Singapore, 6 February 2018 - A charity for migrant workers, and its co-founder, are the recipients of The Straits Times Singaporean of the Year award for 2017.
Dr Goh Wei Leong and HealthServe, which provides migrant workers with affordable healthcare, received the award from President Halimah Yacob at a ceremony held today (Feb 6) at UBS University APAC. Madam Halimah was Guest-of-Honour at the event.
HealthServe was founded in 2006 by Dr Goh, a general practitioner, and businessman Tang Shin Yong. The non-governmental organisation opened its first clinic in Geylang in 2007, and now has dental and medical clinics in Geylang, Mandai and Jurong, as well as non-medical centres in Little India and Tai Seng. It also offers social assistance, skills training and a food programme.
"Our dream is to work ourselves out of a job. To close HealthServe once there is enough public responsibility," says Dr Goh, who is more interested in forging human connections than simply dishing out medicine and free meals.
The Straits Times Singaporean of the Year award, organised by The Straits Times and sponsored by UBS Singapore, honours Singaporeans who have put the country on the world map, persevered through incredible adversity or made the community a better place through selfless acts. It is now in its third year.
The inaugural award in 2015 went to Good Samaritan Noriza A. Mansor, for helping an elderly Chinese man who had soiled himself in public. Last year’s (2016) award was given to Joseph Schooling and his parents, May and Colin, for their for their dedication and sacrifice in chasing the dream of an Olympic gold for Singapore.
In the running for this year's award were 10 finalists from different walks of life. Among them were a film-maker, a conductor, a cartoonist, a sportsman, a doctor, a lawyer, and students (See attachment for full list of finalists).
They were picked from 60 nominees after four rounds of selection by a panel of 15 judges. The judging panel includes editors from The Straits Times, as well as figures such as social entrepreneur and activist Saleemah Ismail, chef and restaurateur Willin Low and singer-songwriter Dick Lee (See attachment for the full list of judges).
The recipient of the Singaporean of the Year 2017 award is given $20,000 in cash and a trophy, while the other nine finalists each get $5,000. The prize money is sponsored by UBS.
Mr Warren Fernandez, editor-in-chief of SPH's English/Malay/Tamil Media group and editor of The Straits Times, said: “This year we uncovered another crop of outstanding Singaporeans, who have overcome the odds to do themselves, and the country, proud.
"Whether it is in their respective fields, such as film or classical music, or helping communities abroad and at home, their work speaks of a commitment and sense of purpose that is laudable and worthy of our respect and applause. Each of their stories is an inspiration to us all.”
Mr Edmund Koh, country head UBS Singapore and head wealth management in UBS Asia-Pacific, said: “UBS Singapore is delighted to once again partner The Straits Times for the Singaporean of the Year award 2017. This special award celebrates the triumph of the human spirit, and it is our honour to acknowledge individuals who have gone above and beyond to make a difference in Singapore. We celebrate all the finalists as they are each deserving in their own way. At the same time, our congratulations to Dr. Goh and Healthserve, whose selfless contributions over the years have touched the lives of many, and helped create a more nurturing and caring society."
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About The Straits Times
The Straits Times, the English-language flagship daily of Singapore Press Holdings, is the most-read newspaper in Singapore and is followed widely in the region for its comprehensive coverage of local, regional and world news, provided by its correspondents in 20 bureaus in major cities worldwide.
Launched on July 15, 1845, The Straits Times underwent a major redesign across all platforms in July 2015, when it celebrated its 170th anniversary. This revamp is part of its continuing efforts to refresh its products, maintain quality and stay relevant to the changing needs of its readers. Its integrated newsroom operates round-the-clock, providing readers with news as it happens on all platforms, from its website at www.straitstimes.com, Apple and Android apps to social media.
The Straits Times is a member of two media networks - the Asia News Network and the Impact Journalism Day alliance of newspapers - and it has won multiple international media awards, including from the Society of Publishers in Asia, the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers, the Pacific Area Newspaper Publishers' Association (Panpa), Society of News Design and Wan-Ifra. In 2017, it was conferred the silver award for best news mobile service and the bronze award for best use of online video by the World Association of Newspaper at the Digital Media Asia Awards.
About UBS in Singapore
UBS provides financial advice and solutions to wealthy, institutional and corporate clients worldwide, as well as private clients in Switzerland. The operational structure of the Group is comprised of our Corporate Center and five business divisions: Wealth Management, Wealth Management Americas, Personal & Corporate Banking, Asset Management and the Investment Bank. UBS's strategy builds on the strengths of all of its businesses and focuses its efforts on areas in which it excels, while seeking to capitalize on the compelling growth prospects in the businesses and regions in which it operates, in order to generate attractive and sustainable returns for its shareholders. All of its businesses are capital-efficient and benefit from a strong competitive position in their targeted markets.
Headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, UBS has offices in 52 countries, including all major financial centers, and employs approximately 60,000 people. UBS Group AG is the holding company of the UBS Group. Under Swiss company law, UBS Group AG is organized as an Aktiengesellschaft, a corporation that has issued shares of common stock to investors.
UBS established a presence in Singapore in 1970s, following the merger of Union Bank of Switzerland and Swiss Bank Corporation in June 1998, UBS has enjoyed a reputation as a leading foreign financial institution in Singapore. Today UBS has over 2,300 employees across its wealth management, investment banking and asset management businesses.