Unless you’ve received one, you’d probably not know too much about any of these awards that the state issues to recognise exellence.
The Bintang Temasek, was Singapore’s highest decoration for members of the Armed Forces or Police who displayed “acts of exceptional courage or skill”, or “exhibited conspicuous devotion to duty in circumstances of extreme danger”. Instituted in 1970, the medal – which can also be given posthumously – has never yet been awarded.
The Certificate of Honour, this medal is awarded to those whom have given great service to the state. So far Mr Zubir Said, composer of the National Anthem; Wong Peng Soon, world badminton champion; and Mr Lim Hak Tai, founding principal of the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts have been recipients of this medal. There are no living recipients of this award today.
The Medal of Honour, this medal was instituted in 1970 alongside The Star of Temasek and The Defence Medal rewarding men and women of the Armed Forces and the Police Force for distinguished conduct while in the field of service. However, this medal has never been awarded.
The Order of Temasek was the highest of six state decorations created in 1962. Members of the Order were ranked just after Cabinet ministers. The first recipient of this award was the late Mr Lim Kim San, then chairman of the Housing and Development Board. Others admitted to this Order, which has three classes, include Queen Elizabeth II (First Class, 1972), the late Dr Goh Keng Swee (First Class, 1985), and the late Mr S. Rajaratnam (First Class, 1990). Not more than 12 persons can be admitted to the First Class of this Order at any time. If you get this you’re definitely up there.
The Public Service Star, when it was first introduced, the medal was awarded to 88 recipients. Among them community leaders, artists, social workers and trade union leaders. Famous mentions would include Devan Niar and Wee Kim Wee before both their presidencies.
The Public Administration Medal, introduced in 1963 to reward public servants who had “discharged their duties and responsibilities with more efficiency and conscientiousness than was normally expected of them”. The medals came in three grades, Gold, Silver and Bronze and was awarded according to seniority of appointment.
The Medal of Valour, introduced in 1987, the medal was awarded to persons who performed an act of great courage or gallantry under circumstances of personal danger. The commandos were awarded for their role during the hijacking of a Singapore Airlines Flight in 1991.
The Conspicuous Gallantry Medal, was one of the first six state awards given out by Mr Yusof Ishak at the inaugural 1962 Singapore National Day Honours for acts of courage in circumstances of extreme personal danger. The first recipients were deputy superintendents of police Ong Kian Tiong and V. N. Ratna Singam for their role in the capture of kidnapper Oh Kim Kee in 1960.
The Pingat Bakti Chemerlang, was the fourth of six original 1962 medals. This medal was awarded to the widow of Yusoff Ishak, Toh Puan Noor Aishah for her work in social welfare as well as Mr Hon Sui Sen former chairman of the Economic Development Board. This medal would be replaced in 1968 by The Distinguished Service Medal.
The Meritorious Service Medal, the fifth of 6 1962 medals. This medal was awarded for long service marked by exceptional ability, merit and exemplary conduct. Recipients of this medal include Tan Howe Liang an Olympic Silver Medallist in weightlifting, Rev. Brother Albert former director of Boy’s Town Singapore and former President S.R. Nathan.
The Distinguished Service Order, was awarded to “anyone who has performed an act or series of acts constituting distinguished conduct”. This was created in 1968 to replace the Distinguished Service Medal.
The Order of Nila Utama, was in 1975 billed as the “highest award that could be conferred on a foreign dignitary”. Instead, it has been awarded mostly to citizens, including the late politician, Dr Toh Chin Chye; the late Mr Michael Fam, who chaired the Mass Rapid Transit Corporation in the 1980s; and former politician Othman Wok, for their contributions to society.
The Public Service Medal, instituted in 1973 to reward “commendable public service in Singapore”, or for “achievement in arts and letters, sports, the sciences, business, the professions and the labour movement”. If you receive this award, you could then choose to add the letters PBM to your name.
The Efficiency Medal, instituted in 1969, and was awarded to public servants and those connected with work in the public sphere for “exceptional efficiency or exceptional devotion to duty, or for work of special significance”.
The Long Service Award, the last of six original awards from 1962 rewarded public servants who had served 25 years continuously in the Government, statutory boards, fields of education or in government-owned companies, and who were of “irreproachable character”. By the time the design of this medal was changed on Aug 2, 1996, thousands had been awarded.
Credits: Straits Times Singapore
Photos: Alphonsus Chern
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