Christopher receiving his award from President Tony Tan
My hubby Christopher was conferred the PBM (Pingat Bakti Masyarakat, Public Service Medal) by President Tony Tan at the National Day Awards Investiture 2011 held at the University Cultural Centre, NUS. It was President Tony Tan's first investiture ceremony. My son and I were invited to this gala event.
At this annual ceremony, Singaporeans and non-Singaporeans are honoured for their excellent contribution in the civil or military service,social and community work or for excellent performance in their fields.
There were at least 400 receipients at this ceremony. President Tony Tan has to shake each receipient's hand and smile for the camera for two hours.
The NDA has stringent criteria and an elaborate system of nomination and short-listing award winners. The process usually takes four to five months of nomination, consideration and approval by the President before the award winners are announced.
An elaborate system of nominations and short-listing award winners begins around February to April each year. Ministries,statutory boards and grassroots organisations make nominations for the awards. The government's personnel boards and ad hoc committees select the deserved recipients. The recommendations are submitted to the Cabinet for clearance and then sent to the President's office for final approval. The names of the winners are announced on 9 August.
Recipients of NDA receive a medal and a collar pin. The medal can be worn at national and important functions such as the National Day Parade, the Prime Minister's reception for private sector establishments and the launching of national campaigns, while the pin can be worn any time.
Prime Minister Lee Hisen Loong, Cabinet Ministers, members of the diplomatic corps and grassroots leaders were also present at the event. I had the honour of speaking with several of them.
THE GOOD MEN AND WOMEN OF SINGAPORE
President Tony Tan
It must be an exhausting night for our 71-year-old President. He was shaking hundreds of hands and smiling for hundreds of photo shots. Despite being on his feet for most of the evening, he has kind words for us and send his congratulations. Thank you Mr President!
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
The most sought after man at this event. PM Lee didn't have a chance to grab a bite nor a drink because people were queuing to have a photo with him. He was most obliging, taking time to chit-chat and find out more about us.
Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean
DPM Teo Chee Hean stationed himself at the entrance of the hall and graciously posed for photos. Every request was met with a smile and a firm handshake.
Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong
Our ever-gracious ESM Goh is always ready to oblige with a photo. My son asked for a picture with him. He was very observant and concerned when he noticed that the cover of my son's iPhone was blocking the camera when Chris was taking the shot.
He asked twice if we needed to retake the picture. A check proved ESM Goh right. He posed for another photo with my son making him a very happy boy that night.
Law Minister K Shamugam and his lovely wife
Law Minister K Shamugam was extremly sweet that evening, it was because he has his lovely wife by his side. :)
National Development Minister, Khaw Boon Wan
Minister Khaw has been working extremely hard to solve the housing woes for the public since volunteering to take up this uphill task. Glad to see him in good health and looking fabulous.
Speaker of Parliament Michael Palmer
So happy to see Mr Palmer again. The perfect gentleman waved from afar when he saw us. He spoke with my son and gave him much encouragement on his future endeavours.
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong always has a ready ear for feedback. I voiced my concern on the bed crunch at Singapore General Hospital as my son is still on painkillers for his backache as there is no bed available for a non-emergency case like his. I was requested to write in to him.
Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam
DPM Tharman is the man to look forward to for next year's Budget. He is also Minister for Finance, known as God of Fortune to the common man. :) He distributes the country's wealth to the citizens when our economy is doing well.
Senior Counsel Alvin Yeo, MP Hong Kah Group Representative Constituency (Nanyang Division)
In January 2000, Mr Yeo became the youngest lawyer to be appointed Senior Counsel, Singapore's version of the Queen's Counsel. He caught my attention when he represented the Singapore Medical Council against a Singapore doctor who overcharged a Bruneian patient. I am awed by his brilliant arguments in the case.
Ho Ching, CEO of Temasek Holdings
Ms Ho Ching is also Mrs Lee, wife of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. She was looking on lovingly at her husband from the side because he was swarmed with requests for photos. She happily obliged for a photo when I asked and even waved my son over to have a picture together. She chit-chatted with us before someone else came up to ask for a photo with her.
Yam Ah Mee, Chief Executive Director of People's Association
I was ecstatic to meet Mr Yummy and he gladly posed for a photo. He was extremely pleased with the feedback on how good some of the courses offered at Community Centres were. I was invited to write in so we could work on how to promote the courses at CCs.
MP Lim Biow Chuan (centre), Mr Lim Nghee Huat (left, Chairman of the Mountbatten Citizens’ Consultative Committee). Both men are exemplary examples of great men who contributed selflessly to their community and country.
Tin Pei Ling, MP for MacPherson
Ms Tin is looking fabulous. A very resilient and tough lady despite her young age, she will survive the rough ride ahead. Many hugs to her for staying strong.
Mayor (Central Singapore District) Sam Tan
I am always delighted to meet Mayor Sam Tan. He is just like a concerned big brother to me, always has time and kind, encouraging words for me. He still thanks me for my write up for the Riverside Hong-bao event. awww.......
Er Dr Lee Bee Wah, MP Nee Soon GRC
The triumphant President of the Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA) is ecstatic with a haul of five gold, four silver medals from the recent SEA Games. She fought very hard to keep in her initial SEA Games lineup - young homegrown players Isabelle Li and Pang Xue Jie. Er Lee is very focus on her objective, to groom our homegrown players so they can hold their own on the stage of international sports.
To me, the medals are not as important as the chance to compete against the world's best and the experience our homegrown players could gain from it.
Congratulations to Er Lee and the Singapore Table Tennis team, we are proud of you!
The evening was an enjoyable one as we had the chance to mingle with our ministers, MPs and top policy makers to hear their thoughts and views on making Singapore a better place for everyone.
Special thanks must be given to the young men and women from the Singapore Police Force, MINDEF and Civil Defence. Looking extremely smart in their uniforms, they looked after us well and made sure we were comfortable and have an unforgettable evening.
Even the shuttle bus drivers from Comfort-Delgro were courteous and thoughful.
Presented by the President, BBM = Bintang Bakti Masyarakat, Public Service Star; PBM = Pingat Bakti Masyarakat, Public Service Medal
National Day Awards - Thanks to Singapore Infopedia, Sara Pek, NLB