REPORT ON PAGE 3
Shanti Pereira’s parents Jeet and Clarence.
PHOTO: TAMIL MURASU
October 6, 2023
People being rescued from a
building in Gangtok as flash
floods ripped through the
Himalayan state of Sikkim on
Wednesday, killing at least 14
people and washing away roads
A search-and-rescue operation
has been launched for more than
100 missing people.
A “sudden cloudburst” over
Lhonak Lake in the north sent
torrents of water surging down
the Teesta River in the Lachen
valley, raising water levels up to
6m higher than normal, the
Indian Army said.
Videos online showed the
muddy deluge rapidly
overflowing the river banks and
houses caked in dirt and debris.
The city of Pakyong was the
worst affected, with seven people
killed and 59 others missing, the
state government said.
Flash floods wreak havoc in Sikkim
An SPH Media Limited publication
(English/Malay/Tamil Media group)
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V.K. Santosh Kumar
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Opposition MP Sanjay Singh
arrested over corruption claims
India’s financial crimes agency has
arrested Sanjay Singh, an MP of the
governing Aam Aadmi Party from
Delhi, over corruption allegations.
He is the latest party leader to be
interrogated by federal agencies who
are investigating alleged fraud related
to a now-scrapped liquor sale policy in
Mr Singh was arrested on
Police launch sweeping media
Anti-terror police said on Tuesday that
they had arrested two people linked to
a news website and raided the homes
of 44 others, in a case reportedly
connected to alleged Chinese funding.
The raids in New Delhi are
reportedly connected to NewsClick, an
English-language news website that
Indian authorities in 2021 claimed was
receiving foreign funding.
The New York Times in August
reported that NewsClick was financed
by US millionaire Neville Roy Singham
and accused him of working closely
with Beijing and “financing its
No new Nipah cases in India
The World Health Organization on
Tuesday said no new cases of Nipah
virus have been detected in India since
Sept 15. An outbreak earlier in the
month caused two deaths.
Nipah has no vaccine and a fatality
rate ranging from 40 to 75 per cent.
From Sept 12 to 15, India’s health
ministry reported six
laboratory-confirmed Nipah virus
cases, including two deaths, in
Kozhikode district in Kerala.
Aside from the first case, whose
source of infection is unknown, the
other cases were family and hospital
contacts of the first.
Canada resists diplomat
expulsions from India
On Tuesday, Canada sought to
maintain its full diplomatic presence in
India, after New Delhi reportedly
ordered Ottawa to withdraw 40
diplomats in a dispute over the killing
of Sikh separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar
near Vancouver in June.
“In moments of tensions, because
indeed there are tensions between both
our governments, more than ever it’s
important that diplomats be on the
ground,” Foreign Minister Melanie Joly
said after the Financial Times reported
that India had instructed Canada to
repatriate around 40 diplomats by Oct
Ms Joly would not confirm the
report, saying instead that the dialogue
with New Delhi was taking place
“privately”. The Indian Ministry of
Foreign Affairs also declined to
comment on the report.
24 deaths recorded in a day at
Twelve infants died on Sunday at a
hospital in Maharashtra, sparking a
political storm on Tuesday, with
opposition politicians accusing the
regional government and hospital
authorities of negligence.
The infants were among 24 deaths
recorded that day at the Shankarrao
Chavan Government Hospital in
Hospital dean Shyamrao Wakode
told Asian News International that the
12 adult patients died of various
ailments including diabetes, liver failure
and kidney failure.
The Maharashtra government has
launched an inquiry into the deaths of
the infants and other patients.
Public cautioned against using
Google Maps during monsoon
The deaths of two young doctors in
a road accident has prompted Kerala
police to issue an alert for drivers using
Google Maps for directions during the
The car of doctors Ajmal Asif, 28,
and Adwaith, 27, plunged into the river
Periyar near Kochi on Sunday. Three
other occupants of the car were
rescued by the locals.
According to the police, the accident
happened at Gothuruth near Paravur,
when the doctors took a wrong turn at
a junction, following directions
from Google Maps.
Bihar legislator flaunts revolver in
Janata Dal (United) legislator Gopal
Mandal caused a stir at the Jawahar Lal
Nehru Medical College and hospital in
Bihar’s Bhagalpur on Tuesday when he
carried a revolver in his hand, claiming
it was his style.
He was at the hospital with his
granddaughter for a CT Scan. When
someone questioned him about the
firearm, he said: “It is a thing that
needs to be held in hand and not on
“In the past, criminals were after
me, so I carried firearms. Now, political
persons are after me. They know that I
will become an MP in the next election,
so they are after me.
