On this coming Saturday (20 August), the Singapore Advocacy Awards will be presenting awards to three individuals and two organisations that have been exemplary in their advocacy work in Singapore. This is the third and maybe last award ceremony held by the initiative.
Launched in 2014, the Singapore Advocacy Awards (SAA) are a celebration and affirmation of the contributions of individuals and organisations to the development of a vibrant civil society in Singapore.
The SAA is a peer initiative, being organised by a group of civil society activists called The Working Committee 3 (TWC3).
Constance Singam, who chairs TWC3 said, “What the Singapore Advocacy Awards aims to do each year is highlight the best examples of advocacy work. These are the people who have shown both conviction and courage in championing their causes, whose work has had an impact on society and who are an inspiration to other activists. They deserve to be acknowledged and celebrated.”
Veteran nature conservation champion Dr Ho Hua Chew will be honoured at this year’s Singapore Advocacy Awards as “Outstanding Advocate of our Time” at the awards ceremony
Dr Ho joined the Nature Society (Singapore) in 1971 and became an active member in the mid-1980s.
He was involved in the development and writing of many of the society’s proposals.
- The development and writing of many of the society’s proposals,
- Providing feedback to the government on its various development plans,
- Educating many about nature and the importance of conservation.
Kirsten Han – Advocate of the Year
Ms Han, a full-time independent journalist, is honoured for her investigative reporting on issues of critical importance to Singapore, such as
- Minority rights,
- Freedom of expression,
- Migrant worker rights,
- Activist in the We Believe in Second Chances campaign which calls for an end to the death penalty in Singapore.
June Chua – Promising Advocate of the Year
Ms Chua is a co-founder of The T Project, which runs Singapore’s only shelter for transgender persons and works to empower the transgender community and enable its members to lead dignified and fulfilling lives. Her efforts have helped to give many people a better understanding of the transgender community and its needs.
Drama Box – Advocate Organisation of the Year
Drama Box, a non-profit theatre company, seeks to raise social awareness and inculcate civic responsibility amongst its audiences. Its innovation productions that blend performance with participation have provided Singaporeans with
Its innovation productions that blend performance with participation have provided Singaporeans with a theatre that not only entertains but also engages their minds and their hearts.
HOME – Advocate Organisation of the Year
HOME champions the rights of migrant workers and trafficked persons and provides them with direct services including welfare assistance and skills and empowerment training.
Its advocacy work has helped to bring about changes in policies and improvements in the working and living conditions of migrant workers.
On the new bill that was passed on this Monday (15 August), Constance Singam said: “The last few weeks of discussion and debate about the Administration of Justice (Protection) Bill show that we have a civil society engaged and united in active and rigorous advocacy work, both outside and inside parliament. That is a very encouraging sign.”
“The government may not have taken into account civil society concerns about the impact of the Bill but this does not mean we should give up. We must continue to speak up and argue our case. There are different paths to take in achieving civil society aims, and we should continue to support those in Parliament who are trying their best to speak for us.”
“It is important that we empower, celebrate and acknowledge the work of those who are at the forefront of advocacy work. Much of the time they work under very difficult and trying conditions.”
The recipients of the 2016 Singapore Advocacy Awards were selected by a judging panel comprising:
- Constance Singam, civil society advocate and writer
- Dr Kanwaljit Soin, former Nominated Member of Parliament and veteran campaigner on women’s rights and ageing issues
- Peter Cuthbert Low, Managing Director, Peter Low LLC, Advocates and Solicitors
- Shawn Lum, President, Nature Society Singapore, and Snr Lecturer, Asian School of the Environment, College of Science, NTU
- Tan Tatt Si, President, Humanist Society.
The award ceremony will be held on 20 August, 12.30pm, at 6th Floor of the Singapore Management University Administration Building at Victoria Street.