2016 has passed by in a flash, and with it, countless moments of pride and reflection for Singapore. Today, we’re featuring just some of the many Singaporeans who have been given recognition for their successes in 2016, and what we can learn from them going into the new year!
- Yap Pin Xiu and Theresa Goh, Singapore Paralympic Athletes
In 2016, Singapore created more than just a ripple at the Olylmpic swimming pool – and we’re not just talking about Joseph Schooling! Apart from his amazing achievement, due recognition should be given to these two ladies who also claimed spots on the podium. Theresa Goh came away with the Bronze medal in the SB4 100m Breastroke and Yap Pin Xiu won the Gold in the 100m S2 backstroke at the Rio 2016 Paralympics. Not only are they role models for all Singaporeans – showing that hard work and passion can take one to the Olympic stage – but they have also shown themselves to be amazing sportswomen.
When public debate broke out concerning whether Yap Pin Xiu should be awarded prize money for her gold-medal, both athletes said that they were not swimming for money, but for the sport itself and also with the hopes that people with disabilities will one day be treated equally in society. You can read more about this here.
Not only have the two shown great sportsmanship, but they have also helped to raise public awareness of people with disabilities in Singapore and what they can achieve. In the same way, we should ask ourselves how our actions and words can help or support others, no matter what dream we have chosen to pursue. Our actions should speak to a larger purpose, the same way Yap Pin Xiu and Theresa Goh’s swimming has made big, big waves in 2016.
- Nuraliah Norasid, Winner of the Epigram Book Fiction Prize 2016
If you haven’t heard, the Epigram Books Fiction Prize is an annual $25,000 literary prize by local publisher Epigram Book which aims to give recognition to local writing talents and support them by publishing the prize-winning stories each year. (Find out more about the prize here). This year, Nuraliah Norasid won the prize for her manuscript ‘The Gatekeeper’, which will be published by Epigram come 2017.
The Epigram Books Fiction Prize a significant part of the literary calendar in Singapore as it draws attention to the local writing scene and to the writing prowess of Singaporean writers. For instance, Nuraliah Norasid’s winning entry is inspired by the greek figure of Medusa but also blends in elements of the Malay culture. You can learn more about her and her writing here. Her love for reading – even during periods of financial difficulty – and her shift from the science to literature during her studies to follow her interest and strengths, is one of many lived experiences that support the viability and value of the arts in Singapore. We can’t wait to read Nuraliah’s first novel, and also to see what new voices and faces initiatives like the Epigram Book Fiction Prize will unearth – the best support we can give such initiatives, is to make room for them in our daily lives. Pick up a book written by a Singaporean the next time you’re at the library!
- Boo Junfeng, Director of Apprentice
If you haven’t watched Apprentice, then you’re missing out on one of the best movies directed by a Singaporean this year. Boo Junfeng’s movie has been given recognition not only in Singapore but also on the international stage at the Cannes Film Festival! (Read more about it here).
Apprentice is a gripping tale from start to finish with an absorbing cast and fantastic production. Most importantly, it explores a pertinent topic in Singapore – the death penalty. Boo Junfeng sheds insight into the lives of those on the death row, but also on the responsibility of the undertaker through this 2 hour film. It is an eye-opening and thought-provoking experience that deserves all the accreditations it has gotten (such as the Rising Director Award and the Netpac Award).
Boo Junfeng’s willingness to delve into this topic in order to stimulate conversation, and not conclusion, to this aspect of our judicial system is what makes Apprentice so powerful. It reminds us that we should always create a neutral space to talk about subjects that we may disagree on, and to understand different perspectives on the matter.
Still not convinced? Read this CNA article on why you should watch Apprentice.
While Apprentice no longer has regular screenings in our local cinemas, you can always keep up to date with The Projector, which has screened this film on special occasions!
- Chan Hon Meng, Owner of Michelin-starred ‘Hong Kong Chicken Rice and Noodle’
This year, not one but two local hawker stalls were given a Michelin star, making them the first ever food stalls that have ever received this honour! (Read this CNA article to get the overview!)
One of the two recognised hawkers is Chan Hon Meng, owner of ‘Hong Kong Chicken Rice and Noodle’ at Smith Street.
Despite this award, Mr Chan Hon Meng has not changed his routine – he continues to work hard at his stall, preparing his chicken in the early hours of dawn. He has also stated that he would not want raise his prices despite the Michelin star as he values serving good food at a good price for his customers (You can read more about Mr Chan in this interview by Nextshark). His humble response to all the attention is something we should aspire to be whenever we meet with success in our individual lives – to continue to better ourselves and to not our success drag us down from improving even further or doing what we do best.
We can’t wait to try out ‘Hong Kong Chicken Rice and Noodle’, as well as the other Michelin star awardee: ‘Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle’ owned by Mr Tang Chay Seng (Read more about him here!).
We’re sure that many other inspiring Singaporeans will come to mind when you think of what has happened in 2016. Reflecting on all this helps us think about what can we take away from their achievements, and how can we grow in 2017. We’re excited to start the new year on a fresh foot, and we hope you are too! (: