Kamala Krishnan

Dedicated, passionate and selfless. These are just a few words that could be used to describe Mdm Kamala but truly, she is much more than just that.

Following a long banking career spanning almost 30 years, Mdm Kamala joined the family business. However, feeling keen to stretch herself beyond just financial pursuits, Mdm Kamala decided that she wanted to serve the community in any way she could. Ever since then, she has helped struggling families, children, and convicts, all while still maintaining a close relationship with her own family.

Having grown up in a close-knit family that still meets every week, she is very aware of the importance of having strong family ties. She describes her parents and grandmother as family oriented and dedicated people whom she looks up to as role models. As a working mother, she made sure that she spent time with her children after work and did not let her tiredness affect the quality time she spent with them. While agreeing that it was very tough, she stays strong in her belief that it was necessary for the benefit of her children.

Today, Mdm Kamala is active in many community groups, serving in any way she can. She says that there is no particular reason that she likes to volunteer but rather, that she simply just likes to help people.

“It’s basic common sense that people just want care and love.”

Her desire to help others coupled with the need to arm herself with the right skills drove Mdm Kamala to complete her degree in counseling at the age of 58.

Even before finishing her course, Mdm Kamala was helping people who had just been released from prison as well as those who were still incarcerated. Under the Hindu Centre, she was involved in a Hinduism Knowledge discussion programme conducted at the prisons which allowed her to impart the various teachings of Hinduism and religious knowledge to inmates. She describes herself as being a friend rather than a counsellor to them and still keeps in close contact with several of them. She shares knowledge and advice and continues to do so even after they have been released.

Mdm Kamala describes the people she helps as simply needing the encouragement and motivation to get their life on the right track. Believing this to be something she can do, she gives them support when their family and friends have turned their backs on them and does so with no judgment at all. She also believes that they are smart, and merely need guidance and support to overcome their problems. She recalls a particular incident where she arranged for an ex-convict to go back to the prison to talk to the inmates. This made it possible for him to share his own experiences with others and in turn, inspire them not to give up. Such events clearly have made a great impact on her, as she remembers them with much fondness.

“Instead of me helping them, they helped me a lot.”

While some people might worry about the heavy emotional requirements of volunteering, this doesn’t deter Mdm Kamala. She remains positive and cheerful and does not get drained from dealing with all the problems that come with the job. She has learnt to accept that sometimes things just don’t turn out well and she moves on. She is also grateful for the support of her family and attributes this to the fact that she doesn’t neglect them while taking care of other people.

She is very intent on providing care and concern for anyone who may need it without discrimination. As she mentions many times, she sees all of them as human beings deserving of love and support regardless of their background - be it a convict or someone who chooses to lead life of questionable moral values.

“I believe in providing love always. I believe in that.”

One of the things that is truly inspiring about Mdm Kamala is that she is completely satisfied with the life she has led and is leading now. She is grateful for everything that she has been blessed with in life and says that it is important that we learn to accept what we’re given without complaining.

Mdm Kamala is proof that one does not need to perform grand actions to contribute to the community. Even the smallest deeds can go a long way in improving someone else’s life. She is certainly one to look up to, as she clearly believes that it is never too late to start giving back to society and to offer support to the people who need it. 50FACES admires her devotion and compassion, which will surely serve as an inspiration to everyone.

A dedication to the pioneers in the Indian community.

50Faces brings your stories of ordinary Singaporeans who have contributed to our community and nation building.