After an exhaustive month-long process to unearth the nation’s future generation of young talent, Yahoo’s Singapore 9 campaign closed in style with a celebration bash on Friday.
Held at cozy Miami-style bar Lucky 13 at Triple One Somerset and hosted by local TV personality and deejay Vernetta Lopez, the three-hour celebration saw the nine finalists step out dressed in their best to accept their awards.
[See photo gallery of the event]
Held for the second successive year, the Yahoo! Singapore 9 campaign recognizes the best young Singapore talent under the age of 35 in the fields of business, entertainment and social enterprise.
Mohan Belani, co-founder and director of technology outfit e27, emerged tops in the Business category after a week-long final voting phase.
“This was a hobby all along and it's nice to see the mainstream audience recognizing the efforts that we've done for e27 because it's always been a very niche, early-stage-start-up,” said the ecstatic 29-year-old.
“I think Yahoo!’s Singapore 9 is a great way to recognize local talent – local people who are taking the road less travelled, who are trying something different and making a mark for themselves,” Belani added.
Belani edged out fellow nominees Michelle Tham, 33-year-old speech pathologist and co-founder of Leapfrogs, and Grace Wong, 31-year-old creative director of Awesome Costumes.
Radio deejay Emily Teng, who runs social enterprises Blessings in a Bag and OKRA, agreed.
“Singapore 9 really showcases entrepreneurship in Singapore, said the spunky 25-year-old.
Teng emerged tops in the Social Enterprise category ahead of former netball star Zhang Tingjun, 29, and Pamela Yeo, 24, who gave up a promising legal career for a business selling jewellery made of scrap metal from war remnants in Cambodia.
“It really encourages ordinary Singaporeans and especially the young people to step out and do what they've always wanted to do and follow their dreams; I think that's very important,” said a visibly excited Teng.
“I can't wait to share this piece of good news with the women and children and the beneficiaries we work with across Asia because they were really hoping that Singapore will support us to help them,” she added.
Riduan Zalani, a 26-year-old percussionist, won the Entertainment category, ahead of film-maker Ray Pang, 27, and creative director and musician Le Messie, 31.
Currently on a multi-city tour in Europe with Batucada Sound Machine, a New Zealand fusion percussion band, Zalani could not make the party but sent his thanks via video.
“The win will definitely push me further into realising my fullest potential in my craft, in the things I do and the things I believe in!” said Zalani, who felt the win was “unexpected”.
“Hopefully it will enable me to garner more support to continuously contribute towards our Singapore arts and culture,” he added.
Music producer Le Messie, who wrote and produced American rapper Lupe Fiasco’s Grammy-nominated album “The Cool” in 2008, said being part of the final Singapore 9 would propel him to do greater things in Singapore.
“I think the right people won. A lot of the things I've been doing and all of my achievements have been overseas… this will be the catalyst for me to do more things in Singapore,” said Le Messie, who also runs his own successful fashion label.
“I think Yahoo!’s Singapore 9 is the beginning of a new generation, the next movers and shakers so I think it's a really, really good start,” he added.
Actor Adrian Pang, one of the three judges for the campaign, said it was both inspiring and humbling to be involved.
Along with businessman and F&B operator Michel Lu and founder of 77th street fashion Elim Chew, the three judges -- who were presented with limited edition Johnnie Walker Black Label bottles as tokens of apprciation -- were involved in a grueling process to whittle down the initial list of 65 nominees to the final nine.
“This event has got a real big heart which is kind of absent in a lot of award ceremonies… it’s got a real sincerity about it which is very inspiring of me to be part of,” shared Pang.
“It’s humbling for me because as an actor and someone in the entertainment field, it’s very ego-driven and also very self-serving,” said Pang. “This a wakeup call to people, myself included, that there’s a bigger world out there and it’s time to start thinking how to make a difference to the community.”
The Singapore 9 is Yahoo!’s National Day honours list and past winners include the likes of Chiam See Tong, Ho Kwon Ping, Royston Tan and Olivia Ong.
This year’s Yahoo! Singapore 9 award winners:
Winner: Mohan Belani
1st runner-up: Michelle Tham
2nd runner-up: Grace Wong
Winner: Riduan Zalani
1st runner-up: Ray Pang
2nd runner-up: Le Messie
Winner: Emily Teng
1st runner-up: Zhang Tingjun
2nd runner-up: Pamela Yeo
Most of us pay our bills with checks or credit cards, but some people still prefer cash…even if all they have is small denominations. This past month, for example, a couple in Florida decided to pay their $11,000 property tax in $1 bills. It took six county employees over an hour to count the money, and then stuff it into three bags to take to the bank. The couple said they were trying to make a statement that taxes were too high. But a California man had a very different reason for paying his property taxes in cash: he had fallen on hard times financially and asked friends and family members to donate spare change to help him out. As a result, this past January, he was able to pay his $14,000 property tax bill in coins and small bills, which he transported by wheelbarrow.Unusual cash payments aren’t limited to taxes. In 2012, a Massachusetts man made the final mortgage payment on his house using pennies that he had been saving since he bought the house in the 1970s. He gave the bank a heads up before dropping off metal boxes containing around 62,000 rolled up pennies, weighing more than 800 pounds. But a Utah man was not nearly as courteous in 2011 when he paid a $25 medical bill using 2,500 pennies. Upset about the bill, the man dumped the pennies on the receptionist’s desk, startling staff and patients by the loud sound. A judge later ruled the action constituted disorderly conduct and issued a $140 fine. And if the judge were smart, he’d specify payment for the fine be made by check.
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Yahoo! celebrates ‘Singapore 9’ winners in glitzy wrap-up partyBy Kai Fong | Singapore 9 – Sat, Aug 4, 2012 1:50 PM SGT
The mockbuster “Sharknado” is causing whirlwinds in the Twitterverse. In the movie, a storm spews man-eating sharks on Southern California – a storyline that appears to have people talking. The hashtag “Sharknado” had a recorded 5,000 tweets per minute. To break it down, that’s 80 tweets per second! Check out the vid to see what the big to do is about the SyFy flick and watch “omg! Insider” for more of the latest in entertainment news. …
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