Search is on for ST Singaporean of the Year 2019

President Halimah Yacob at the awards ceremony for the Singaporean of the Year 2018 earlier this year. Front row, from left: UBS head of Asean equities Yeoh Choo Guan; UBS Asia-Pacific president Edmund Koh; Singaporean of the Year 2018 winner Siti No
President Halimah Yacob at the awards ceremony for the Singaporean of the Year 2018 earlier this year. Front row, from left: UBS head of Asean equities Yeoh Choo Guan; UBS Asia-Pacific president Edmund Koh; Singaporean of the Year 2018 winner Siti Noor Mastura; UBS chief of staff for Asia-Pacific Teo Lay Sie; Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) chairman Lee Boon Yang; Straits Times editor Warren Fernandez; SPH deputy chief executive Anthony Tan; and nominee Nizar Mohamed Shariff (seated). Second row, from left: Nominees Bjorn Low; Teo You Yenn; Harbhajan Singh; Robert Chew; and Teo Yee Ming. Back row, from left: Nominees Kenneth and Adeline Thong; Annabelle Kwok; Elizabeth Tan; Poh Kok Wee; and Douglas Yeo. ST FILE PHOTO

Nominations open for inspiring individuals or groups who have made impact in society

The search is on for this year's Singaporean of the Year.

Organised by The Straits Times, the award is given each year to a Singaporean individual or group that has made an impact in society. This could be through achievements which have put Singapore on the world stage, or improved the lives of others in the community, or resilience in the face of adversity.

Now in its fifth year, the top award recipient will get a trophy and $20,000, presented by UBS, which has supported the award right from its beginnings. Other individuals or groups of finalists who are nominated by the award's panel of judges will receive $5,000 each.

Mr Edmund Koh, president of UBS Asia-Pacific, said the award celebrated the triumph of the human spirit and recognised individuals who have gone above and beyond to live out virtues such as generosity and grit. "This celebration of courage and extraordinary efforts, driven by hearts of compassion and thoughtfulness, is something UBS strongly believes in," he added.

In addition, the Singaporean of the Year will also receive a pair of business-class tickets sponsored by Singapore Airlines (SIA) to anywhere that SIA or its subsidiary airline SilkAir flies to, while finalists will get economy-class tickets.

Mr Campbell Wilson, senior vice-president of sales and marketing at SIA, said: "Singapore Airlines is pleased to be supporting such a worthy cause for the second year running, and helping to recognise those who not only make a positive difference, but also inspire others through their actions."

Also back as a sponsor for the second year in a row is Millennium Hotels and Resorts, which will be gifting the Singaporean of the Year a five-night stay in any of the global properties owned and managed by the company. The other finalists will each win a three-night stay.

Mr Kwek Leng Beng, chairman of Millennium & Copthorne Hotels, said: "Through our history, it has been the selfless contributions of ordinary Singaporeans that shaped the nation. As a home-grown brand, Millennium Hotels and Resorts is proud to honour the next wave of exceptional Singaporeans and their contributions to society."

Last year's award went to Ms Siti Noor Mastura, then 28, who co-founded the non-profit organisation InterfaithYouth Circle. The group meets every month to discuss common themes in the religious texts of different faiths to promote interfaith understanding.

President Halimah Yacob, who is the patron of the award, said earlier this year that the award was a "call for action to Singaporeans to create a positive impact to the community".

  • NOMINATIONS OPEN UNTIL DEC 15

    The public can nominate suitable candidates for the award at http://str.sg/soty19nominate

    Nominees must be Singapore citizens who made the news this year.

Prominent recipients since the inception of the award in 2015 include swimmer Joseph Schooling, who won the country's first Olympic gold medal, in the 100m butterfly in 2016.

From now until Dec 15, the public can nominate candidates for the award via str.sg/soty19nominate

Nominees must be Singapore citizens who made the news this year.

Shortlisted candidates will be unveiled in batches between now and December, following which there will be two weeks of public voting. The outcome of the vote will be used as a reference by the judges in making the final decision.

A panel of judges comprising Straits Times editors, UBS representatives and individuals who have made their mark in various fields will help recommend and select deserving candidates and, ultimately, pick the Singaporean of the Year.

The panel is chaired by Mr Warren Fernandez, editor-in-chief of Singapore Press Holdings' English/ Malay/Tamil Media Group and editor of The Straits Times.

Co-chairing the panel is Mr Koh, whose support helped get the award off the ground. Also on the panel is Mr August Hatecke, UBS' co-head of wealth management in Asia-Pacific and country head of Singapore.

Two new judges will join the panel this year. They are Mr Goh Choon Phong, Singapore Airlines chief executive, and Ms Low Khah Gek, Institute of Technical Education CEO. They replace chef Willin Low and educator David Hoe, who are stepping down after four years.

The award will be given out in February next year.

Mr Fernandez said: "Once again, we are searching for Singaporeans who inspire us all and make us proud to be Singaporeans. The stories of those we uncovered and profiled in the past have moved many. We hope to find more of such stories, of people who are making a difference to the lives of others, in the months ahead."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 17, 2019, with the headline 'Search is on for ST Singaporean of the Year 2019'. Print Edition | Subscribe