On 27th November 2019, SIArb hosted its 38th Anniversary Annual Dinner at Aura, Sky Lounge, National Gallery Singapore. It was chosen for the 4th time in a row due to its rooftop sky lounge overlooking the spectacular iconic skyline of Marina Bay which gave attendees a 180⁰ skyline view of the Padang as day turned seamlessly to night.
Members and guests celebrated the comradeship of the arbitration community in Singapore over cocktails before hosts for the evening, Ms Rebecca Tai Andersen and Mr Olivier Monange, invited them to take their seats for the opening address by the SIArb President, Mr Dinesh Dhillon. Mr Dhillon commemorated the Institute’s and Singapore’s achievements in the past 12 months. The previous morning had seen the launch of the inaugural Singapore Arbitration Journal, a joint effort with the Singapore Academy of Law, which came to fruition after much hard work and was a landmark achievement for the Institute. Earlier in the year, on 7 August 2019, Singapore saw the first ever UN convention named after her, the Singapore Convention on Mediation, which put Singapore yet again on the world stage.
Professor Lucy Reed was our Guest of Honour for our 38th Anniversary Dinner. The Director of NUS’s Centre for International Law and former partner of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is a prominent figure in the international arbitration sphere. Her topic for her speech was “looking beyond the horizon 2.0”. In her address, Professor Reed congratulated Singapore for putting itself on the international arbitration map in record time. She shared that Singapore’s Judiciary recognizes the importance of arbitration and encourages it. She explained her views on Singapore’s success, including thought leadership and people who are willing to get the job done. Her speech had a valedictory note to it, as Professor Reed will soon be moving back to the United States; she nevertheless looked forward to maintaining her close ties with Singapore in years to come. She ended her speech by sharing an encounter she had during her early days in Singapore with a local taxi driver which left a memorable impression of how kindhearted Singaporeans can be.
Professor Reed was also called upon to present the inaugural prize for the best award written by a candidate in the Institute’s Fellowship Assessment Course. Mr Chia Chor Leong, chairman of the Education and Training Committee, explained that the idea for the prize came after he read an outstanding award in 2018’s FAC. The prize, kindly sponsored by MDD Forensic Accountants, was then established for 2019’s FAC, and again this year one award stood out from the pack. All marking is blind, to ensure impartiality, but Mr Chia joked that, like him, dinner attendees would not be surprised when they learned the identities of the award-writers. Mr Chia observed that his judgment was vindicated when the author of the 2018 award which inspired the prize, Mr Siraj Omar, was shortly thereafter appointed Senior Counsel; and the inaugural prize-winner, for 2019’s best award, was none other than Ms Delphine Ho, the registrar of the SIAC.
The evening featured the now-traditional quiz. This year, quizmaster Mr Iain Potter gave attendees a tricky challenge: guessing the identity of household items from close-up pictures. Members and their guests were also entertained throughout the evening by magician Stefan Ebinger and his “bag of tricks” and had a great time bonding with old friends and making new ones.
A big thanks to third-party funder, Profile Investment, for sponsoring this year’s dinner, as well as to all who attended the dinner and made it an enjoyable and memorable evening.
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Chua Jian Zhi, Lester Poon - Activities Committee