SINGAPORE - There was thunderous applause from the audience when tabla!'s editor Patrick Jonas announced the name of the third tabla! Community Champion.
After all, businessman Mohamed Abdul Jaleel is well known in the Indian community for his philanthropy and humility. The founder and chief executive officer of construction logistics company, Mini Environment Service Group, received a pewter vase from guest of honour Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, Second Minister for Home Affairs and Trade and Industry S. Iswaran.
Mr Jaleel's acceptance speech was brief. He thanked tabla! for choosing him for the award. He was treated like a celebrity throughout the evening with reporters and photographers on his trail - something that he wasn't used to. "I didn't expect this award. I feel very humbled and honoured," Mr Jaleel told tabla!.
The award, like the previous two years, comes with a generous donation of $10,000 from the State Bank of India (SBI), which went to the charity of the winner's choice -the Singapore Indian Development Association.
Mr Iswaran, in his address, said that the annual award helps to "recognise a local Indian who has been doing exemplary work for the less fortunate".
"It is also critical for us to work towards a more inclusive and caring society in Singapore. Deepavali also reminds us to care for the less fortunate amongst us and to inculcate greater social responsibility," he added.
SBI's executive vice-president M.N. Aravind Kumar, who presented the $10,000 cheque to Mr Jaleel, said that he was pleased that SBI has supported the award for the third time. "At SBI we believe that a service to humanity is service to God. And as part of our corporate social responsibility we're on board with tabla! for this award," he said.
Mr Kumar also added that when he heard the name of the winner, Mr Jaleel, he did a search and read up more extensively about him.
"Mr Jaleel is definitely the right person for the award this year," added Mr Kumar.