Meet the Alumni Awards 2021, Malaysia Finalists!

The Alumni Awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of alumni and showcase the impact and value of a UK higher education. Award winners and finalists are leaders in their fields who have used their experience of studying at a UK university to make a positive contribution to their communities, professions and countries. When outstanding individuals receive a world-class education in the UK, the effects can last a lifetime.

The awards shine a light on the impact that alumni of UK higher education institutions are making in their chosen field, and how this was sparked by their studies in the UK. 

Professional Achievement Award

Dr. Joanne Yeoh 

Music education in the UK is second to none, and I have had the privilege of getting an education there. However an academic degree does not guarantee success in life, and life lessons are usually discovered outside lecture halls. It was in the holistic experiences provided by these universities that taught me life skills. The camaraderie amongst lecturers and peers provided safe ground for me to explore and experiment various musical styles. Although UK is inherently rich in culture, she also embraces contemporary artistic endeavours making this an ideal destination for a comprehensive education. 

Prof. Dr. Ir. Aduwati Sali 

It was the first time I flew abroad, at the age of 20, to a foreign land I only watched on TV or heard from others. ‘Witut, we have reached Heathrow!’ was what I heard after I opened my eyes from sleep, clearly jet-lagged from the 14-hour flight. I set my mind and heart to make my years in the UK as the best time of my life, immersing with knowledge and experience. It was the best decision ever, it opened up a lot of opportunities and potentials not only for me but also for others. Now 24 years later, I am saying to my boys ‘Fly and explore and fall down, if you want to test your resilience and resourcefulness, go to the UK to study, you will never regret it.’ 

Dr. Ong Chuan Boon

 When I first started my postgraduate diploma in dermatology course on 4th of March 2019, my life was tough indeed. I had to juggle between my clinical work and my studies. My working hours were long and I had to squeeze time in between my work to complete daily tasks which were assigned by my tutor through out the course. There were times when I'd to burn the midnight oil by sleeping late at night to complete the daily tasks as marks were counted partially from the daily activities. As a result, I became really ill a number of times due to the lack of sleep or rest. Nevertheless, I treated myself as a doctor and persisted on to continue my hard work after I recovered everytime from my illness.My journey for the past 1 year was challenging and beneficial. I did manage to increase my knowledge and experience in many aspects of skin diseases. As a result, I'm able to diagnose and treat many of my skin patients easily in comparison to before. Besides, most of my skin patients do have positive recovery feedback during their clinic appointments from the first time they came to see me for their skin problems. I'm glad that I can always apply my university knowledge into my GP practice. Studying my postgraduate diploma in dermatology with the University of South Wales was rewarding indeed. A big thank you & gratitude to USW for the opportunity and knowledge of a lifetime to be a better doctor.

Entrepreneurial Award

Marc Chua

Yee Kuan, Chua founded ULTRON® in 2015, a Malaysian sportswear brand aligned with the growing sports industry, focusing on a ‘home-grown’ positioning to match the country’s identity, culture and lifestyle. Since then the company has spread across 12 countries in Asia, partnered with more than 3,000 races, distributing more than 4 million pieces apparels across the region between 2015-2019. His success led the brand to a suite of commendations; most recently the Superbrand Award by Superbrand International.  Although not a business major, Yee Kuan credits his success to-date to his self-discipline developed during his UK degree studies. The examinations-driven model of UK education cultivates highly relevant skills and habits such as time & stress management and tenacity. The brand name 'Ultron' was inspired of the same spirit of determination in 'Ultra-marathon'. Yee Kuan invented the ‘Lightest Running T-shirt’ awarded by the Malaysia Book of Record revolutionizing the sportswear industry. He made his 2nd National Record organizing major marathons that unite 18,000 runners across the country, sponsoring national athletes for international tournaments with a dream to dress Malaysia’s 1st Olympic gold medallist. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic disruption towards the sports industry, Yee Kuan has been on the forefront of initiating virtual runs and sporting events, partnering with Sports Ministry, Nestle and multinational corporations, in keeping Malaysians active. 

Nikhil Khandewal

Studying in the UK was nothing short of an entrepreneurial journey. Nikhil went to the UK  with a student mindset but very soon evolved into entrepreneurial mindset. He finished his degree in 2008, during the worldwide recession period, hence by that time his mindset was not staying married to a particular profession or business line. Since then, he have been doing multiple things at any given point in time. He is a pure e-commerce or online evangelist with entrepreneurial mindset. 

Social Impact Award

Mahendran Balakrishnan

My experience in pursuing Masters from the University of Aberdeen, UK was not only enriching but, in many ways, pushed me towards my ultimate passion of contributing to the society. A MSc in international relations from a global university has broadened my understanding about social challenges and helped me to critically evaluate innovative solutions. The multicultural setup and the experienced professors gave me the confidence to go further and inspired me on ideas that can be implemented in the local context. The intriguing discussions during and after class with my fellow colleagues at the university implanted new avenues of thinking which now, I pass on to my ‘Seed.lings’ (students) through my coaching sessions

Melissa Kong

Melissa cares deeply about addressing education inequity in Malaysia. She leads the Education Ecosystem Engagement team at Teach For Malaysia, and was a Fellow in their 2014 Cohort who taught English in a FELDA kampong school in rural Negeri Sembilan. She served on TFM’s Alumni Board in 2016 and 2018, and on the Oxford & Cambridge Alumni Society Malaysia in 2020 and 2021. Melissa also moonlights as a performer and studies musical theatre with Monday Show School outside of her day job. She graduated with a Master in Chemistry from St Hilda’s College, Oxford, and a postgraduate diploma in education from Universiti Utara Malaysia. 

Ian Yee

Ian Yee is an investigative and impact journalist whose work has won nearly 40 awards in journalism, activism, filmmaking, and digital marketing. He is the co-founder of The Fourth – a not-for-profit collective that uses investigative journalism and advocacy to inspire social impact – and a national consultant for UNICEF Malaysia on empathy education programmes. He is also an Obama Foundation Leader, an Acumen Fellow, a Gen-T honouree and a Human Rights Measurement Initiative ambassador. 


Stand a chance to watch the awards ceremony live from your home

For the first time we are hosting the Alumni Awards 2021 virtually!

We have eight finalists competing for the first place as the winner of the Professional Achievement, Entrepreneurial and Social Impact categories. The live virtual award's ceremony will be held on the 16th of March from 5.00 PM to 5.40 PM.

Register your interest to watch the live awards ceremony now via the 'Register now' button below.

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