12 women role models inducted into Hall of Fame

Puan Noor Aishah, 84, the wife of Singapore's first president Yusof Ishak, receiving a trophy from President Halimah Yacob. She was commended for "breathing new life" into the Istana and for her quiet determination, humility and charm.
Puan Noor Aishah, 84, the wife of Singapore's first president Yusof Ishak, receiving a trophy from President Halimah Yacob. She was commended for "breathing new life" into the Istana and for her quiet determination, humility and charm.ST PHOTO: KHALID BABA
Mrs Anastasia Tjendri-Liew, 71, founder of Bengawan Solo, was also among the 12 inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Mrs Anastasia Tjendri-Liew, 71, founder of Bengawan Solo, was also among the 12 inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Puan Noor Aishah among those honoured by President Halimah

The wife of Singapore's first president Yusof Ishak, Puan Noor Aishah, "breathed new life" into the Istana by teaching the cooks her favourite recipes like beef rendang, some of which are still being prepared today.

She also carried out her official and ceremonial duties with quiet determination, humility and charm, added President Halimah Yacob after presenting her with the trophy of the Singapore Women's Hall of Fame yesterday.

Puan Noor Aishah was just 26 when she was thrust into the role of the wife of Singapore's first president in December 1959.

Now 84, she was among 12 women inducted into the Hall of Fame yesterday.

The others included Ms Claire Chiang, co-founder of the luxury resort company Banyan Tree Holdings; late biomedical scientist Miranda Yap, the first woman to win Singapore's highest science and technology honour, the President's Science and Technology Medal; and pioneering tour guide Geraldene Lowe-Ismail.

The Hall of Fame is a platform that recognises outstanding women and their achievements in various fields. The induction ceremony and gala dinner are held in March every year by the Singapore Council of Women's Organisations (SCWO) in conjunction with International Women's Day, which falls on March 8.

GREAT ROLE MODELS

All our inductees are inspiring role models for our young girls and women... I am confident that their stories will encourage our younger generation to achieve their full potential.

PRESIDENT HALIMAH YACOB

Madam Halimah, who is Singapore's first female president and a patron of the SCWO, was herself inducted in 2014. The latest group of 12 women will join the 140 inducted in previous years.

Said Madam Halimah: "All our inductees are inspiring role models for our young girls and women... I am confident that their stories will encourage our younger generation to achieve their full potential."

"Thank you for demonstrating that it is possible to live a life which is fuelled by passion, perseverance and a spirit of excellence," she added.

Founder of bakery chain Bengawan Solo, Mrs Anastasia Tjendri-Liew, 71, was also among the Hall of Fame inductees. The grandmother of four said she was very honoured to be recognised for her hard work.

She built up the local brand from her home kitchen more than 40 years ago, and now produces the brand's signature cakes and kuehs at two factories in Woodlands.

Bengawan Solo is now a household name in Singapore with more than 40 outlets around the island and worldwide.

"I'm a perfectionist and I'm always on my feet all day," said the managing director of the chain, who still experiments and comes up with new recipes for the brand herself. "I never get tired, even after a whole day of baking. It's still relaxing for me to go home and cook for my family."

Mrs Tjendri-Liew said her award was dedicated to all the women who struggle and sacrifice for their loved ones. "I hope it will encourage and motivate them to achieve what they set their hearts on."

  • OTHER HONOUREES

  • Tan Teck Neo (1877-1978)

    A philanthropist and pioneering community leader, she helped set up the Chinese Ladies' Association to raise funds for various causes. She volunteered with the Red Cross during World War I and later received the Member of the Order of the British Empire.

    Mozelle Nissim (1883-1975)

    In 1929, she founded the Singapore Jewish Women's League and raised funds to help those in need with their rent, food and medical and schooling fees. She also helped set up the Jewish Welfare Board in 1946.

    Grace Yin Pek-Ha (1884-1972)

    The pioneering community worker was a founding member of the Chinese Ladies' Association in 1915. She organised many donation drives during the Sino-Japanese war.

    Zena Clarke Tessensohn (1909-1991)

    The founder of Singapore's first sports club for girls also played a key role in popularising hockey, netball, tennis and other sports among Singapore's women.

    Daisy Devan (1928-2009)

    In 1957, she was the first Asian to head a record label in South-east Asia. She is known to have nurtured the career of The Quests, one of the most successful local groups then.

    Phyllis Tan Poh Lian (Born 1933)

    The first female president of the Law Society attained the post in 1979. She was also active in the legal education scene here.

    Yang Chang Man (Born 1944)

    The zoologist and curator worked hard to preserve the priceless Raffles Collection, the largest and most comprehensive collection of specimens of South-east Asian wildlife.

    Claire Chiang (Born 1951)

    She and her husband set up the Banyan Tree hospitality group. She also served as a Nominated MP from 1997 to 2001.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 25, 2018, with the headline '12 women role models inducted into Hall of Fame'. Print Edition | Subscribe