The Straits Times Singaporean of the Year 2016

Vote for your local hero now

The shortlist of 12 candidates is complete with these final five, and voting opens from today till next Thursday. Yuen Sin reports

A mental health advocate, a boy who rushed to help an accident victim, the founder of a social enterprise, the head of research and innovation at a family-run firm, and a mechanic who paid for a stranger's studies - these are the final five candidates in a shortlist of 12 nominees for The Straits Times Singaporean of the Year 2016 award.

The second run of the award, supported by UBS Singapore, seeks to recognise Singaporeans who have put the country on the world map, persevered through great adversity or made the community a better place through selfless acts.

In the final batch of shortlisted nominees is 12-year-old Ashvin Gunasegaran, the youngest recipient of the Singapore Civil Defence Force's Public Spiritedness Award, and Mr Jabez Tan, 42, a former convict who now hires and helps others who have been released from prison.

Also shortlisted are Dr Radiah Salim, 54, founder of charity Club Heal; 50-year-old mechanic John Shu, who, after a chance encounter, gave about $6,000 to a single mother who needed the money to study for a diploma; and Mr Eric Lew, 43, the executive director of family-run transport engineering firm Wong Fong Industries.

The Singaporean of the Year will receive $20,000 and a trophy, while the other shortlisted candidates will each get $5,000, all sponsored by UBS.

Now that the shortlist of 12 candidates is complete, a public vote will open from today to next Thursday. The vote will be a factor in the final decision to be made by a panel of 15 judges.

The panel will include editors and senior writers from The Straits Times and also social entrepreneur Saleemah Ismail, Lim Hoon Foundation chairman John Lim and Mr Aaron Maniam, founding chairman of the National Youth Council Academy's advisory panel.

The first 100 to vote will win a commemorative book on Singapore's founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, Lee Kuan Yew: A Life In Pictures, a pictorial book that covers the breadth of Mr Lee's achievements and also reveals the intimate moments of his personal life.

The winner will be announced at an award ceremony on Feb 6. Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies Tharman Shanmugaratnam will be the guest of honour.



Vote for who you think should be Singaporean of the Year at

Voting closes at 6pm on Jan 5.

For inquiries, send an e-mail with the subject heading "Singaporean Of The Year" to:

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 25, 2016, with the headline 'Vote for your local hero now'. Print Edition | Subscribe