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An Evening at the BrandLaureate Leadership Awards


Written by Dr. James A. Omps

This special night was unlike any other this year. It was a night celebrating the achievements of a select group of national luminaries, familiar celebrities, and individuals who have attained a level of success well above those of other successful men and women working diligently within the Malaysian economy. It was a night like the night that London celebrates the BAFTA Awards or that Hollywood commemorates the achievements of those awarded the Oscar for outstanding achievements in their field. It was a night filled with spectacular entertainment, fine dining and the excitement that surrounds all such events.


For those of us seated at table number 41, in such prestigious company, it was especially momentous. We were seated and dining with Raja Singham - a man who is easily one of the most deserving, dedicated and hard-working individuals amongst those who would receive the gold statuette honouring their achievements that night.


One might rightly ask what criteria is used in selecting those who are bestowed the BrandLaureate Brand Icon Leadership Award in their chosen field. One thing is abundantly clear. When it came to recognizing the founder of Brickfields Asia College (BAC), it was no fluke. With a “70% market share in the legal private education market,” it would be impossible to not want to know the elements that are responsible for creating this virtual phenomena in education.


At the helm of this growing institution of higher learning is master helmsman and highly respected leader Raja Singham. No stranger to success, and having learned much from past obstacles that he has surmounted, he is loved and respected by all who have come to know him. If you add the 200+ faculty and staff to the thousands of students who have passed through the corridors of learning that comprise BAC’s two campuses, it should come as no surprise that visionary, determined yet compassionate leadership is the key.


There is no doubt that Raja Singham, in addition to being a respected and capable leader, is also a role model in every sense of the word. If you talk to the students at BAC they will tell you just how much it means to them to be able to actually stop Raja when he is seen on campus and talk freely and openly with him. Such access is rare among leaders of Raja’s magnitude and yet he gladly takes the time to participate in such random meetings regularly. He also makes himself available to faculty and staff on the same basis. There is a quality about this man that puts one immediately at ease … and that, my friend, is a good thing.


Raja Singham is, if he were to tell it, a normal man with normal desires and aspirations. That may well be, but those of us who know him and have had the privilege of watching him as he goes through his daily routine, are continually amazed at the way in which he makes the difficult seem almost commonplace. What he has achieved, given the setbacks he has experienced in such a short time, is nothing less than extraordinary. He lives in the moment but he always has an eye on and one foot in the future. The BrandLaureate Brand Icon Leadership Award that Raja Singham was honoured with on November 5th is certainly deserved. The honour accorded him by family, friends, faculty, staff and students is mute testimony to the greatness of the man who leads BAC.