SINGAPORE - What started out as a practical joke turned into his career for life.
Mr Singaravelan Pavadai's nursing career began unexpectedly 30 years ago, when his younger sister, who had applied to be a nurse, also submitted an application on his behalf as a prank.
The clinical instructor with the Institute of Mental Health (IMH), who is better known as Mr Singa, has come a long way from his humble beginnings.
Yesterday, he was one of 54 healthcare workers who received the prestigious Healthcare Humanity Award from President Tony Tan Keng Yam.
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong also attended the function.
In an interview with The New Paper on Monday, the jovial 52-year-old bachelor said: "It was never my choice... My father wanted me to join nursing because he thought it was a calling - my sister who wanted to be a nurse didn't get in, but I did.
"The first day I went to nursing school, there were 200 girls and three boys."
Mr Singa, who was then 22 and working in a shipyard, took a massive pay cut - from $1,200 to $295 a month - when he switched professions in 1982.