Who we are
The Australian Alumni Singapore (AAS) is the national umbrella organisation for the 200,000 Singaporean or Singapore-based graduates of Australian universities. With the Patronage of the Australian High Commission and the ex-President of Singapore, AAS aims to promote friendship and goodwill amongst graduates and members of various tertiary and professional institutions from Australia.
Since 1955, AAS has created a platform that forges closer business, social and cultural links between Singapore and Australia – alliances that enhance professional and leadership opportunities for Australian alumnus who are based in Singapore.
In 1955, a small group of returned graduates from Australia, with the esprit de corps to establish a forum to interact and forge a close link between Singapore and Australia, founded the Australian Alumni Singapore under the leadership of the founder President, Mr Michael Fam Yu Onn. Since it’s inception, the Australian Alumni Singapore has grown into a well-established graduate organisation.
Through the years, thousands of students have gone to Australia to receive higher education and returned to join the ranks of successful professionals instrumental to the present development of the Republic into a modern and sophisticated centre of communication and commerce. Many of the returned graduates who, at one time or another, were actively associated with the Alumni are today Government Ministers, community leaders, and prominent figures playing vital roles in Government, Public Service and Private Sectors, responsible for the continued progress of our young nation.
The Australian Alumni Singapore, through the uniting efforts of it founders and successive office-bearers, and the enthusiasm and support of the Australian High Commission, has not only forged a close link to promote goodwill and understanding of each other’s social, economic and cultural values, but also formed an important part of the fabric of relationships between the peoples and professionals of the two countries.
AAS works closely with the Australian High Commission, the office of the President of Singapore, Australian Universities, and their respective Alumni Associations and Chapters in order to achieve these objectives.
65th AAS President's Message 2020
65th Annual Report of the AAS
13 May, 2020
Dear AAS Members, Friends and Stakeholders,
AAS AGM has traditionally been held in Mar but 2020 is a special year due to COVID-19. Many activities are cancelled or postponed from Mar onwards, including AAS Inaugural Ambassadors and Captains of Industry Golf Tournament, to comply with Singapore government’s measures to curb the spread of the virus. AAS management committee (MC) deliberated and made a hard decision to delay our AGM. However, when the pandemic continued and circuit breaker was imposed, we felt that we should not delay the AGM any longer and we should hold it with the help of technology so this is the first time in AAS history that the AGM was held virtually. I hope AAS members can understand the reason for the postponement and the need to hold the event virtually.
Time passes quickly and my 1st term as President of Australia Alumni Singapore (AAS) has now come to an end. It has been challenging over the last 2 years, but I am grateful for the opportunity to be of service to AAS. It is also heartening to be serving alongside AAS MC members who have dedicated time and effort to help with the various initiatives by AAS. At this juncture, I believe it is important for AAS to groom new leaders so that the current team can pass on the baton in ensure that AAS continues to grow from strength to strength. I urge passionate Australian alumni to please come forward to volunteer with AAS.
With a total Australian alumni population of 200,000 in Singapore, AAS can be a significant body in Singapore. AAS should continue to reach out and engage with more Australian alumni to continue its mission:
- To become a leading alumni association in Singapore;
- To become an effective facilitator to our members, enhancing their professional and business networks;
- To become the key link promoting and encouraging Australian education to Singaporeans, and Singaporean education to Australians.
AAS held bi-monthly event in 2019 which were well attended by members, friends and stakeholders. These events featured topics that ranges from art investment, digital economy to wine appreciation ending with the 64th Anniversary Gala Dinner, on Fri, 08th Nov 2019, that was attended by more than 450 people. I am grateful for the support of AAS members, friends and stakeholders for attending these AAS events which allows for interesting interaction and networking. Going forward, AAS will continue to organize events that are relevant to members, friends and stakeholders.
