Thursday, May 25, 2006

Sophiline Cheam Shapiro youngest winner of prestigious Nikkei Asia Prize

Sophiline Cheam Shapiro in Phnom Penh in 1991. (Photo: James Wasserman,

Thursday May 25, 2006

Two Singaporeans, a Cambodian win Nikkei Asia Prizes

Asia News Channel

TOKYO : Two Singaporeans and a Cambodian have received this year's Nikkei Asia Prizes for the significant role they played in Asia.

And Singaporean Olivia Lum achieved the first perfect score in the prestigious award's history.

A traditional Cambodian dance portraying a mythological serpent caught in an identity crisis.

Choreographer Sophiline Cheam Shapiro is the youngest winner of the 11-year-old Nikkei Asia Prize.

At 38, the Cambodian performance artist won the award for helping to rebuild the country's artistic heritage.

She continued to perform even when Cambodia was under the control of the Khmer Rouge which clamped down on the arts.

Contribution to regional cultural development is one of the areas the Nikkei Asia Prizes look into, as well as in science, technology innovation, and regional growth.

Candidates nominated for the award include scholars, business executives and journalists.

For the first time in the history of the awards, a candidate received a perfect score from the judges.

She is Olivia Lum, known as the "Water Queen" for turning waste water into water for drinking and for use at semiconductor plants.

The Singaporean founded her water treatment company Hyflux in 1989, now a multi-million dollar outfit.

"I have no connections, no money, no one to help me and no customer base. It's the hunger and passion in me that I will continue to thrive at a higher level. And we will continue to drive the effort to get alternative sources of water, whether it's from the sea, waste water or from the air," said Olivia Lum, CEO and president of Hyflux Group.

Having expanded into China, India and the Middle East, Hyflux is now exploring business opportunities in the United States.

Another winner from Singapore is Mr Philip Yeo, who has been a key driving force in promoting and developing the island as a biomedical research and development hub.

"The most difficult challenge was to attract good talent and also to attract young people of Singapore to pursue PhD studies. The next challenge is for these young people to come home and work with senior researchers and build the industry," said Philip Yeo, chairman of Singapore Agency for Science, Technology and Research

A prominent past winner of the Nikkei Asia Prize is Mr Manmohan Singh, an economist who is now the prime minister of India.

The organisers hope the award will serve as a springboard for many other recipients.


Anonymous said...

If we hadn't so bad governement Cambodia could be one of the brilliant countries in Asia in every area.

Anonymous said...

She is such a beautiful woman with such a talent!

Anonymous said...

You absolutly 10000000000000000% true!..roki