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What are PBMs and BBMs?

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By Phyllis Lee

Lately, there has been a spate of newspaper advertisements congratulating multiple individuals for being conferred the Public Service Medal (Pingat Bakti Masyarakat).

A congratulatory advertisement published on The Straits Times on Sept 19.

A congratulatory advertisement published on the front page of The Straits Times on Sept 11.

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Along with the Public Service Star (Bintang Bakti Masyarakat), these medals are two out of the 21 categories under the Singapore National Day Awards – which are a means of recognising various forms of merit and service to Singapore.

What are PBMs?

Instituted in 1973, the Public Service Medal may be awarded to any person who has rendered commendable public service in Singapore, or for his or her achievement in the field of arts and letters, sports, the sciences, business, the professions and the labour movement.

Recipients of this medal are entitled to use the “PBM” title after their names.

What are BBMs?

Instituted in 1963, the Public Service Star may be awarded to any person who has rendered valuable public service to the people of Singapore, or who has distinguished himself or herself in the field of arts and letters, sports, the sciences, business, the professions and the labour movement.

Those who make significant contributions after being awarded the BBM can be further awarded with a Bar.

Recipients of this medal are entitled to use the “BBM” title after their names.

While most BBM recipients have been awarded with PBMs before, there are some exceptions who’ve gotten BBMs without the latter.

Who receives these awards?

According to the Prime Minister’s Office, there have been 3521 PBM, 979 BBM and 162 BBM (Bar) recipients since 1998.

In 2017, 39 out of the 58 BBM recipients were grassroots and community leaders under the People’s Association.

The remaining 19 awardees came from statutory boards and organisations under the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of National Development, Ministry of Social and Family Development, and Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth.

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