2019 has been a challenging year for AAS and the financials does not look as pretty compared to past years. Here is an overview of the financials of AAS over the last 3 years and Hon Treasurer will go through it in details later. In 2019, there was a drastic drop in sponsorships due to the tough economic environment. Many potential sponsors who were approached hesitated despite the effort by the AAS management committee. To mitigate the impact of the lower sponsorships, AAS events and activities had to be run prudently to conserve precious reserves. However, despite the slight profit from events and a reduction in AAS admin and operating expenses, AAS had a deficit of 10,151 in 2019. Looking ahead to 2020, the current Covid-19 situation, AAS will face a tough year again in 2020.
To face with the challenges, AAS cannot function like a solo organization and need to proactively engage strategic partners like Australian Chamber of Commerce (“Austcham”), The Australia and New Zealand Association (“ANZA”), CPA Australia, Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (“CA ANZ”), The Alumni International Singapore (“AIS”), EDB Society, Engineers Australia, CFA Society, ambassador/high commissioner of many countries etc . Such engagement allows AAS to partner with them to create platform for AAS members to network among a wider community.
Over the years, AAS has enjoyed the support of Australian High Commission and current High Commissioner, H.E. Bruce Gosper, and his team have played important roles to allow AAS to continue its causes. I would like to specially mention Ms Lauren Hernandez, 2nd Secretary, who has been very supportive. She will join MC meetings occasionally and contribute constructive ideas, effort and ways to help AAS.
Next, I would like to thank AAS Council of Advisors for their support of numerous initiatives of AAS. They are a pillar of strength to AAS and are important to the success of AAS. I hope these highly regarded and successful Australian alumni will continue to provide good guidance and support to AAS.
One key reason for AAS to continue to thrive is the generous financial and non-financial support from our sponsors and partner universities. I would like to express my gratitude to AAS Platinum Sponsor: James Cook University, Gold Sponsor Lend Lease, Silver Sponsor Trust Capital and Official Wine Sponsor Wolf Blass. AAS partner universities, Platinum Partner University – James Cook University and Silver Partner University – The University of Queensland.
Last, but not least, I want to thank all members of AAS MC and Secretariat for their dedication and commitment. As volunteers, they have contributed valuable time and effort to execute AAS initiatives in 2019 and I hope that AAS MC in 2020 will continue with the good work. Mr Davian Sim and Mr Johnny Chee will be stepping down from the AAS MC after this AGM and I wish them well in their future endeavors and please continue to support AAS. For aspiring AAS MC members who will be taking over from them, I hope you can be as passionate and dedicated as them to help build a long term, successful and sustainable AAS.
Australian Alumni Singapore
13 May 2020
62ND ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
The 62nd AGM Report is also available at the following locations:
Message from His Excellency Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam
Ex-President of the Republic of Singapore
Patron of the AAS
Since its establishment in 1955, the Australian Alumni Singapore (AAS) has evolved and grown to be one of the leading alumni organisations in Singapore. Under the competent leadership of its Management Committee and the strong support of the Australian High Commission, the membership of AAS has seen phenomenal growth in recent years and its activities are well attended by members. Through these efforts, the AAS helps promote goodwill and understanding among Singaporeans and Australians.
Singapore and Australia share a special relationship built on long-standing ties and mutual trust. The two countries enjoy strong political, economic and people-to-people ties, which will be further strengthened with the Singapore-Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. The work of AAS adds another important dimension to the lasting friendship between Singapore and Australia.
I would like to congratulate the AAS on its many achievements. Starting this year, the AAS will be implementing its new 2017-2019 Strategic Plan and the supporting digital initiatives. I am confident that these plans will bring AAS to the next level.
H.E. Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam
Ex-President of the Republic of Singapore
Patron of Australian Alumni Singapore
Message from His Excellency Mr Bruce Gosper
Australian High Commissioner to Singapore
Patron of the AAS
I am pleased to be Patron of the Australian Alumni Singapore (AAS). The close partnership that Australia and Singapore share is supported by strong ties across defence, trade, innovation and importantly, people-to-people links. The 140,000 Australian alumni in Singapore act as a reminder of Australia’s deep commitment to and interest in Singapore and the wider region.
