For his many contributions to Singapore, Mr. Lim was awarded the Civil Service Star (Law), the Civil Service Star and the Civil Service Medal. This year, at the age of 94, Mr. Lim received another honor – the Long Service Award (55) from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). The Long Service Awards are given to eligible serving members of the MHA’s 42 Local Team Boards, Councils and Committees. He shares some of the highlights of his decades as a local team volunteer.
What made you decide to donate your time?
I took office as a member of the Board of Visiting Judges and Board of Inspectors immediately after being appointed a Justice of the Peace in 1966. I was also a member of the Drug Rehabilitation Center Review Board for almost 25 years. . These are all opportunities for me to contribute to the betterment and well-being of the inmates of the prison and the Detox Center.
Singapore President Yusof Ishak with Mr. Lim (third row, fourth from right) at his appointment ceremony as Justice of the Peace in 1966. PHOTO: Chemical Industries (Far East) Ltd
What are your duties as a member of the Board of Visiting Justices and the Board of Inspection?
Our main duty is to visit the prison and have dialogue sessions with the inmates, to better understand the problems they face. We will then report them to the authorities who will follow up with reviews and address their concerns. Our goal is to help authorities find appropriate solutions that improve the well-being of detainees.
How has your work changed since you started as a volunteer?
The primary goal of improving inmate welfare has not changed, although the scope has evolved over the past five decades. Today, inmates can take college courses and vocational training while serving their sentence. Through initiatives such as the Yellow Ribbon Projectwhich was launched in 2004, there has also been a significant shift towards more targeted rehabilitation of inmates and their preparation for life after prison.
Share a memorable experience you had as a volunteer.
I remember my meeting in 2014 with an inmate at the prison’s training kitchen who shared how much he had benefited from the high-intensity pre-release program. It was an encouraging experience and I encouraged him to work hard and stay away from negative influences. It was a positive affirmation that our institutional efforts to reintegrate ex-offenders into society were on the right track.
Mr. Lim receives national honors from President Ong Teng Cheong, President SR Nathan and President Tony Tan. PHOTOS: Chemical Industries (Far East) Ltd
What do you hope to see in terms of rehabilitation for inmates?
Certainly, improving and strengthening our current efforts and emphasizing the reintegration of ex-offenders into society. Also, the search for ways and means to improve the prison system while remaining in line with social expectations.
How does it feel to be recognized for 55 years of volunteer service?
It was a great honour. I have both MHA and my longevity genes to thank! Personally, perseverance and commitment to the ideals of public service is what has kept me here for a long time. There is no reason to stop doing what is beneficial to society. It’s in my nature to continue working and volunteering, regardless of my age, because I believe in lifelong work.