National Day Awards



The annual National Day Awards (NDA) is a means of recognising various forms of merit and service to the nation.1 At the NDA investiture ceremony, Singaporeans and non-Singaporeans are honoured for their excellent contributions to the civil or military service, social and community work, or for excellent performance in their respective fields.2

History
The first national awards were established in 1962. These comprised the Order of Temasek, Certificate of Honour, Conspicuous Gallantry Medal, Meritorious Service Medal and the Long Service Medal for civil servants who have served for at least 25 years.3


Over the years, several other awards were established. The Public Administration Medal (either gold, silver or bronze) for outstanding civil servants and the Public Service Medal for people of all backgrounds were both introduced in 1963.4 The Medal of Valour, which is awarded to those who have “performed an act of courage and gallantry in circumstances of personal danger”, was instituted in 1987.5 As at 2016, there are 19 award categories, with the highest being the Star of Temasek (Bintang Temasek).6

Process
The NDA has stringent criteria and an elaborate system of nomination and short-listing award winners. The process usually takes four to five months of nomination, consideration and approval by the president of Singapore before the winners are announced.7 The criteria for the awards differ from medal to medal. For example, the Star of Temasek is given to those who have contributed significantly in defence and military scenarios.8

The nomination and shortlisting of award winners begin around March to April each year. Ministries, statutory boards and grassroots organisations put forth their nominations for the awards. Recommendations are then made by the government’s personnel boards and ad hoc committees, and submitted to the cabinet for clearance. Finally, the names are sent to the President’s Office for final approval. The winners are announced on National Day, 9 August.9

The NDA investiture ceremony takes place annually in November, during which the president hands out medals of the first 12 award categories to the recipients.10 About 3,000 people receive the awards each year, majority of whom earn the Long Service Award. The various government bodies hand out the Long Service Award and the Efficiency Medal on behalf of the president.11

Award recipients receive a medal and a collar pin.12 The medal can be worn at national and important functions such as the National Day Parade, the prime minister’s reception for private sector establishments and the launch of national campaigns, while the pin can be worn any time.13

Besides the medal and the collar pin, recipients are also awarded titles that they can use in their professional lives. For example, a veteran grassroots leader may have on his or her name card the titles “PBM” (Pingat Bakti Masyarakat; Public Service Medal) or “BBM” (Bintang Bakti Masyarakat; Public Service Star) following their names.14



Author

Sara Pek



References
1. Government of Singapore. (2016, December 21). National Day Awards. Retrieved 2017, February 1 from Prime Minister’s Office website: http://www.pmo.gov.sg/national-day-awards
2. History and background of the National Award. (1993, November 6). The Straits Times, p. 30; Chiang, Y. P., & Tan, K. S. (1993, November 6). Singapore’s National Award: Highly-prized or mere metal? The Straits Times, p. 30. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
3. History and background of the National Award. (1993, November 6). The Straits Times, p. 30. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
4. Government of Singapore. (2016, July 21). The Public Service Medal (Pingat Bakti Masyarakat). Retrieved 2016, September 22 from Prime Minister’s Office Singapore website: http://www.pmo.gov.sg/nationaldayawards/informationonmedals/public-service-medal-pingat-bakti-masyarakat
5. Government of Singapore. (2017, July 21). The Medal of Valour (Pingat Keberanian). Retrieved 2017, February 1 from Prime Minister’s Office website: http://www.pmo.gov.sg/nationaldayawards/informationonmedals/medal-valour-pingat-keberanian
6. Chiang, Y. P., & Tan, K. S. (1993, November 6). Singapore’s National Award: Highly-prized or mere metal? The Straits Times, p. 30. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Government of Singapore. (2016, December 21). National Day Awards. Retrieved 2017, February 1 from Prime Minister’s Office website: http://www.pmo.gov.sg/national-day-awards
7. Chiang, Y. P., & Tan, K. S. (1993, November 6). Singapore’s National Award: Highly-prized or mere metal? The Straits Times, p. 30; History and background of the National Award. (1993, November 6). The Straits Times, p. 30. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8. Government of Singapore. (2016, July 21). The Star of Temasek (Bintang Temasek). Retrieved 2016, September 22 from Prime Minister’s Office website: http://www.pmo.gov.sg/nationaldayawards/informationonmedals/star-temasek-bintang-temasek
9. History and background of the National Award. (1993, November 6). The Straits Times, p. 30. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
10. History and background of the National Award. (1993, November 6). The Straits Times, p. 30. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
11. History and background of the National Award. (1993, November 6). The Straits Times, p. 30; Award or no, you’ll do things you believe in. (2002, August 25). The Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
12. Award or no, you’ll do things you believe in. (2002, August 25). The Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
13. Government of Singapore. (2016, July 25). Guidelines on wearing of insignia. Retrieved 2016, September 27 from Prime Minister’s Office website: http://www.pmo.gov.sg/insignia-guidelines
14. Chiang, Y. P., & Tan, K. S. (1993, November 6). Singapore's National Award: Highly-prized or mere metal? The Straits Times, p. 30. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.



Further resources
Ho, K. (2002, August 25). No good enough? The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.


Investiture of the National Day Awards. (1971–). Singapore: Govt. Print. Off.

(Call no.: RSING 929.79995957 INDA)

Singapore Legislative Assembly. (1962). Honours and decorations. Singapore: Govt. Print. Off.

(Call no.: RCLOS 929.7 SIN)

The medal yearbook. (2003). Honiton, Devon: Token Publishing.
(Call no.: RSING 737.22 MY)



The information in this article is valid as at 2016 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

 

Subject
Events>>National Campaigns
Law and government>>Public administration
Politics and Government
National campaigns
Awards--Singapore