Student, 15, rushes to airport to see Sabah hero guides

Student, 15, rushes to airport to see Sabah hero guides
PHOTO: The Star/ANN

She had read that the mountain guides from Sabah were coming to Singapore to meet some of the Tanjong Katong Primary School (TKPS) pupils they had helped rescue during the June 5 earthquake.

Aimee Sophia Lim, 15, wanted to do something for them.

Details of their trip here were sketchy, but the schoolgirl kept monitoring Facebook for updates on the guides, Mr Rizuan Kauhinin, Mr Simon Gohinmin and Mr Mazlee Lion, who have been hailed as heroes.

Her persistence paid off on Monday evening.

"I saw (on) the news that they were on their way to Singapore, so I went to the Changi Airport website to check for their arrival timing and we rushed to the airport," the Secondary 3 student at Temasek Junior College told The New Paper yesterday.

Her mother drove her there from their home in the east and they were at the airport by 9pm.

SUPPORTERS

When the men walked into the Terminal 2 arrival hall at about 10.15pm, Aimee was among a small crowd of supporters who had gathered to welcome them.

She also had with her a gift of $100, taken from her allowance of $30 a week.

Clutching the money in her palm, she pressed it into Mr Rizuan's palm when she shook his hand.

The guide was so surprised, it was almost like he was frozen, Aimee said. He then repeatedly thanked her, she added.

Asked why she gave the guides money, Aimee said it was so that they could buy something meaningful for themselves and their families to remember their trip here.

"I also didn't want to give them something that they might not like or wouldn't have use for, so I felt money was the most practical," she added.

An only child, Aimee, who also welcomed British singer Ed Sheeran at the airport when he came in March, said her reasons for going to welcome the men was simple.

"If people like me can go to the airport to see celebrities, surely we should go to see heroes, too," she said.

Yesterday, the guides met two TKPS pupils - El Wafeeq El Jauzy and Arnaav Karan Chabria, both 11 - at a closed-door session at the school.

The men will meet more TKPS pupils and their families today.

lawsm@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on June 17, 2015.
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