Singapore Prize – First Prize Dedicated to Singapore’s History Launched

SG50: First prize devoted to Singapore’s history launched

A prize devoted to the history of Singapore was launched this month, marking a new phase in the city-state’s literary scene. The S$50,000 prize, awarded by the National University of Singapore’s history department, is open to both non-fiction and historical fiction, and it is hoped that it will become an annual event, the first of its kind in the country.

The inaugural Singapore Prize was sparked by an article written in April by Kishore Mahbubani, dean of NUS’ Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. In the article, he wrote that nationhood is largely created in people’s imagination and that a shared understanding of history is a critical glue holding societies together.

NUS historians quickly rallied around the idea and a fund was set up to establish the prize, which will be awarded in 2024. Submissions can be any work of book-length written or translated by Singapore citizens or permanent residents, or works that incorporate a significant Singaporean element and are published between Jan. 1 this year and May 30 next year.

Among the titles in the shortlist for this year’s prize is Leluhur: Life and Loss in Kampong Gelam by Hidayah Amin, which tells the story of a heritage building in the heart of Singapore’s Kampong Glam neighborhood that was once a gangster hangout. Another title in the running, a biography of one of Singapore’s most dangerous criminals by Vincent Tong, takes an intimate look at his life and his victims.

Other works on the shortlist take a more general view of history, including a study of the earliest humans in Southeast Asia by Professor Miksic, who said that he was inspired to write his book after hearing stories from the volunteers who helped him with archaeological excavations. He hopes to encourage the next generation of archaeologists to write about their experiences.

Prince William to highlight ‘hope’ for fighting climate change in Singapore

In line with the theme of sustainability, which he stressed was at the root of this year’s Earthshot prize program, the British royal will spend two days in Singapore this month spotlighting finalists that aim to make electric car batteries cleaner, restore Andean forests and deter illegal fishing. He will be hosted by the government-owned Media Corp of Singapore.

During the trip, he will also attend a dinner with top Singapore officials and a panel discussion featuring leaders of organisations like United for Wildlife and WildAid Marine Programme. He will be dressed in a 10-year-old dark green blazer from fashion label Alexander McQueen, a nod to the importance of sustainability, The Straits Times reported.