Singapore’s most prestigious literary award has been awarded to a novel by a debut author, a biography about the country’s first female prime minister, and a collection of poems by a young woman. The winners were announced at a ceremony Tuesday evening that featured celebrities such as actor Donnie Yen and actresses Cate Blanchett and Lana Condor. Oscar winner and wildlife conservationist Robert Irwin also was on hand to present prizes to the winners of five categories including nature protection, clean air, ocean revival and reducing waste.
The awards, which were presented by Britain’s Prince William, came just ahead of the heir to the British throne’s working visit to Singapore from Nov 5 to Nov 8. The prince attended the award ceremony and related events as part of an Earthshot Week that celebrates innovative projects to address complex environmental challenges.
A book about a part of Singapore’s history that was neglected for many years won the top prize in the inaugural Singapore Prize, an annual award that aims to highlight a lesser-known aspect of the city state’s past. The winner was Ms Hidayah Sultan, whose book Gedung Kuning: The Story of Kampong Glam (2020) was written after two to three years spent interviewing former residents in that area. The prize jury was chaired by NUS Asia Research Institute distinguished fellow Kishore Mahbubani, and included historians Lam San Ling and Peter Coclanis, novelist Meira Chand, and archaeologist John Miksic of the NUS Department of Southeast Asian Studies.
Singapore Pools has issued a warning to lottery players that they should beware of online scams in which they are asked to share personal information such as their phone number and bank account details. The lottery operator has a strict anti-spam policy in place that forbids the use of its website and customer database for unauthorised purposes, a statement said. The company also prohibits the sale of its lottery tickets through unauthorized channels, including online and offline remittances.
In other Singapore news, a man who bought a Quick Pick ticket at a Rangoon Provision shop won a top prize of $13 million in Thursday’s draw, making it the fourth largest jackpot since 2014. The winning numbers were 83 and 42. The winner purchased the ticket at the same outlet where another bettor won the top prize in October.
The Singapore Prize is a literary award that was founded in 1992 and now operates in four languages. This year, it had 192 submissions, 32 fewer than the previous year, reflecting the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The program is the only one to host a Readers’ Favorite exercise in which the public votes online for their favorite shortlisted work across its different languages.
Temasek Trust, a government-owned investment fund, is moving from being a strategic partner to a founding partner of the prize. A spokesman for the charity said the change “underlines our shared commitment to spotlight and elevate the incredible climate innovations taking place across Asia.” The awards will be held in Singapore in 2023.