The Australian Government’s New Colombo Plan is now in its fourth year in Singapore. As one of the pilot countries, Singapore has seen more than 700 Australian students study here over the last four years, and more than 40 scholars, gaining valuable insights and hopefully a passion for the region which will continue on into their future careers. Many senior Singaporeans, as original Colombo Plan students, have engaged with the program and shared their time, wisdom and passion for the relationship with Australia. This has been an important contribution to our efforts to build leaders with the same affinity with Singapore and the region.
Australia and Singapore’s strong people-to-people links are underpinned by our commitment to invest in our people through skills and education. Under the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, we will see increased recognition of Australian tertiary qualifications, an internship pilot program which will enable Singaporean students to access to internships with leading Australian companies, and a dialogue which will promote cultural exchange between Australian and Singaporean schools.
Of importance also is Australia’s Global Alumni Strategy which aims to connect alumni to each other, celebrates their achievements and their two-way links with Australia. Australian alumni who understand the culture of both countries, and have a positive outlook on doing business between both countries can result in more opportunities for collaboration and expansion, an aspect invaluable to the relationship. I believe the AAS has done an excellent job in connecting alumni in Singapore and providing a contemporary and forward-thinking agenda, and I look forward to supporting the AAS in that role.
H.E. Mr Bruce Gosper
Australian High Commissioner to Singapore
Patron of Australian Alumni Singapore
The AAS Code of Conduct and Ethics, adopted at the 62nd Annual General Meeting on the 28th March 2017, outlines the values and behaviours which govern our way of working. It constitutes a reference point covering all aspects of our Representatives working relationships, specifically (but not exclusively) with other AAS representatives, our Members, Universities and Partners, Governments and Regulators, Sponsors, Suppliers, and the broader AAS community.
The objective is to define the way we think, work and act at AAS to ensure we deliver against our vision and mission, in the right way. The AAS Code of Conduct and Ethic sets out the ethical and professional attitudes and behaviours expected of all AAS Representatives. AAS subscribes to this code and is committed to embedding its broad principles into its operations.
Amended by resolutions passed at the Annual General Meeting on 28 March 2017 and approved by Registrar of Societies on 19 June 2017.
Management Committee 2020-2021
THE WAY FORWARD – STRONGER TOGETHER
Council of Advisors 2019-2020
Founder and Joint CEO, TrustCapital Advisors Investment Management Pte Ltd
Chris Cheah is also the Chairman of the Singapore chapter of Diplomatic Council, a unique organisation with consultative status to the United Nations combining a global think tank, a world leading business network and a charitable foundation. Chris is the President of Australian Alumni Singapore from April 2014 – March 2018. Prior to TrustCapital, he was the Head of Property Asia for ANZ Bank. Chris has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from The University of Queensland and is a Fellow of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand.
Dr Cheong Choong Kong is the Malaysian former Chief Executive Officer of Singapore Airlines and former Chairman of the Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation.
He is a Director of several companies, including Singapore Press Holdings Ltd, Great Eastern Holdings Ltd, Great Eastern Life Assurance Company Ltd and Overseas Assurance Corporation Ltd.
He is Distinguished Australian Alumnus Award Winner 2015.
He also received a Master of Science (1966) and a PhD (1968) in Mathematics from Australian National University.
Bill is currently a professional director, corporate advisor and chairman of several non-profit, private and public listed entities including SGX listed Mewah, CDL Hospitality and Tung Lok, and IC Power Singapore Ltd. Bill is also a Senior Advisor at Bank of Singapore and Lazard Asia and Non-Executive Director of Tower Capital Asia Pte Ltd(PE) and Unigestion Asia Pte Ltd(Investment Management) and Director of Business Circle Singapore Pte Ltd, in partnership with Trans Tasman Business Circle.
