr Or Hiap Kiong,
their immediate neighbours, responded to her call for help, entered
Mr Chow’s home and assisted him by supporting the maid’s head,
hand and body.
Their combined strength was still not
enough to pull her to safety but they managed to swing her back to
By then, Ms Nuraini had fainted from
the ordeal and trauma.
The SCDF arrived at the scene of
incident six minutes after receiving the call.
These six minutes felt like an eternity
to Mr Chow and his neighbours who held on to the unconscious woman
with all their might.
SCDF officers proceeded to set up an
inflatable mattress on the ground floor as a safety measure, while
they went up to pull her into Mr Louis Chow’s 11th floor
Ms Nuraini was taken to the Khoo Teck
Phuat Hospital soon after to have her injuries checked.
She has since returned to Indonesia,
One thing for sure, this incident has
forged a strong bond among the neighbours, sparking off some kind of
“kampong spirit” in them.
Prior to this incident, the neighbours
had barely spoken more than a few words to one another, but their
conversations are now lengthier.
Mr Chow shared that helping others is
part and parcel of his job.
He had not known of the Public
Spiritedness Award before this, but, having known it now, he felt
that it would help generate more awareness on the need to help
Mr Chow and Mdm Wong were presented the
Public Spiritedness Award by Commander of 4th Civil
Defence Division Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Teong How Hwa.
“I’m glad. I didn’t expect to get
a commendation,” said Mr Chow.
“But if I can help to create
awareness on helping others, why not?”
The couple is proud to have received
this award and hopes that their children will learn a thing or two
from this incident and be good citizens.