At the turn of its fifth birthday, TOC felt that it would be good to show our appreciation to our friends, readers, supporters and volunteers who have helped us along the way, some who have played central roles to our stories. They have made the last five years more interesting and meaningful, and made it possible for us to be A Community of Singaporeans.
We also wanted to accord recognition to individuals who have made a difference simply by making their presence felt. Some have gone beyond the normal to make our piece of the world a better place, and we find kindred spirit in bloggers, activists and members of civil society.
The award recipients were selected by consensus of a panel, consisting of Joshua Chiang, Choo Zheng Xi, Kirsten Han, Ravi Philemon, Siew Kum Hong and Adrian Tan.
TOC Award Winners
TOC Article of the Year – “The GRC system – I don’t know what to say” by Elliot Aruldoss
The panel selected a total of eight articles in the last year that garnered the most number of page views. The articles were put to vote by our readers on Facebook, and the winner was a runaway hit.
Contributors of the Year – Howard Lee, Leong Sze Hian, Terry Xu, and Grace Hui
Our volunteers are a very special bunch of people – people who cannot be silent because between General Elections there will be many issues to be discussed; there will be many untold stories which have to be told; and there will be many injustices which will have to be spoken for. Although all our volunteers are important and valuable to us, some have contributed more than others and we want to recognise them for their efforts.
Friend of TOC – Viswa Sadasivan
Viswa raised the gazetting of TOC in Parliament. He also undertook the thankless task of moderating our Face to Face 2 forum with the four presidential candidates.
Friend of TOC – Post Museum
Almost all the important events and milestone of TOC happened in Post Museum – including our Uncassetted party when we were gazetted by the Prime Minister’s Office.
Friend of TOC – Shelley Thio
Shelley has been a supporter and well-wisher of TOC for the longest time. Almost all our private parties for our volunteers happened in her home.
Cyber-campaign of the Year – “Save the World’s Saddest Dolphin” by ACRES
When ACRES decided to free the dolphins headed for Resorts World Sentosa, it embarked on a plan that started in 2010, rolled into a concert and giant dolphin in Speakers’ Corner, and culminated in RWS accusing it for cyber-bullying. It is undisputedly one of the most well-thought-through, coordinated and doggedly determined online campaigns that Singapore has ever seen.
Social Worker of the Year – Jolovan Wham
In a controversial move, the Singapore Association of Social Workers last year withdrew its award of the “Outstanding Social Worker of the Year Award” to Mr Jolovan Wham, executive director of Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics and Instead awarded him the “Promising Social Worker Award”. TOC wants to recognise that Mr Wham is more than a Promising Social Worker, for his inspiring contribution to the protection and promotion of the rights of migrant workers since 2005.
Blogger of the Year – Ng E-Jay
E-Jay has been a prolific socio-political blogger since 2006. He was one of the famous ‘Bloggers 13’ who submitted proposals for the deregulation of the Internet to the Minister for Information, Communication and the Arts in 2008, who is still actively blogging today. TOC recognises the influence E-Jay’s posts have had on the blogosphere and beyond.
Activist of the Year – Rachel Zeng
TOC has spoken up and campaigned against the ‘mandatory’ aspect of the death penalty. As such, TOC wanted to recognise someone who has kept the conversation on the death penalty alive. Rachel has spoken up for people on the death row since 2009. She has spoken up for people like Yong Vui Kong, Cheong Chun Yin, Noor Atiqah and Alan Shadrake. With this award, TOC recognises the selfless contribution and activism of Rachel Zeng towards the anti-death penalty campaign in Singapore.
Lifetime Achievement Award – Catherine Lim
TOC decided to award our inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award to Catherine Lim to acknowledge and appreciate her writings, as well as her constructive criticisms of Singapore’s socio-political environment.
A study titled ‘Who’s Afraid of Catherine Lim?’ by a political scientist at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, Kenneth Paul Tan, cast Ms. Lim’s duel with the government in Freudian terms. An overbearing patriarchal leadership, he said, finds itself at odds with an outwardly benign, deferential woman whose feminine demeanor befuddles and unmans them. The government’s aggressive response to her essays about the ‘affective divide’ seemed to confirm Ms. Lim’s assertion that it did not much care whether it was loved but was intent on being feared. Goh Chok Tong, who was prime minister in 1994, rose in Parliament then to defend his government’s honor, declaring, “If you land a blow on our jaw, you must expect a counterblow on your solar plexus.” In a speech a few months later, also quoted in the pro-government newspaper The Straits Times, he was even more expressive, saying, “If you hit us in the jaw, we hit you in the pelvis.”
More updates from the night and video coming soon.