The Straits Times' Asian of the Year 2016: Who's the winner?

The Straits Times' Asian of the Year 2016 winner will be announced on Dec 5.
The Straits Times' Asian of the Year 2016 winner will be announced on Dec 5.PHOTO: ST GRAPHICS

SINGAPORE - Expect the unexpected. 

The phrase aptly sums up the year 2016 - one marked by the shocks of Brexit and the US presidential election and the many aftershocks around the world that followed.

How events unfold and how wide-ranging the impact are still unclear, and may be unknowable for years to come. 

The phrase also aptly describes the choice of this year's winner of The Straits Times' Asian of the Year award.

The award, launched in 2012, recognises Asians who have contributed significantly to improving lives either at home or in the wider region.

Past winners have included President Thein Sein of Myanmar, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan, President Xi Jinping of China and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Last year it was awarded posthumously to Singapore's founding father Lee Kuan Yew.

This year's winner fit the mould of those of previous years -  dynamic movers and shakers whose decisions can - and do - affect the lives of millions. 

But the 2016 award has, in a break with tradition, not gone to a politician.

So who is this year's Asian of the Year, whose actions can be described as revolutionary and disruptive and yet hold the promise of helping Asians thrive in a world of constant change?

The winner will be announced on Dec 5. Do watch out for it.