At age 79, he's still helping others
Retiree bags Community Champion Award and $10,000 for charity
For most people, when they retire, they retire.
Not Mr K Kesavapany.
When the 79-year-old retired from diplomatic service and returned to Singapore, instead of kicking back and taking it easy, he completely immersed himself in community service.
He stepped into the Singapore Indian Association as its president and helped turn it around.
He started a fund to help those in need. He tried to integrate new Indian citizens and permanent residents into the community. At the Singapore Indian Development Association (Sinda), he became part of the Indian Community Aftercare Council.
He helped raised funds at Iseas Yusof Ishak Instituteby publishing books. He also helps dyslexic students at Sinda, sitting as a committee member in the Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS).
It's no wonder Mr Kesavapany is one of the most recognisable faces at Indian gatherings.
For his efforts, he was given the Community Champion Award at the sixth annual tabla! presentation ceremony last night.
Guest-of-honour Sim Ann, Senior Minister of State at the ministries of Culture, Community and Youth and Trade and Industry, presented him with the award.
The ceremony was held as part of the Singapore International Indian Expo (SIIE) at Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Launched in 2011 by newspaper tabla!, the award seeks to highlight members of the Indian community who have made outstanding contributions to the less fortunate.
The winner receives $10,000 to be given to the charities of their choice. The award is funded by the State Bank of India.
INSPIRED BY S R NATHAN
Past winners include Dr Jimmy Daruwalla, founder of DAS, and Dr Uma Rajan, a health pioneer who set up nursing homes with voluntary welfare organisations.
As to which charities he would donate the money to, Mr Kesavapany said in his acceptance speech: "It is with pleasure that I accept this year's tabla! award and dedicate it to Helping People From Falling Through The Cracks programme at the Singapore Indian Association and the Dyslexia Association of Singapore."
In his speech, Mr Kesavapany also mentioned that his role models in community work are the late former President of Singapore, Mr S R Nathan, and the late Dr Daruwalla.
The president of IA recalled how Mr Nathan inspired him to start the Helping People From Falling Through The Cracks programme, which provides financial help for those who are not served by other Indian organisations.
The fund helped a 13-year-old girl with a clenched fist by funding surgery to straighten her fingers. She came from a poor family, with her father suffering from depression and an autistic brother.
Said Mr Kesavapany: ""From Mr Nathan, I learned that individuals should be at the heart of social work, and not systems."
Summing up the reason for his motivation, Mr Kesavapany used a simple quote from Dr Daruwalla: "Passion and dedication can move mountains."
From Mr Nathan, I learned that individuals should be at the heart of social work, and not systems.
- Mr K Kesavapany