Thursday, 6 November 2008

Motherhood is one unique gift that only women possess

Dr. Mozammel Haque

Singapore: Exemplary Mother Awards 2008 was held at Raffles Convention Centre (Swissotel The Stamford) on Saturday, 18th of October, 2008. The Guest of Honour was Mr. Teo Chee Hean, Minister for Defence. This was a very significant awards presentation event of honouring outstanding women organized by Jamiyah Singapore.

Universal values are the mainstay of human civilization. One of the highly cherished universal values is ‘Reverence for mothers’. While mankind can take pride in this 21st century world for the grest achievements that we are able to make in all walks of life, there are certain things which need to be given prime importance. Kindness, love and concern for mankind regardless of race or faith are such values that we should assiduously inculcate in the minds of people, especially our younger generation so that they grow with a firm belief and faith in the paradigm of peace and harmony,” said Hajah Saripah Kasmani, chairperson of the Organising Committee of the Exemplary Mother Award 2008 Presentation Ceremony.

She also mentioned, “Families are the basic and the best schools that can teach its members the highest values. In families, it is Mothers, who are the pillars and who can play an eminent role in transmitting these eternal values to their children. We have to encourage and motivate such role model mothers, who have not only been successful in transmitting such values to their own children and families, but find time to spare their time, talent and skills for the community and society they live in.”

Mr. Teo Chee Hean, Minister For Defence
The Minister for Defence said, “There are two important aspects to these awards. First, this is a pioneering initiative in Singapore, which started as early as 1992, with the noble objective of honouring mothers and womanhood. Second, although this award is organized by Jamiyah, this award is open to all eligible women regardless of race or faith.
This reflects the multi racial and multi religious ethos that we strive to nurture and maintain in Singapore.”

Speaking about the women in Singapore, Mr. Hean said, “Women play important roles in all areas in our society. Women have made tremendous strides and contributed immensely to Singapore’s development and growth. Women in Singapore have broken out of the old boundaries of their traditional roles. They now have equal opportunity in education and employment. Women have risen to the top of many major private and public sector organizations. And there are a significant number of woman entrepreneurs who have started and run successful businesses in a range of areas.”

“The new opportunities open to women have also raised expectations about what being a successful woman means, not least among women themselves. Women are succeeding at work, in business, in community work, and in raising families. But for women, as it is for men, it is hard to do everything and to do everything well. Perhaps what is the most important achievement for women in Singapore today is that they not only have opportunities, they have choices. Women can decide what they want to make of their lives – whether they want to do it all, all at once, or they can choose which parts they want to give more emphasis and focus to in each phase of their lives.”

Referring back to the Exemplary Mother Awards organized by Jamiyah Singapore, the Defence Minister for Singapore said, “These awards recognize and honour mothers who are successful in their careers, in taking care of their families and at the same time actively involved in helping the community.”

“Motherhood is one specific and unique gift that only women posses – the ability to bring forth new life and to nurture it through its tender years. Stable and strong families where father and mother mutually support one another are the best environment for raising children. Strong families are the nurseries where children who are well brought up learn social discipline, know how to love and share with others, and are motivated to do well not only for themselves but also for community,” maintained Mr. Hean.

The Defence Minister for Singapore also appreciated the role of women: “The recipients of Jamiyah’s Exemplary Mother awards as well as the finalists this year, as in the previous years, are fine examples and role models for mothers, present and mothers to be.
Each has balanced family responsibilities, career and community service. The struggles that they have undergone, the challenges that they have surmounted, the sacrifices they have made to see that their loved ones are better off and successful in life are lessons that everyone can learn.”

Finally the Singapore Defence Minister congratulated the “Jamiyah Singapore, particularly the women’s section of Jamiyah for organizing this event successfully for the last 16 years. My congratulations also to the winners and finalists of this year's Exemplary Mother Awards.”

