Singapore

Bank of S’pore chief & boxer receive Berita Harian achiever awards

Growing up in Kampung Tanjong Irau, a village in the Sembawang area, Mr Bahren Shaari had to walk or cycle 5km every day to the bus stop to get to Ahmad Ibrahim Secondary School.

The grind of daily travel did not take a toll on his studies.

He made it to Hwa Chong Junior College and later received a bursary to study accountancy at the National University of Singapore.

He then joined American Express Bank.

The 56-year-old has since risen through the corporate ranks and eventually became the chief executive of Bank of Singapore.

AWARD

Last night, he received the Berita Harian Achiever of the Year award from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for his professional achievements and contributions to the community.

Despite his success, Mr Shaari said he remembers all too well what it was like as a rookie.

"I didn't have someone I could go to for career guidance. Many jobs and opportunities come from networks and I didn't have that either."

Boxer Muhamad Ridhwan, 30, got the Berita Harian Young Achiever of the Year award.

Speaking at the award ceremony, Mr Lee said year by year, more and more Malays are building successful careers, becoming leaders in their chosen fields and acting as role models to inspire the next generation.

Mr Lee cited how the proportion of Malays going on to post-secondary education has doubled since 1995 to more than 90 per cent.

The proportion of Malays working as professionals, managers, executives and technicians has also risen to around a third.

The BH Achiever of the Year award, now in its 20th edition, shows that Singapore's system works, said Mr Lee.

"That no matter what someone's personal background is, they will have opportunities to be well-educated and develop their career.

"With grit and determination, each one of us can achieve our fullest potential," he said, adding that the recipients of this year's awards both have this grit.

Mr Lee said the awards reflect the ethos of Singapore society: To identify and develop talent, celebrate those who have done well and encourage them to in turn give back to society.

- THE STRAITS TIMES

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