The Singapore Prize honours works that have enriched our understanding of the Republic’s history. Launched in 2014 in support of the SG50 programme, it is administered by the National University of Singapore (NUS) and is open to both local and international authors and researchers.
This year’s shortlist features a diverse range of titles, from non-fiction on Singapore’s 1950s to a memoir that shines a light on the heritage royal building at Kampong Glam. The winner will be announced in October.
A new book on the Singapore history that is often overlooked, Leluhur: Singapore’s Kampong Gelam by Hidayah Amin, is also making waves at the prize. The author, who grew up in the heritage heritage building, tells her story with great insight and intimacy, drawing from personal experiences to illuminate a side of the country’s history that is often lost or forgotten.
In another category, a film director who has made a drama of great warmth and sensitivity won the best director prize for her feature, Laha Mebow’s “Gaga.” The award comes with a cash prize of SGD4,000 from Filmgarde Cineplexes.
Other winners include the acclaimed Filipino filmmaker Gabriela Serrano, who won the fellowship prize for her film Please Bear with Me. The jury praised her film as “an intimate and compelling exploration of a family struggling to survive a devastating loss.”
Professor John N. Miksic, a 71-year-old American historian, has won the first Singapore History Prize for his 2013 book Singapore and the Silk Road of the Sea, 1300-1800. He was chosen from 29 submissions by scholars from around the world.
The prize is a key element of the SG50 programme, which seeks to promote and raise public awareness of Singapore’s history and its values. It is also a means to encourage young people to pursue careers in history.
This year, the winner will be selected by a four-member jury chaired by NUS East Asian Institute chairman Wang Gungwu. The other members are Dr. Kishore Mahbubani, a distinguished fellow at the NUS Asia Research Institute; Associate Professor Ian Gordon of NUS; curator Suhaili Osman; and historian Beatrice Chong.
As a new prize, the Singapore History Prize is a welcome addition to the scholarly landscape of Singapore. It complements the annual Sharp Prize, which was launched in 1979 and celebrates an important aspect of Singapore’s history, its literary culture and the impact of literature on society.
A shared imagination, especially in history, is a vital glue holding societies together and helps us understand our past, says NUS professor of history Kishore Mahbubani who mooted the prize. He adds: “Nations are imagined communities.”
There are several ways to claim your winnings after the draw has been made. The easiest way is to visit the official website or social media accounts of Singapore Pools. Once you have done that, the result should be reflected immediately on your account.
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