Bill serves on several community and charity organisations including as Chairman of Heartware Network(a youth charity) and Salvation Army South Asia, and as a Director of the International Institute of Strategic Studies Ltd(Asia)/Trustee.
Bill has a B.Admin from Concordia, MBA from McGill and an Honorary Doctor of Commerce from James Cook University where he is Special Advisor to the Chancellor.
Philip Forrest is the Non-Executive Director of 7 companies in the Asia Pacific region. He has also served on the Council of the Singapore Business Federation; the Boards of the Australian Chamber of Commerce (former president) and the British Chamber of Commerce; the Council of the Association of Banks in Singapore; and the University of Queensland’s BEL Ambassador Council in Singapore (chairman). He sits on the governing council and several committees of the Singapore Institute of Directors and is a Fellow of that institute, the Australian Institute of Company Directors, CPA Australia, and the Australian Institute of Business and Economics.
Mr Loh Hoon Sun has been with Phillip Securities since 1990, first as Managing Director and now Senior Advisor. He graduated from The University of Queensland, Australia. He is a Fellow of CPA Australia and ISCA and Member of CFA Society and IBF Distinguished Fellow.
He has served as Chairman, Gold Exchange of Singapore, and Board Member of, SIMEX, Stock Exchange of Singapore, Securities Industry Council, ACRA and GST Board of Review. He is a Past President of Chung Ling Alumni, Singapore, CPA Australia, Singapore Division and Australian Alumni Singapore.
Neil joins NAB after a career track record in financial services holding Leadership positions for Natixis, DBS, Society Generale and Bank of America in US, Asia, Middle East & India. Neil holds Board Directorships with Nautilus Insurance, The Indus Entrepreneurs (TIE) and as Vice-Chairman for Singapore Chamber of Commerce. He also serves on the governing council of the ABS (Association of Banks in Singapore) and the Advisory Committee of the AICD (Australian Institute of Company Directors). He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting, a Master’s degree in Finance and an MBA in International Business.
Mah Bow Tan is a former Singaporean politician. A member of the governing People’s Action Party (PAP), he has been a Member of Parliament (MP) representing Tampines GRC from 1988 to 2015. He was a member of the Cabinet from 1991 to 2011, serving as the Minister for Communications (1991-99), Minister for the Environment (1993-95) and Minister for National Development (1999-2011).
Swinburne University of Technology
Michael Yap is the Executive Committee Member of the EDB Society and Lions Club of Singapore. He is an Adjunct Professor at Swinburne University.
Michael has 40 years of elite leadership experience in Non Executive and Executive positions as Director, General Manager and CEO in both the Public and Private sector across the Asia Pacific. He is a Graduate in Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry from the University of Swinburne and a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute of the UK.
Awarded EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2017 – Maritime Technology Solutions. Chia Yoong Hui founded Ascenz and has served as Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and Director since the company’s inception in 2008.
Under Chia’s leadership, Ascenz has grown to an award-winning company, well recognized in the industry for its innovation. He has pioneered ship data analytics on the world stage to further the company’s growth.
Chia graduated from the University of Wales with a B.Sc. (Hons) degree in Business Computing with Financial Management, and received his Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) in 2005.
RHTLaw Asia LLP
Jeremiah is a Partner in RHTLaw Asia’s award-winning Corporate and Capital Markets practice group, where he counsels clients on capital markets, corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, and funds. He is also the legal advisor to Singapore’s Association of Listed Companies. Most recently, Jeremiah was recognised by the Singapore Business Review as one of Singapore’s most influential lawyers aged 40 and under for 2019, and in The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2020 Edition as a Next-Generation Partner.
Jeremiah commenced his studies in Australia at just 16, when he undertook Foundation Studies in Business and Law at the University of New South Wales (2004). He subsequently graduated with a Bachelor of Laws from Monash University (2008), at the tender age of 20.