Prince William Visits Singapore For the Third Annual Earthshot Prize

SINGAPORE — Prince William, the British royal who has become a major global force in environmental conservation and humanitarian work, is visiting Singapore this week for his first trip here in more than a decade. He touched down at Changi Airport Sunday and is scheduled to attend the third annual Earthshot Prize ceremony in Singapore, which is the event’s first foray outside of Europe. The award, inspired by President John F Kennedy’s 1962 “moonshot” speech challenging Americans to reach the moon by the end of the decade, aims to encourage and recognise individuals and teams who have made significant progress in finding solutions for pressing environmental problems.

The 71-year-old Prof Miksic was the sole winner of this year’s inaugural Singapore History Prize, administered by NUS’ Department of History. The prize, which carries a $50,000 cash award, is the country’s first to honour an outstanding publication that has made a lasting impact on Singaporeans’ understanding of its history. The book he wrote, Singapore and the Silk Road of the Sea 1300-1800, was selected by a four-member jury led by NUS East Asian Institute chairman and historian Wang Gungwu.

Prof Miksic recalled that he first came to Singapore in 1984 for a test excavation of Fort Canning, where he unearthed glass shards, coins and pottery — evidence that a community existed here 700 years ago, long before Sir Stamford Raffles set foot on the island in 1819. The discovery was a surprise, he said, because little historical information about Singapore prior to that time was available other than fragmentary accounts in literary works such as the 13th-century traveller Tang Xian.

Educator and writer Beatrice Chong, who was among the other shortlisted authors, agreed with Miksic that nations are formed by “a shared imagination, especially in our history”. The prize’s nominating committee, which was chaired by NUS Asia Research Institute distinguished fellow Kishore Mahbubani, also announced that a new translation category for books written in Singapore’s languages will be introduced from 2024. The reopening of submissions for this category was to reflect the growing number of authors who have published books in other languages.

The prince, who is a keen sportsman, took to the waters Monday for a morning of dragon boating on the Kallang River. Wearing a black cap and life vest, he paddled with athletes from the British Dragons club in the long, narrow boats that are used for the sport. They rowed vigorously to the beat of a drummer standing in the bow, while spectators cheered on from the banks of the river. The TOTO game was launched in 1968, when the founder of the Singapore Pools company, Othman Wok, wanted to reward sporting success in the nation, as he believed that it would promote physical health and strength, aiding national development. Today, the game is played online and over the phone, and traditional pre-printed tickets are replaced with on-demand ticket printing at all Singapore Pools outlets. There is a one-in-eleven chance of winning a prize when you play the game.