Singapore, Sep 23: A former Indian-origin diplomat has been felicitated here for helping immigrants and those trying to make ends meet in Singapore.
79-year-old K Kesavapany received the Community Champion Award from 'tabla!', a Friday weekly of Singapore Press Holdings' which covers Indian lifestyle, and an amount SGD 10,000 from State Bank of India here.
As President of the Indian Association in Singapore, he donated the award money to the sporting club's welfare fund and the Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS). Launched in 2011, the annual award is given by the magazine to a member of the Indian community who has carried out distinguished work with the less fortunate.
Speaking at the award ceremony, tabla! editor Patrick Jonas described Kesavapany as "a rare gem in the Indian community."
"He (Kesavpany) raised funds for the Indian Association Welfare Fund and uses it to help the needy who would otherwise fall through the cracks. He reaches out to Indians who are new citizens or Permanent Residents and helps them integrate better with Singapore," Jonas said.
The former envoy is associated with a number of social groups and also runs programmes to help ex-prisoners and drug offenders in rehabilitation.
As the ambassador, he served as Singapore's Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva and High Commissioner to Malaysia as well as the director of the Institute of South East Asian Studies, a Singapore-based regional think tank. Among his many roles in the community, Kesavapany is the Governor of Singapore International Federation, a term trustee of the Singapore Indian Development Association, a member of the Hindu Endowment Board and a member of DAS.