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Home > About Us > AWA President's Message

AWA President's Message

May/Jun 2022

Discovering the Gems All Around Us

Over the past few years, we have all had to get more creative. From pivoting to home-based learning, remote working and virtual events, we have found ways to make the best out of our situation.

Similarly, when it came to traveling, we expanded our horizons from our well-acquainted neighborhoods to explore this Little Red Dot and discover the hidden gems throughout the island. For my family, we have taken this opportunity to visit “faraway” places like Punggol, Sentosa, West Coast Park and Bedok, and learned to appreciate the jewels located right in our own backyard.

In this issue, you will find many tips for lesser-known spots and get insights into these “Secrets of Singapore”. But how about the “Secrets of the AWA”? For example, did you know that the AWA was founded in 1935? (We are older than Singapore itself!) Or that our original name was "Women's Auxiliary of the American Association of Malaya” and that we changed our name to "American Women's Association of Singapore" in 1981?

In addition to these interesting nuggets about the organization, how about some fun facts about our members?

Like did you know that Terry Young, co-chair of AWA Local Tours, helped to oversee her company’s Y2K transition and intently monitored the midnight countdown that year? (Spoiler alert: nothing melted down) Or that Anita Young, AWA Vice President, lived in Thailand previously and that is where she originally met our AWA Communications Director and Creative Hands chair Meg Sine? Or that Aarti Sonawala, AWA Special Interest Chair and Holiday Lunch co-chair, is a fourth-generation gemologist? Or that Kristin Bemowski, AWA Corporate Relations Manager and DISH lunch co-chair, is a second generation AWA member? (She is an alumna of Singapore American School and her mother was an AWA member!)

Aside from the little gems about them mentioned above, we also consider the women themselves to be real “AWA gems” for their contributions to our organization. We would like to thank Terry Young for promptly adjusting our local tours pursuant to announced guidelines so that the most members are able to enjoy their learning experience together, Anita Young for actively exploring innovative ways to engage current members and recruit potential ones, Meg Sine for supporting the communications team and raising her hand to lead many of the activities she participates in, Aarti Sonawala for keeping our vast special interest groups connected and our holiday lunch warm, and Kristin Bemowski for maintaining relationships with our corporate partners during these challenging times.

As things begin resume, I look forward to see what lies ahead, including the activities that our dedicated AWA volunteers have in store for us. And with all of the gems we have around us, I know that will light the way for lifelong friendships to continue to be forged and new memories to be made.

Let’s go!

Linda Schindler