“I am holding a revolver in
self-defence. If anyone dares anything
against me here or anywhere, I will
Bank CEO quits over erroneous
transfer of $1.5b to cabbie
The managing director and CEO of the
Tamilnad Mercantile Bank, Mr S.
Krishnan, quit on Oct 1, days after it
was reported that the bank mistakenly
transferred Rs9,000 crore ($1.5 billion)
to the account of a cab driver in
In his resignation letter, Mr Krishnan
said he decided to resign due to
The incident happened on Sept 9
and the cab driver, Mr Rajkumar,
initially thought it was a scam when he
received an SMS notification that
Rs9,000 crore had been credited to his
account. He originally had only Rs105
left in his account, the Indian Express
Mr Rajkumar then attempted to
transfer Rs21,000 to a friend and to his
surprise, the transaction was successful.
However, within the next 30 minutes,
the bank deducted the remaining
amount from his account.
Teen steals motorbike to give as
birthday gift to friend
A 17-year-old boy, who worked at a
roadside eatery in Lukcnow, Uttar
Pradesh, has been arrested for stealing
a bike, which he wanted to give to a
friend as a gift on his 18th birthday.
As the boy did not have enough
money to buy a gift, he decided to steal
the motorcycle that was parked outside
a house, on Oct 1.
The police said the boy was arrested
based on surveillance footage.
Tripura CM picks up scalpel again,
operates on former MBBS student
Tripura Chief Minister Manik Saha,
who is also an oral and maxillo-facial
surgeon, on Tuesday returned to the
Tripura Medical College to perform an
operation amid his hectic schedule.
The politician, who was a professor
of the medical college, performed a
successful operation on one of his
former students, an MBBS doctor, who
had suffered a fracture in his mouth in
a two-wheeler accident.
Cricket great Kohli to own team in
electric powerboat series
Indian batsman Virat Kohli was
announced as the newest celebrity
team owner in the E1 World
Championship on Tuesday, joining the
likes of Rafa Nadal, Tom Brady, Didier
Drogba and Sergio Perez in the world’s
first all-electric powerboat series.
The UIM E1 World Championship is
the latest entry into the
environmentally responsible motor
sports competition, joining Formula E
and off-road Extreme E, and is
scheduled to begin racing next year in
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
October 6, 2023
Sprint queen Shanti Pereira thought
she had to run at least three rounds in
the women’s 200m at the Asian Games
in Hangzhou, China, last weekend.
But she had to run in only a heat and
the final because of last-minute with-
“That kind of turned out in my fa-
vour, I had less stress to deal with,” the
27-year-old told tabla! on Wednesday,
after she ended Singapore’s 49-year
wait for a gold medal in track and field
at the Asian Games.
Olympic Sports Centre Stadium in
23.03sec, ahead of China’s Li Yuting
(23.28sec) and Bahrain’s Edidiong Ofo-
nime Odiong (23.48sec).
After her No. 1 position flashed on
the scoreboard, Shanti could not hold
back her emotions.
“It’s been an incredible season,” she
“When I realised I had won, I
thanked God for everything. I then ran
towards the 100m flatline, where my
parents and friends were seated, and
took a bow in acknowledgement of
“My parents have given me their full
support since I started running in pri-
I found something that I really enjoyed
doing, they told me to go for it. With
their encouragement, I started to take
athletics a bit more seriously.”
When she was written off following
poor runs and injuries in 2017 and 2018
and battled self-doubt, pressure and
mum Jeet “gave me a shoulder to cry
“They were always there for me.
They were the ones who always be-
lieved in me no matter what,even when
I didn’t really believe in myself. I have
to make full use of it.
“My family members are my top
supporters.(Older sister and former na-
tional sprinter) Valerie (Seema) knows
what I need as an athlete, while (oldest
sister) Shobi and (older brother) Anand
are always there for me.
“We all live apart but still gather at
our parents’ home whenever we can,
just hanging out together for the day.”
The family also gathers to celebrate
“I have relatives all over the world,”
“When I visit my paternal grandma,
who hails from Kerala, she would make
really good appam. It always feels like a
big celebration when all of us are to-
Shanti said she was looking forward
to a meal with her family upon her re-
turn. “I want to take it easy for a while
as my season has ended. I will go on a
V.K. Santosh Kumar
Family support cornerstone of Shanti’s success
How did Singapore’s 200m Asian
“My pregnancy with Shanti was very
peaceful compared to my pregnancy
with her three older siblings,” her moth-
er Jeet Pereira, 63, told tabla! yesterday.
