A E Manickam

“I am in the safe hands of my grandfather- Manickam is his name...I love my grandfather very much and always aspire to be as successful as him” recounts 10 year old Harikha, in her school essay.

The warmth and care that Manickam displays spans beyond his family members. His deep rooted passion for his nursing duty and compassion for serving the community is highly inspirational.

Mr Manickam, who is 85 years old, was born in Taiping, Ipoh in Malaysia.  When he wasa  20- year- old , he had made his journey to Singapore to look for employment. Manickam's` desire was to be a male nurse. as his interest for nursing was seeded by his sister who was already a nurse in Taiping. He enrolled in Singapore General Hospital (SGH) as a State Registered Nurse and after 10 years, was promoted to Nursing Officer. Manickam served 34 years in nursing and rose through the  ranks to hold the position of Assistant Director of Nursing at Alexandra Hospital.


“Although nursing was demanding, it was very worthwhile.”

Besides coping with the demands of the nursing job, Manickam  found time to volunteer at the Singapore Association of Paraplegics. He headed the Welfare and Homebound Services sub-committee as Chairman since 1976. He visited the Paraplegics at their homes and assisted them with nursing care as well as in their rehabilitation.

“Dedication towards my community was the first motive.”


While many are hard pressed for time to do volunteer work, Mr Manickam was able to allocate his already cramped hours for further volunteer work at hospices. He did volunteer work at the hospice at Tan Tock Seng hospital and at  Dover Park hospice  from 1995 to 2005. He recounts his many painful experiences counselling terminally ill patients.

Mr Manickam had also volunteered at SANA for 26 years. He counselled drug addicts to guide them to steer clear of drugs. Mr Gopikumar, who was the Chairman of SANA Aftercare Counselling from 1985 to 2005, fondly recollects Manickam’s contribution at SANA, “Manickam makes sincere efforts to visit the drug addicts in prison on alternate days. The addicts miss him a lot when he does not turn up for his visits due to some exigencies.” Manickam is also a well-respected   volunteer amongst his peers in SANA and had received the highest award “ Ponnadai” from SANA Hindu Aftercare (Counselling) Service.

“We give them as much encouragement and hope for them to survive. It is our duty.”

Mr Manickam had also volunteered at Hindu Endowment Board (HEB) for the last 18 years and is still continuing to do. He is  part of the team of nurses who are on standby for emergency support during major festivals held at the Hindu temples. He shyly recollects being introduced as the oldest volunteer to the VIP guest at a HEB event. However ,Mr Manickam is not willing to sit back and relax even at his present age. He gladly agreed to volunteer his services when the Pasir Ris Resident’s committee approached him a few years ago.

With Singapore’s 50th year celebration around the corner, Mr Manickam’s wish is for more youths will come forward to actively participate in volunteer work. He also looks towards building a neighborhoods with “gotong royong” spirit where everyone is amicable,  tolerant and forgiving.


“He has been touched very much by me and that is the memory I have.”

We wish Mr Manickam the very best of health in continuing to ignite the passion for volunteerism amongst us Singaporeans!


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.