Top honours for outstanding women achievers at The Singapore Women’s Weekly Great Women Of Our Time Awards 2019

Oct 24, 2019

The Singapore Women’s Weekly announced the winners at this year’s Great Women Of Our Time Awards, an annual initiative that honours the outstanding achievements of the nation’s most inspiring women.

These women were honoured at the cocktail party cum awards presentation at Artemis Grill & Sky Bar this evening. The Guest of Honour was Ms Sun Xueling, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Ministry of Home Affairs & Ministry of National Development.

Some of the winners have received international recognition, which include Arts and Media winner Tan Kheng Hua, who played the role as Kerry Chu in Crazy Rich Asians, a Hollywood film and major box-office hit around the world; Science and Technology winner Dr Andie Ang, who champions primate research in Singapore and raises awareness about our local wildlife; and Education and Public Service winner, Adeline Thong who founded The Last Resort, a safe shelter and caring community for at-risk youths.

Below are the winners for all the categories:

Arts and Media

Tan Kheng Hua 

Actress-Producer

A well-known and respected award-winning actress-producer in Singapore and Malaysia, Kheng Hua made waves as Margaret in the iconic Singapore sitcom Phua Chu Kang Pte Ltd, a role that won her Best Actress (Comedy) at the 2002 Asian Film Awards. She then went on to make history as Kerry Chu in 2018’s Crazy Rich Asians, the first Hollywood production to feature an all Asian cast in over 25 years. Besides film and television, Kheng Hua is also highly respected in the Singapore theatre scene where she’s a prolific actress and independent creative producer in Singapore. The mother-of-one has also been nominated for and won many awards including The Art Nation Award (Best Actress) and DBS Life! Theatre Award (Best Actress).

Design and Style

Vivien Leong

Consultant, Ipli Architects

With over 14 years of experience in award-winning architectural practices in Singapore and the UK, Vivien has wide-ranging experience with diverse typologies, comprising leisure, office, transportation, education, mixed-use development and masterplanning. When she was with CPG Consultants in 2011, Vivien led the team to complete the Nanyang Technological University Learning Hub (affectionately known as The Hive) in Singapore, a collaboration with Heatherwick Studio based in London, UK. A showcase for modern methods of learning and teaching, the building employs ground-breaking solutions in sustainable, construction and use of materials. The project has been awarded the Green Mark Platinum for sustainable buildings. Vivien currently focuses on residential projects at Ipli Architects.

Education and Public Service

Adeline Thong

Co-Founder, The Last Resort 

A former part-time external school counsellor, Adelinehas opened up her home to house youths for more than a decade. Alongside her husband Kenneth, she helped provide a safe shelter to around 35 youths since they started the initiative after they got married in 2007. These young adults could be unwed mothers, teenagers who lived on the streets or those with mental problems. Most are from dysfunctional or abusive families with no homes. Many are too old for institutional care or fostering. There are five bedrooms in their rented Seletar four-storey terraced house called The Last Resort, where the youths can stay for as long as they have to.

Finance and Commerce

Val Ji-Hsuan Yap 

Founder, PolicyPal

A former whiz in the finance world, Val left all that behind to start PolicyPal and PAL Network because of a passion to make insurance protection simple and accessible to everyone following a family setback. Founded in 2016, the startup aims to help customers understand their insurance coverage better by allowing them to organise, and track, all their insurance products in one dashboard. To date, PolicyPal has 16 carriers, 50,000 users and manages insurance premiums worth up to $70 million on the platform. It is also the first graduate of the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s FinTech Sandbox, which allows financial institutions and fintech startups to experiment with promising financial products or services in a supportive environment.

