Singapore Prize For History – Winners Announced

A renowned archaeologist whose work refutes the common misperception that Singapore’s history started with Sir Stamford Raffles’ arrival has been awarded the inaugural Singapore Prize for History. Professor John Miksic of the National University of Singapore (NUS) was presented with the award on Thursday (Jan 11). His book, Singapore And The Silk Road Of The Sea, 1300-1800, uses archaeological evidence to examine the city-state’s pre-colonial history in the context of the larger Asian region.

The prize, to be next awarded in 2024, seeks to broaden the definition of “history” by welcoming writings on different time periods and themes relating to Singapore’s past. Besides books, submissions can also include creative works such as plays or films with clear historical themes. Miksic, who is the first person to win the prize, plans to continue his research and set up a website to highlight the ancient artefacts discovered in Singapore.

He added that the prize was a great way to encourage others to take action and “to celebrate those who are taking bold steps in tackling our planet’s most pressing challenges”. The 71-year-old also used the platform to plant a Tembusu sapling at Jurong Hill, a move which marked the first time an international dignitary has done so.

For the second year in a row, Kampung Admiralty by Indonesian architects Budi Prajot and Tito Supriatna was named building of the year at this year’s World Architecture Festival (WAFX). The project is one of several recent community or public buildings to claim the top prize. Last year, post-earthquake reconstruction in a village in China’s Yunnan province won the award, while a stacked apartment complex designed by OMA and Ole Scheeren in Singapore claimed the accolade in 2015.

In this year’s awards, eight out of 12 winners are first-time recipients. They include a mix of seasoned and emerging writers, with alllkunilaa (Azhagunila), innnpaa (Inbha) and rma cureess (Rama Suresh) winning the Tamil fiction category. Veteran literary pioneer Edwin Thumboo won the Lifetime Achievement Award, while Wang Gungwu and Yeow Kai Chai picked up awards in the English categories.

Meanwhile, the third annual Earthshot Prize awards was held on Tuesday, with celebrity actors Cate Blanchett, Ted Lasso and Sterling K Brown joining Prince William at this year’s glam ceremony to honour entrepreneurs and companies that have found solutions to the planet’s most serious environmental problems. The winners were chosen from over 50 nominees from more than 20 countries and territories, who each received $100,000 in seed funding to develop their ideas into viable businesses.