Only recent examples, but there are more “gems” to be uncovered
Ho Kwon Ping
Ho Kwon Ping (53) is Executive Chairman of the Banyan Tree Group, which owns both listed and private companies engaged in the development, ownership and operation of hotels, resorts, spas, residential homes, retail galleries and other lifestyle activities in the region. Ho is also Chairman of the family-owned Wah Chang Group
In addition to his commitments with the Banyan Tree Group and Wah Chang Group, Ho is also Chairman of Singapore Management University, the third national university in Singapore; Chairman of MediaCorp, the national television and radio company; Board Director of Singapore Airlines Limited; Main Board Director of Standard Chartered Bank plc; member of the Singapore–US Business Council; member of Asia-Pacific Council, the Nature Conservancy; member of the Asia Regional Advisory Board of London Business School; member of the International Council of the Asia Society and member of the INSEAD International Council.
Prior to joining the Wah Chang Group in 1981, Ho worked as a journalist with the Far Eastern Economic Review. Ho's activist streak goes way back. He was a political radical in college, then he became a journalist. His articles for the Far Eastern Economic Review in Singapore rubbed the government the wrong way. And in 1979 he was jailed for several months under the Internal Security Act. After his release, he worked for the magazine for two more years, then decided to take over his father's commodities trading and construction company, Wah Chang/Thai Wah Group. He decided to diversify it, and settled on hotels.
His father, Ho Rih Hwa was then a prominent business and former diplomat (to Thailand).His mother was also a distinguish playwriter. Ho was educated in Tunghai University, Taiwan, Stanford University, California, and the University of Singapore. He is married to Claire Chiang and has two sons and a daughter.
Professor Tommy Koh
Professor Tommy Koh is currently Ambassador-At-Large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Chairman of the Institute of Policy Studies, National Heritage Board and Chinese Heritage Centre. He is also a Director of SingTel.
Prof Koh was the Dean of the Faculty of Law of the University of Singapore from 1971 to 1974. He was Singapore's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, New York from 1968 to 1971 (concurrently accredited as High Commissioner to Canada) and again from 1974 to 1984 (concurrently accredited as High Commissioner to Canada and Ambassador to Mexico). He was Ambassador to the United States of America from 1984 to 1990. He was President of the Third UN Conference on the Law of the Sea from 1980 to 1982. He was Chairman of the Preparatory Committee and the Main Committee of the UN Conference on Environment and Development from 1990 to 1992. He was the founding Chairman of the National Arts Council from 1991 to 1996, Director of the Institute of Policy Studies from 1990 to February 1997 and from December 2000 to July 2004. From February 1997 to October 2000, he served as the founding Executive Director of the Asia-Europe Foundation. He was also Singapore's Chief Negotiator for the US-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (2000 to 2003). He is the agent of Singapore in several legal disputes between Singapore and Malaysia. He chairs three committees for the National University of Singapore relating to law, Asian research and environmental management.
Prof Koh was appointed by the United Nations Secretary General as his Special Envoy to lead a mission to the Russian Federation, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia in August/September 1993. Prof Koh was a member of three WTO dispute panels, two of which as Chairman.
Prof Koh was the Second Arthur & Frank Payne Visiting Professor at the Institute for International Studies, Stanford University, USA, for 1994/95. He is a visiting Professor at Zhejiang University. Prof Koh is on the Board of Directors of the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University. He is a member of the International Council of The Asia Society (New York) and a co-convenor of its Williamsburg Conference. He is also a member of the International Advisory Committee of the Korean Federation of Industries.
Prof Koh received a First Class Honours degree in Law from the National University of Singapore, has a Masters degree in Law from Harvard University and a post-graduate Diploma in Criminology from Cambridge University. He was conferred a full professorship in 1977. In 1984, Prof Koh was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws from Yale University. He has also received awards from Columbia University, Stanford University, Georgetown University, the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and Curtin University. On 22 September 2002, Prof Koh was conferred an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws from Monash University.
