Almost 4,000 people, including military and police personnel, civil servants and even non-Singaporeans, received the National Day award today. The honour is given as recognition and appreciation of their contribution towards the nation.
Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) chairman Peter Ho's name tops the list this year. Ho has been a common name in the Singaporean Administrative service for the past three decades. He retired from service in the year 2010.
It goes without saying that Ho, who is now 62, was indeed very surprised when he saw his name in the list of the awardees.
"I have been retired for almost six years. My roles in public service since retirement have been much more behind-the-scenes and more varied than when I was in full-time service," said Ho.
In a reply to an email sent by Channel NewsAsia, Ho said, "I feel lucky that I had a long career – 34 years – that allowed me at every stage, to make contributions. Each time I was put in a position to make a decision, I always felt that the main judgement was whether the decision would make things better for Singapore and for Singaporeans."
Another important name in the list is the 64-year-old managing director of WIN Landscape Planning and Design, Junichi Inada. He is receiving the award for his contribution to making Singapore greener.
During his tenure, Inada, had set up several parks, green zones and children's parks. He also played a pivotal role in implementing the SBG masterplan in the year 1989. He helped to transform gardens into a site for research, recreation, conservation and education. UNESCO announced the green space as World Heritage Site last year.
There are several others from different walks of life who received the prestigious award. Artist Lim Tze Peng, National Environment Agency chair Chew Gek Khim, Council of Presidential Advisers member and retired Supreme Court judge Goh Joon Seng to name a few.
Singapore's National day is observed every year on August 9 to mark Singapore's independence from Malaysia in the year 1965.