Generation Grit Award: Vote for the millennials who inspired you

Award will celebrate the millennials whose resilience through life's hardships has touched readers

The Straits Times Generation Grit Award 2018 celebrates millennials who inspire with courage and resilience. Vote for your choice of winner at

Their stories of resilience have touched readers from all walks of life. And now The Straits Times will be launching a new award to recognise these inspiring millennials.

The Straits Times Generation Grit Award 2018 will celebrate the individuals featured in ST's fortnightly Generation Grit column.

The nominees have all been featured in this column between December 2017, when the series started, and December last year.

These millennials have shown remarkable courage and resilience by overcoming major adversities, from troubled family backgrounds to life-changing illnesses or serious disabilities. And some have gone on to help others in need.

The Straits Times, in partnership with reinsurance company Swiss Re, created the award to honour these millennials, who are in their 20s to mid-30s.

Three winners, who will be selected from the 25 nominees, will receive $5,000 each.

The public can read their stories again and vote for their favourite nominees on the ST website from today until April 7.

Ms Zulayqha Zulkifli, 24, said she was pleasantly surprised to hear of the award.

Once a homeless teenager who had to sleep at the void deck with her siblings, Ms Zulayqha worked her way out of poverty to be a social work associate.

Her experiences were recounted in the Sept 12 issue of The Straits Times last year.


  • To cast your vote, visit

    Voting: From today to April 7

    Award ceremony: May 6

"I hope that through this nomination, I can motivate and continue to inspire more millennials to contribute more to society," she said.

Another nominee, para-athlete Yap Qian Yin, 28, turned to sailing after a spinal cord infection left her paralysed from the waist down at the age of 17.

She later won a gold medal for sailing at the 2015 Asean Para Games.

Deputy Registrar in the State Courts Hairul Hakkim Kuthi-butheen, 28, is another nominee. Despite coming from a poor family saddled with heavy financial debts, Mr Hairul funded his way through school and graduated with first class honours in law.

Straits Times senior social affairs correspondent Theresa Tan, 41, suggested the idea for the column as she wanted to debunk the stereotype of millennials as soft, self-centred and spoilt.


"In the course of my work, I have come across quite a number of young people who have overcome major adversities in their lives - from major illnesses to troubled family backgrounds - and have risen above their circumstances to help others," said Ms Tan.

"It was also my hope that these stories will encourage millennials - or people of all ages for that matter - who are going through a tough patch in life that others have gone through the same circumstances or much worse, survived and emerged stronger than before."

The award ceremony will be held on May 6 at the National Library. Swiss Re will sponsor the cash gifts.

Swiss Re Asia chief executive officer Jayne Plunkett said: "We are thrilled to partner The Straits Times on this. We have a long history of helping societies be more resilient across Asia. These stories of resilience resonate with our values, and it is our hope that they will inspire us all."

ST's Ms Tan added: "In this age of disruptions, I feel we need to tell more stories of hope, of courage, of resilience."

•To cast your vote, go to
An internal judging panel comprising ST staff and representatives of Swiss Re will decide on the winners.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 20, 2019, with the headline 'Generation grit: Vote for their inspiring stories'. Subscribe