“I could work till full term without
problems. I could carry heavy items and
move things around.
“She gave me peace,so I gave her that
name. She is a lovely kid, who never
caused any trouble.”
Shanti is Sanskrit for peace.
Jeet and Clarence Pereira, 66, gave
their four children Indian names – Sho-
bana, 38; Anand, 36; Seema, 33; and
“It is important because in Singapore
you need cultural identity,” said Cla-
“My family name is Pereira and I was
born in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala,
before coming over to Singapore when I
was a few months old. But in school, I
was called Eurasian.
“I kept telling them I am a Malayalee
but they kept saying I was Portuguese. I
had to show them my identity card to
prove that that I am Indian.”
Jeet’s parents immigrated from Am-
ritstar in Punjab in the 1950s. She was
born in Singapore – like all her children.
Despite being a “quiet” kid, Shanti
had plenty of energy, said her mother.
“When Seema ran for her school, Shanti
would always go to the stadium to watch
the race but she would not remain still
for long. She was always running, up the
hill or nearby areas.”
Jeet added that she was a 200m
sprinter in school but could not progress
as she did not have a coach, and she did
not want the same fate to befall Shanti.
So Jeet and Clarence did everything they
could to give Shanti their full support af-
ter she decided to join the Singapore
Shanti’s sprinting prowess was dis-
covered at age nine, by her CHIJ (Ka-
tong) Primary School coach.
“I had to travel a lot, so Jeet was pro-
viding the guidance,” said Clarence, an
oil industry consultant.
“Every time Shanti did well, we en-
couraged her to do even better.She start-
ed to love athletics and it soon became
“I told her not to go to the Sports
School because it would be difficult for
her to become a star there with all the
champions, but she insisted on going.”
Shanti’s parents gave her their full
support, encouraging her to create a ca-
reer in sport – atypical of Indian parents.
“That might have been the case in In-
dia, but we think differently as Singapo-
reans. It is important for parents to un-
derstand what their children believe in
and what they want,” said Clarence.
“Shanti chose the Sports School and
training, provided healthy meals and
watched her races.”
When Shanti went through a rough
patch in 2017 and 2018, and her form
dipped, her parents came to her rescue.
She was under a lot of pressure as self-
doubt crept in and many wrote her off.
“We supported Shanti psychological-
ly,” said Clarence.“The period was diffi-
cult, but it did Shanti a lot of good as she
emerged more determined and mentally
strong. She developed this ‘never mind’
attitude, which stands her in good
Shanti’s parents said she is disci-
plined, organised and goodhearted.
“She loves to giggle. Even if someth-
ing’s not funny, she would laugh aloud.
She laughs heartily,” said Jeet.
“She is helpful, doesn’t like to cause
trouble and abhors gossip.She has learnt
to absorb pressure and find solutions
At home, Shanti is mostly busy pack-
ing and unpacking,as she often travels to
“She’s very disciplined with her
meals. She is also particular about what
she consumes before bed and what time
she sleeps,” Jeet, a childcare educator,
“She’s up early and goes for training.
She comes back and takes short naps.
She also likes watching programmes on
the tablet or television.
“She makes time for church and her
(paternal) grandma. When the family
needs her, she makes sure she’s there.”
Although she has now become an
“international star”, Shanti is still Shan-
“We always remind her to be humble
and not to ignore anyone. We tell her to
have her feet on the ground,” said Cla-
rence, adding that it is he and his wife
who have changed.
“We have to watch our moves as we
are also being watched. It can be quite
hard for us as we are simple people. We
like to joke and laugh, but now we have
to watch what we say – there are always
photographers, reporters and other peo-
ple watching us.”
Shanti, who arrived in Singapore yes-
terday, will leave on a well-deserved ho-
liday tomorrow. Later in the year, she
will start preparing for next year’s Olym-
pics in Paris, where she has qualified for
the 200m race.
“How far she will go in Paris,only she
can tell,” said Clarence.
“We can only watch and guide her,
al sprinter Tan Zong Yang), coach (Luis
Cunha) and Singapore Athletics offi-
“She has all the support that she
needs. We will be very happy if she
makes it to the semi-final.”
Shanti brings peace and happiness
V.K. SANTOSH KUMAR
Shanti Pereira hugging her dad Clarence and mum Jeet after her win on Oct 2.
PHOTO: THE STRAITS TIMES
so I gave
is a lovely kid,
– Jeet Pereira, on why
she named her youngest
daughter Shanti, which is
Sanskrit for peace
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