SuperStar who did family proud

SuperStar who did family proud
Ms Sivajothi’s father, Mr Elangovan, dotes on her because he feels bad about wanting to give her away when she was born. With them is her mother Madam Retanam Vaithialingam.

Growing up, Ms Sivajothi Elangovan received special attention from her father V.K.A Elangovan.

Ms Sivajothi, 27, a customer service executive at City Square Mall, recalls: "When I was young, it felt like he took me everywhere with him."

For instance, he took her weekly to the Chinese Gardens. They were living in a three-room HDB flat in Taman Jurong then, not far from the gardens. Other times, while he chatted with his relatives, she would be skipping about at the playground nearby or "sitting next to him, eating potato chips".

Why the devotion?

Mr Elangovan, 59, a retired forklift driver, says with a sheepish smile: "I felt bad about wanting to give her away at first."

His wife, Madam Retanam Vaithialingam, 58, a cook at a childcare centre, says they had been "trying" for a boy after having had three daughters, then aged four, five and six.

How Ms Sivajothi stayed on with the family seems like a comedy of errors, she recalls.

A priest had told her parents that she would be a boy. Based on that prediction, Mr Elangovan had vowed to shave his head - happy that he would have a male child, finally.

The couple did not believe in scanning to check the baby's sex. So dad rushed down to Alexandra Hospital after the delivery, and inquired from nurses about the gender of the baby born to a Valli, his wife's name in short. A boy, they said.

He did not realise they were referring to a male infant born to another woman also named Valli. He headed for a nearby Hindu temple to fulfil his vow.

Says Ms Sivajothi, laughing: "When he got back, he was super shocked that the fourth child was another girl."

They had decided that if the fourth child was a girl, they would give her away to Mr Elangovan's sister.

But her cute looks made her parents change their minds, and dad, in particular, "has been showing love" ever since.

In October, she made them proud by winning the Service SuperStar award, the top honour at the Singapore Retailers Association Service Excellence Awards ceremony.

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