In 1931, Aw Boon-Haw and the second of his four wives adopted the five-year-old daughter of a distant relative from Burma, changing the girl's name from She Moi to Sian. Aw Boon Haw's eldest son was killed in a plane crash in 1951 and after Aw Boon Haw's death in 1954, Aw Sian inherited her the Aw's newspaper empire at the age of 23. In 1988, she won the most prestigious American award for journalism—the Carr Van Anda Award from the University of Ohio, a distinction which is usually reserved for the most outstanding figures from the American media such as Walter Cronkite and Ted Turner.
Aw was known foremost as a media mogul, proprietor of the English language business newspaper The Standard and the Chinese language news group Sing Tao News Corporation, including Sing Tao Daily founded by Aw Boon Haw in 1938 and tabloid Tin Tin Daily founded by Sally Aw in 1959.
Due to the Asian financial crisis and a corruption scandal in 1998, Aw was forced to sell her stocks in her media assets.
Aw had been a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.
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