A Singapore-based prize has been launched to reward authors who have written books that champion mindsets and values that are important to the country. The Dr Alan HJ Chan Spirit of Singapore Book Prize was launched on April 18 by the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS). It is a $30,000 book award, the highest for a local literary prize. The prize is awarded to books that showcase Singapore’s culture, history, and people. The SUSS statement listed equality, diversity, religious harmony, meritocracy, pragmatism, resilience and an emphasis on education, innovation, and community as some of these values.
The second edition of the NUS Singapore History Prize has been opened to global writers to encourage a wider variety of historical works. It will be a biennial prize, and the 2021 winner was Leluhur: Singapore Kampong Glam by Hidayah Nordin. The citation for the book says that Ms Hidayah has “an unrivalled ability to bring to life the past through her writing”. Professor Miksic, who judged the competition, said that Ms Hidayah’s work stood out because it was both a synthesis of history and also a primary source due to her personal inputs.
Britain’s Prince William is in Singapore to name the winners of his Earthshot Prize, which encourages inventors and entrepreneurs to develop technologies to tackle climate change. He is visiting the iTelco Earthshot Centre, where the five winners were presented with their awards. The prize’s name is a play on President John F Kennedy’s 1962 moonshot speech, which inspired the prince and his partners to set their sights on solving environmental problems by 2030.
Among the winning companies is an Indian maker of solar-powered dryers, a soil carbon marketplace, and groups that help make electric car batteries more sustainable, restore Andean forests, and deter illegal fishing. All the winners were selected by a panel of judges including Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus, who won the Peace Prize in 2006 for microfinance. Mr Yunus and his wife, Zakira, were among the guests at Tuesday’s ceremony.
The winners were congratulated by the Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong, who called them heroes for their work. They were also encouraged to build connections and partnerships with Singapore government agencies to further scale their businesses. The finalists were also invited to attend networking sessions with representatives of the Singapore government. This would help them access the resources and support they need to succeed, the organisers said. The event is part of the iTelco Eco-Tech Challenge, a global competition to find new solutions for the environment. The challenge is run by the iTelco Group, which was founded in Singapore in 1997. It now has offices in more than 30 countries worldwide. It is a member of the United Nations Environment Programme. The contest is sponsored by the government of Singapore. Its partners include the National Parks Board, the National Research Council of Singapore, and the Institute of Science Technology and Engineering. The competition is supported by more than 50 organisations from around the world.