For his service to the nation, Prof Koh was awarded the Public Service Star in 1971, the Meritorious Service Medal in 1979 and the Distinguished Service Order Award in 1990. Prof Koh was appointed Commander in the Order of the Golden Ark by HRH Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands in March 1993. He received the award of the Grand Cross of the Order of Bernardo O’Higgins from the Government of Chile on 3 April 1997. He also received the 1996 Elizabeth Haub Prize from the University of Brussels and the International Council on Environmental Law on 17 April 1997. Prof Koh was awarded the 1998 Fok Ying Tung Southeast Asia Prize by the Fok Ying Tung Foundation in Hong Kong on 29 May 1998. On 22 February 2000 he was awarded the "Commander, First Class, of the Order of the Lion of Finland" by the President of Finland. On 2 May 2000, he was conferred the title of "Grand Officer in the Order of Merit of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg" by the Prime Minister of Luxembourg. On 6 August 2001, he was conferred the rank of Officer in the Order of the Legion of Honour by the President of the French Republic. He was presented with the Peace and Commerce Award by the US Secretary of Commerce, Donald Evans, in Washington DC, on 5 May 2003. On 12 May 2004, he received the Outstanding Service Award from the National University of Singapore. His Majesty King Juan Carlos of Spain has bestowed upon Prof Koh the Encomienda of Isabel la Catolica on 24 May 2004.
He once confessed that he is “too soft” for politics as one of the main reasons for not becoming a MP or Minister. Nonetheless, he was credited for the negotiation of the USA-Singapore FTA agreements and many other diplomatic successes.
Simon SC Tay LL.B Hons (National University of Singapore) LL.M (Harvard) teaches international law at the National University of Singapore. He is concurrently chairman of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, a non-governmental think tank, that represents Singapore in the influential ASEAN-ISIS network of regional think tanks.
Since July 2002, he has been chairman of the National Environment Agency, the country's major agency for environmental protection and public health. In Fall 2003, he was a visiting professor, teaching at the Harvard Law School and Fletcher School of International Law and Diplomacy
He was selected for three terms as a Nominated Member of the Singapore Parliament (1997 - 2001) and has served to lead public consultations on Singapore in the 21st century, the national concept plan, and the Singapore Green Plan 2012. He was a Fulbright scholar (1993-94) at Harvard Law School, where he won the Laylin prize for the best thesis in international law. In Jan 2000, the World Economic Forum (Davos) named him a "global leader of tomorrow". In 2002, he was awarded an Eisenhower Fellowship, one of Singapore's first non-governmental recipients of this award.
His work on international law and policy focuses on sustainable development, peace and governance, especially in Asia and ASEAN. His scholarly publications include, Pacific Asia 2022 (2005); The Enemy Within: Combating Corruption in Asia (2003); Reinventing ASEAN (2001); Southeast Asian Fires: The Challenge for International Law and Development (1999); Preventive Diplomacy and the ASEAN Regional Forum: Principles and Possibilities (1999); Towards a Singaporean Civil Society (1998); Asian Dragons & Green Trade (1996); and Human Rights, Culture and the Singapore Example (1996).
He serves on a number of international and regional expert and eminent person panels, including the ASEAN Regional Forum register of eminent persons and experts; the APEC peer review process on trade; and the Eminent Persons Group on the ASEAN-Japan Centre. In 1999-2000, he co-chaired a review of Japan-ASEAN relations and also served to study and negotiate a free trade agreement between Japan and Singapore.
As SIIA chairman, he helps coordinate ASEAN think-tank discussions with China and, with Taiwan, and has also led bilateral dialogues with Indonesia and with Malaysia. In 1999, he was an adviser to the Singapore delegation to the WTO Ministerial meeting. In 2002, he attended the World Summit on Sustainable Development as a senior member of the Singapore delegation to the High Level session. Other international appointments relating to the environment include the China International Council on Environment and Development, and the Asia Pacific Forum on Environment and Development.
Note: Three names for the moment. But I’m sure there are plenty of “uncovered gems and talents” in Singapore that could serve the people well.