Seven women who are pioneers in social work, public health, sports, aviation and the arts were inducted into the Singapore Women's Hall of Fame on International Women's Day on Monday (March 8). Mrs Santha Bhaskar, a pioneering dancer and choreographer, and representatives of the other six women who were honoured posthumously, received the Hall of Fame trophy from President Halimah Yacob at the Istana on Monday. President Halimah, who is the patron of the Singapore Council of Women's Organisations (SCWO), said: "Today, I am delighted to induct another seven women to this list. Their contributions may be in different areas - such as in health and community services, the arts, sports, education and aviation - but what they have in common is the determination to excel, to do good and to make a difference in the world." The Hall of Fame was launched by the SCWO in 2014 to celebrate the achievements and contributions of women, and to document and share their stories. Monday’s 7th induction ceremony was postponed from last year because of the Covid-19 pandemic. President Halimah also launched Awesome Women of Singapore, a children’s book on the other 160 women who were inducted into the Hall of Fame in previous years, including the President herself who was honoured at its inception.
Kwan Shan Mei (Pioneering illustrator)
Born in Harbin, China, Ms Kwan moved to Singapore in 1963 to become the art director of Far Eastern Publishers. In 1976, she was the first recipient of the Singapore Book Council's Book Award in the children's books category. The citation spoke of her great ability to be "as lively and full of action or as soft and dreamlike as the story dictates". In the late 1980s, she began to spend more time teaching and taught illustration at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts. She retired in 1999 and moved to Vancouver, Canada. She died in 2012.
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Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.