Artist Koh Mun Hong and singer Nona Asiah receive Cultural Medallion award

Artist Koh Mun Hong (left) and singer Nona Asiah have won this year's Cultural Medallion award.
Artist Koh Mun Hong (left) and singer Nona Asiah have won this year's Cultural Medallion award. ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH
Photographer Alecia Neo was one of the recipients of the Young Artist Award 2016.
Photographer Alecia Neo was one of the recipients of the Young Artist Award 2016. PHOTO: NATIONAL ARTS COUNCIL
Muhamad Harezam was one of the recipients of the Young Artist Award 2016.
Muhamad Harezam was one of the recipients of the Young Artist Award 2016. ST PHOTO: NIVASH JOYVIN
Liu Xiaoyi was one of the recipients of the Young Artist Award 2016.
Liu Xiaoyi was one of the recipients of the Young Artist Award 2016. ST PHOTO: NIVASH JOYVIN
Poet Marc Nair was one of the recipients of the Young Artist Award 2016.
Poet Marc Nair was one of the recipients of the Young Artist Award 2016. ST PHOTO: NIVASH JOYVIN
Pooja Nansi was one of the recipients of the Young Artist Award 2016.
Pooja Nansi was one of the recipients of the Young Artist Award 2016. ST PHOTO: NIVASH JOYVIN

SINGAPORE - Artist Koh Mun Hong and singer Nona Asiah have been conferred this year's Cultural Medallion award. The Young Artist Awards recipients are Alecia Neo, Muhamad Harezam, Liu Xiaoyi, Marc Nair and Pooja Nansi.

The Cultural Medallion and Young Artist Awards recognise individuals who have contributed to the development of Singapore's cultural landscape.

Mr Koh, 64, is a well-known Chinese calligrapher, poet and ink painter who has taught and groomed many younger calligraphers in Singapore.

Madam Asiah, 86, who is better known as Nona Asiah to fans, was an iconic singer in the 1950s and 1960s, and a tireless vocal coach after she retired from the limelight in the 1970s.

Mr Koh credits the late calligrapher Pan Shou, whom he met through a mutual friend, as an important mentor.

He says: "I learnt a lot by watching him write Chinese calligraphy and from our conversations about poetry. His poems have such a dignified air, they leave you deeply inspired."

He says he is happy to be conferred the Cultural Medallion award and receive recognition for his hard work and contribution to the arts. He has not yet made plans for how he might use the $80,000 fund he has access to.

On being conferred the Cultural Medallion, Madam Asiah says: "It should have happened 10 years ago. I'm too old to receive this now."

Still, she cannot hide her excitement. At the interview with The Straits Times, she beams with pride as she shows off the baju kurung she will wear to the ceremony on Tuesday (Oct 4) night, which she designed and sewed.

She says: "I never expected I would get the award. I thought I had finished achieving everything as a singer and teacher."