Mr Bahren Shaari, Chief Executive Officer of Bank of Singapore, was presented the Berita Harian Achiever of the Year 2018 award (Anugerah Jauhari Berita Harian 2018) by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong this evening at One Farrer Hotel.
He was conferred the prestigious award for his exceptional professional achievements as well as his outstanding contributions to the community and country.
The annual awards, organised by Singapore Press Holdings’ (SPH) Malay daily, Berita Harian, honour Malay/Muslim individuals for their achievements in their chosen field, be it education, business, arts and culture, sports or social work. Into its 20th year, the qualities that the judging panel looks for include perseverance, determination, integrity and the ability to overcome odds. Above all, the winner will serve as a role model for the Malay/Muslim community in Singapore. The Berita Harian Achiever of the Year 2018 is supported by Management Development Institute of Singapore (MDIS).
Bahren, who was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Bank of Singapore on 1 February 2015, currently leads close to 1,700 employees in Singapore and five other locations – Hong Kong, Luxembourg, Dubai, London and Manila. He was previously the Senior Managing Director and Global Market Head of South East Asia.
He has more than 30 years of banking experience and is an executive committee member of Singapore’s Private Banking Industry Group, which shapes the private banking competency standards of the wealth management sector. In 2016, he was conferred the Singapore Institute of Banking and Finance (IBF) Distinguished Fellow Award, in recognition of his significant contribution to the financial industry and outstanding leadership capabilities.
Prior to joining Bank of Singapore, Bahren served as the Managing Director at UBS Wealth Management, responsible for the Southeast Asian and Australian markets.
He is an alternate member of the Council of Presidential Advisers (CPA) and has also been a non-executive and independent director of SPH since April 2012. From 2000 to 2012, Bahren served on the Board of the Maritime Port Authority of Singapore. He was conferred the Public Service Medal in 2008 by the President of Singapore.
Bahren, 56, is married and a father of three children aged 23 to 29. Despite his busy schedule, he finds time to volunteer and serve the public.
Bahren said: “If I can make a difference to the lives of others, that will be the best. If I can make life easy for people, help them in one way or other, then I will be very happy.”
Mr Saat A. Rahman, Editor of Berita Harian, said: “We are pleased to present the Berita Harian Achiever of the Year 2018 award to Bahren Shaari. Bahren’s stellar achievements in the private banking sector, dealing largely with high net worth clients, is both outstanding and inspiring. Beyond that, the needs of the society are constantly on his mind while actively contributing to various causes and serving on different boards. Coming from a humble background, his achievements made him an excellent role model – not only to the Malay/Muslim community but also to all Singaporeans. He is a worthy recipient of this award.”
Berita Harian Young Achiever of the Year Award
Prime Minister Lee, who was the Guest of Honour at the event, also presented the Young Achiever of the Year 2018 Award (Anugerah Jauhari Harapan Berita Harian 2018) to Mr Muhamad Ridhwan Ahmad, Singapore’s first professional boxing world champion. The award, presented by Courts Singapore this year, recognises young inspiring Malay/Muslim Singaporeans aged 30 and below.
Ridhwan, 30, has 11 years of competitive experience as an amateur Olympic style boxer and has competed in various tournaments all over the world. The five-time National champion in the Lightweight (60kg) category and twice in the 56kg category has also participated in four Southeast Asian Games and won three bronze medals.
He made his professional debut on 27 February 2016 and so far in his professional career, he has won the World Boxing Association (WBS) Asia Super Featherweight title, Universal Boxing Organisation (UBO) World Super Featherweight title, International Boxing Organisation (IBO) International Super Featherweight title and IBO Inter-Continental Featherweight title. He won three professional boxing titles in 2017, most notably the IBO International Super Featherweight title in October. Currently, he holds a record of 11 wins (eight by knockout) and competed for the biggest fight ever in his career (IBO World Super Bantamweight Title) on 29 Sep 2018.