Health, Sports and Wellness (A tie for this category)

Nurshahidah Roslie 

Professional Boxer 

Singapore’s first professional female boxer, Nurshahidah won the Asian featherweight championship belt from the World Boxing Council in 2017 and was one of the finalists of the World Boxing Organization’s Asia-Pacific super bantamweight title. Nicknamed ‘The Sniper’, she was also awarded with Asia’s Female Champion of the Year 2017 from the World Boxing Council and was the highest-ranking female featherweight boxer from Asia as of May 2018. Growing up, Nurshahidah says she was an overweight teenager but learned to hone her skills and fitness in the boxing ring where she found discipline and respect among the other athletes. To date, the 32-year-old has 13 wins, two losses and six championship titles to her name.

Gillian Tee

Founder, Homage

As the co-founder and CEO of Homage, a one-stop senior home care solution, Gillian believes that everyone has the right to grow old with grace and dignity. The Singapore-based start-up aims to make it easier for caregivers and the patients that need them to connect. In short, Homage offers a prescription for our ageing society. By using technology and integrating it into an elderly care model, Gillian and her partners offer expert, flexible and personalised home and nursing care so the elderly can continue to live independently at home. In 2017, Gillian was given a shout-out by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in his National Day Rally speech.

Science and Technology

Dr Andie Ang 

Research Scientist, Wildlife Reserves Singapore Conservation Fund; & President, Jane Goodall Institute (Singapore)

Passionate about protecting the endangered Raffles’ banded langur, a species of leaf-eating monkey found only in Singapore and southern Malaysia, Dr Ang chairs the Raffles’ Banded Langur Working Group to study and conserve the species. She also studies Tonkin snub-nosed monkeys, Indochinese silvered langurs and black-shanked doucs in Vietnam, and has previously studied white-handed gibbons in Thailand. In her spare time, the half Thai-half Singaporean primatologist volunteers at the President of the Jane Goodall Institute to facilitate educational outreach, raise awareness and promote appreciation for our local wildlife. She holds a PhD in Biological Anthropology from the University of Colorado Boulder. Her research interest lies in the ecology, behaviour, and population genetics of Asian colobines like langurs and odd-nosed monkeys.

Subsidiary Award – Lancôme Visionary Award

Janine Teo 

Founder & CEO, Solve Education! 

Passionate about leveraging technology to solve social problems in a systemic, scalable and sustainable way, Janine founded non-profit, Solve Education!, in 2015 with the mission of delivering quality education to everyone. With a particular focus on the BOP (Bottom of Pyramid) demographic, Janine and her team created Dawn of Civilization, a mobile learning platform that enables people across different ages to learn on the go for free. She is also the first Asian to receive the International Intellectual Benefits to Society Award 2018 by Mensa International. In her free time, the University of Pennsylvania – Global Social Impact House 2019, is an avid speaker on topics like education, edtech, gender equality and poverty alleviation.

Subsidiary Award – PANDORA Spirited Woman Award

Dr Claudine Pang 

Medical Director, Asia Retina Eye Surgery Centre

As the Medical Director of Asian Retina Eye Surgery Centre, Dr Pang derives her job satisfaction by making blind people see again. She has more than 15 years of ophthalmology experience and has performed thousands of cataract and retinal surgeries making her one of the experienced cataract surgeons in Singapore. She strongly believes that technology can help improve awareness on eye health and with that belief she created Singapore’s first mobile app that allows users to assess basic visual tests. Outside of ophthalmology, Dr Pang is a mother of 2 children and is a strong advocate for family mission trips, where she brings her children to help underprivileged people in under-developed countries.

Most Inspiring Award

Karen Chan

Executive Director, Asian Film Archive (AFA)

Under Karen’s leadership as the Executive Director of the Asian Film Archive (AFA) since 2006, Singapore’s first film collection was successfully inscribed into the UNESCO Memory of the World Asia-Pacific Register. At AFA, she contributes to archiving and library related tasks that ensure the promotion and preservation of Singapore’s cinematic heritage. She also oversaw the debut of the Oldham Theatre in May 2019, a cinema dedicated to screening lesser-known Asian Films. Her past experiences include teaching English and History, working with the National Arts Council, National Archives of Singapore, and the Natural History Museum in New York City.