Mr. Abu Bakar Mohyeddin
Earlier, while welcoming Guests of Honour, Honourable Minister Teo Chee Hean and his gracious wife Mrs Teo for their presence at the Award presenting ceremony, Mr. Abu Bakar Mohyeddin, President of the Jamiyah Singapore, expressed his happiness and pleased to organize this event for the sixteenth year in honouring and recognizing outstanding mothers in particular and womanhood in general.

Mohyeddin said, “This event is a symbolic expression of our eternal devotion and love to our mothers. Mothers are the fountain head of unconditional love and affection. The sense of peace and security that we have experienced in the presence of our mothers is precious and genuine. They teach us the basics of peace and the sweetness of harmony. Occasions like this reaffirm our gratitude in this regard.”

“With our rising standards of living, a dual-career family has become more of a necessity than a choice. Moreover the educational achievement of women has led to their need to seek self-fulfillment through their careers. However, it is a fact that their role as home-makers and child-minders has not been entirely compromised by their pursuit of education and career. The need to balance both work and family roles remain as challenges that women face in our society. However, the challenges of child development for working mothers is lightened by the pro-family and pro-children policies of the Government,” the President of Jamal Singapore said.

“Thus the challenges faced by the mothers in the past are not entirely similar to the ones faced by mothers today. In spite of such challenging circumstances we have women who have proved to be more than capable in this difficult area, and are pillars of family, the community and society at large,” said the President of Jamiyah Singapore and added, “With such excellent qualities we see children reflecting the exquisite love and sacrifice of their mothers. They are grateful for the maternal blessings which cannot be repaid. Indeed the children as the future of the nation are the symbols of the universal values which their mothers have infused in them, not just by words alone but by dint of personal example.”

Mr. Mohyeddin also said, “Balancing their house hold and career responsibilities, and also giving their free time in volunteering for community service. They are indeed role models in our society. We appreciate them and appeal to all mothers and mothers-to-be to emulate their shining examples.”

Mr. Mohyeddin also expressed his thanks to the Guests of Honour for their kind and gracious presence and also thanks the esteemed Lee Foundation, Singapore Buddhist Lodge and Asia Industrial Development Private Limited for their munificent support to this annual exemplary mother awards event.

Dr. Melanie Chew, Chairperson of the Panel of Judges for the Exemplary Mother Awards 2008; Dr. Della Lee, Chairperson of the D.S.Lee Foundation and wife of Dr. Lee Seng Gee, Chairman of the Lee Foundation; Mrs Wee Kim Wee, wife of late President of Singapore Dr. Wee Kim Wee; Mr. Lim Kok Eng representing Mr Lee Seng Tee, Director, Lee Foundation; Mr. Lee Bock Guan, President of the Singapore Buddhist Lodge; Mr V.R.Nathan, Chairman of the Inter-faith committee, Hindu Endowments Board; Dr. Abdelillah Benarafa, Expert, Manuscripts and Cultural Diversity Division of ISESCO and Dr. Abdus Salam Al Ahmar, Member of the Executive Council of Mohammadiah Association for Ulama, Morocco

Exemplary Mother Competition
The Exemplary Mother Competition started in 1993 with the Wee Kim Wee Shield which was presented to Jamiyah by the late former President Wee Kim Wee. From 1993 to 2004, 12 mothers were honoured for their perseverance in enduring hardship and sacrifices in raising their children. They toiled throughout the early years of their life to provide a better future for their children, in terms of education and well-being, as they did not want their children to go through life, the same way they did. The Wee Kim Wee Shield completed its 12 rounds in 2004.

In May 2004, The President of Singapore President S.R. Nathan presented a new Shield to Jamiyah to continue honouring exemplary mothers for another twelve years. At the suggestion of the President S.R. Nathan, the criteria for selection of the Exemplary Mother will include her contribution towards community service in addition to her ability to balance career and family.

The Exemplary Mother 2007 was held on 23 June 2007 at the Grand Ballroom of the Ritz Carlton Millenia Singapore. President Nathan and Mrs. Nathan were the Guest of Honour. President Nathan presented the winner with the President’s Shield, a plaque and $5,000 cash. The First and Second Runners-Up received cash prize of $3000 and $2000 respectively, and a plaque each.

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