Mr Saat A. Rahman said: “This award is Berita Harian’s small yet significant gesture to motivate young Malay/Muslims who have shown the potential to achieve greater heights. Ridhwan has displayed tenacity and strong determination to follow his passion, flying the Singapore flag high. We hope this award will spur him to continue to work hard and pursue his dreams. While doing so, we also hope he will continue to inspire other young Malay/Muslims to achieve their goals.”
On receiving the award, Ridhwan said: “I am honoured and humbled to receive this prestigious award. It feels good for my sacrifice and hard work to be recognised. I also feel appreciated and this motivates me to do more inside and outside of the ring.”
Berita Harian Young Inspiring Achiever Award
In conjunction with the 20th anniversary of the Berita Harian Achiever of the Year this year, two Berita Harian Young Inspiring Achiever Award recipients were also honoured.
These awards were presented to the recipients, aged 30 and below, in recognition of their inspiring stories that have touched the hearts of Berita Harian’s readers, by attaining success in their respective fields against all odds.
The recipients are Ms Kartika Asman, 23 and Ms Syafiqah ‘Adha Mohamed Sallehin, 28.
Kartika grew up in a low-income family, with her taxi driver dad as the sole breadwinner. Once, when she was sitting for her GCE ‘N’ Level examinations, Kartika and her family of five even had to live in a cramped rental flat, shared with another family.
Growing up, Kartika – the youngest of three children – did not enjoy many privileges that her peers had. However, she worked hard and recently graduated with a nursing degree from National University of Singapore (NUS). Her mother, Mdm Barijah Ahmad Sarjo, passed away a day after the graduation ceremony.
When Berita Harian shared her story in print and online, it caught the interest of many readers and touched their hearts, with many sharing the story on social media and leaving messages of encouragement for the young lady.
Kartika said: “I am so glad that my story has touched and inspired many people to not lose hope and continue to strive hard with any kind of obstacles in the way. This award means a lot to me because it reminds me to be thankful for the hard times that taught me many life lessons and made me stronger.”
Syafiqah is a young composer who was the first Malay Singaporean student to graduate from the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music (YSTCM) at the National University of Singapore. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Music (with Honours) and her Masters of Music from YSTCM in 2013 and 2016 respectively.
Although the music industry was perceived to be not as monetarily rewarding as other jobs like in the finance, engineering and science sectors, Syafiqah worked hard to realise her dream of being a musician. Thankfully, her parents too were very supportive of her passion.
To date, she has won several accolades including the second prize for her composition “Dance of the Merlions” at the 31st Asian Composers’ League Festival (Singapore) in 2013. In 2016, she was featured as the composer-in-residence for the 2nd Singapore International Festival of Music and in 2015, she was the Singaporean composer representative in a new music festival organised by the Society of Malaysian Contemporary Composers (SMCC) called SoundBridge.
Syafiqah’s enthusiasm for new music and the traditional arts has pushed her to work on a new syncretic ensemble called ‘Open Score Project’ that she co-founded with Gildon Choo, a core musician in a multi-ethnical band Kulcha and manager of Syncretic, a traditional Chinese trio. The ensemble comprises musicians from various musical backgrounds with the objective of achieving a holistic sound from the convergence of eclectic musical sources.
Syafiqah said: “I am honoured to be given this award as this is a recognition of my pursuit in the local music industry. I am determined to continue to uplift the traditional Malay music scene in Singapore and to nurture emerging talents.”
Mr Saat A. Rahman said: “Berita Harian is celebrating these two young individuals not only because of their achievements in their respective fields. We are also celebrating their stories, which gives hope to the community that no matter the odds, hard work is the key to success.”
This year’s winners were picked by a panel of four judges from the Malay/Muslim community in Singapore, chaired by Mr Abdullah Tarmugi, former Speaker of Parliament. The other three judges are Berita Harian Editor, Mr Saat A. Rahman; Dr Abdul Razakjr Omar (Jauhari 2013) and Mr Suhaimi Rafdi (Jauhari 2012).