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Tony Tan Receives Aussie Alumni Award (ST)

BackNov 07, 2010

The inaugural Distinguished Australian Alumnus Award was presented to Singapore Press Holdings chairman Tony Tan last night.

The award was given out by the Australian Alumni Singapore (AAS) at its 55th anniversary dinner which was attended by 420 guests.

It recognises outstanding alumni of Australian universities who have achieved a distinguished career, contributed significantly to society locally or internationally, and also contributed to the Australian alumni community.

Dr Tan, 70, has a PhD in applied mathematics from the University of Adelaide.

He has held key positions in the public and private sectors and is an AAS patron, along with Mr Doug Chester, Australia's High Commissioner to Singapore.

Dr Tan said in a speech that the award was one he would treasure. He recalled, too, the warmth and generosity that he and his wife received when he was studying for his PhD in Australia from 1965 to 1967.

He commended AAS for its good work.

At the event at Sheraton Towers, the guest of honour, Minister for Education and Second Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen, noted that when Singapore gained independence and became more affluent, many of its citizens went overseas for studies or business.

Singapore, in turn, has also received many visitors from abroad for the same reasons.

He said: 'But even as we keep our windows open to enjoy the winds of circulation, we are not a revolving door.

'We must always have a strong core rooted here and committed to Singapore that charts and protects our destiny, preserves our defence and security, our independent judiciary, our form of governance, our values and our education system.'

The AAS has about 500 direct members and an outreach of 10,000 through its 13 institutional members.

AAS president Loh Hoon Sun, 72, who is managing director of Phillip Securities, said the association is working towards becoming an umbrella organisation for individual Australian university alumni associations here, estimated to number more than 30.

Over the years, more than 100,000 Singaporeans have studied in Australia. More than 7,000 Singaporeans currently study in Australian universities, based on past reports.

The AAS yesterday also signed an agreement with the Singapore Manufacturers' Federation to organise joint events and foster business networking, among other things.

At yesterday's event, AAS immediate past president Simon Ho, 61, also held a photography exhibition with proceeds from the sale of his works going to The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund.

The fund helps school-going children from low-income families with pocket money to meet their expenses.

At press time, at least $11,800 had been raised.