ST Singaporean of the Year 2021: Nominees and their contributions to society

ST Singaporean of the Year nominees (clockwise from top left) Loh Kean Yew, Porsche Poh, Abdul Malik Hassan, Azlee Abdul Shukor and Johnson Chia. PHOTOS: AFP, KUA CHEE SIONG, ARIFFIN JAMAR

A world badminton star, a mental health champion, a courageous duo who lent a hand in an emergency, as well as a self-made business owner and mentor to hawkers are among the final batch of The Straits Times Singaporean of the Year finalists announced on Monday (Dec 20).

The ST award, presented by Swiss bank UBS, is an annual award given to a Singaporean individual or group that has made a positive and sustainable impact in society.


Loh Kean Yew goes from underdog to badminton world champ

Badminton player Loh Kean Yew's favourite shot sees him striding to the net, holding out his racket to look like he is going for a simple drop shot, only to flick his wrist at the last moment to deftly send the shuttlecock diagonally across the net.

"Can bluff people and make them go the wrong way, quite shiok," said the Singaporean world No. 22 cheekily.

In the past few months, the 24-year-old has made a habit of producing the unexpected, like last night, when he upset Indian world No. 14 Srikanth Kidambi to become world champion, Singapore's first in the sport.

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People looked at mental health advocate as if she was crazy

When Ms Porsche Poh, 50, started Silver Ribbon (Singapore) in 2006 to dispel the stigma linked to mental illness, she was told she was crazy.

Ms Poh, the charity's executive director, said: "Some people looked at me like I was an alien.

"I had to beg for attention to focus on mental health issues and the stigma against it. I had to beg for funding. It was really tough."

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Duo rescued woman from car before it burst into flames

When Mr Johnson Chia Yong Lee, 28, saw a car skid and crash into a wall on the Seletar Expressway, he did not think about the danger in getting out of his car to help.

His focus was on getting the unconscious 33-year-old woman driver to safety quickly, as her car was already spewing smoke, and was minutes away from catching fire.

Mr Chia tried desperately to flag down motorists. Thankfully, sub-contractor Azlee Abdul Shukor, 48, who was driving by in a van, stopped to help. He drove the woman to safety, away from her car.

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Giving other hawkers a leg up

Seventeen years after he took over his father's Selera Rasa nasi lemak business, Mr Abdul Malik Hassan, 49, can look back on his achievements with a glowing sense of pride.

Not only is the stall in Adam Road Food Centre thriving as a family business shared with Mr Malik's four younger siblings, he also launched Crave - The Original Adam Road Nasi Lemak By Selera Rasa six years ago with a business partner to take his nasi lemak into shopping malls.

There are now 45 Crave outlets in places such as Bugis Junction, AMK Hub and Paya Lebar Square.

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