The winners of the inaugural Singapore Prize – a new award that recognises innovative projects and entrepreneurs with transformative ideas that make a visible difference to people’s lives – were announced on Friday. The five winners will each receive SGD 1 million (US$ 1.25 million or S$1.7 million) to accelerate their plans to tackle climate change, protect the planet and show a positive impact on humanity.
The Singapore Prize was launched by a group of prominent figures in the business and community, including former Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and entrepreneur Johor Bahru’s Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar, who is also chairman of the award’s jury. The prizes are intended to celebrate and inspire innovation, as well as encourage more young people to pursue their passions and dream big.
This year’s shortlist includes novels with a personal slant, such as Jeremy Tiang’s Sembawang, which looks at the 1950s from a family perspective to show what it was really like to live during a period of upheaval for the nation. Another book with a local focus is Leluhur: Singapore’s Kampong Gelam, by Hidayah Amin, which shines a light on the history of this heritage district many only know as a tourist attraction.
Poetry also has a strong presence on the list, with two male writers winning the top prizes. The decision infuriated poet-editor Grace Chia, who called the award “sexism” in a Facebook post which was later taken down. She explained that a prize so coveted should not be “apportioned to two narratives of poetic discourse by men.”
Other awards have been announced recently, including the President*s Design (P*DA) 2023, which chose eight winners for their work to improve the lives of Singaporeans and others in the global community. The prize, which is supported by the government and industry partners, honours designers who “make a significant contribution to society through their creativity, design process, and the outcomes of their work.” The winner in the landscape architecture category was Henning Larsen of Henning Larsen APAC for his vision of the “City in Nature” concept.
Meanwhile, the triennial APB Foundation Signature Art Prize celebrated its fourth edition earlier this month with a celebration at the National Museum of Singapore. The exhibition showcases the works of 12 finalists, who competed in Chinese, English and Malay for top prizes of up to $10,000 each. The winner of each language received a trophy and a gift code for the audiobook platform Storytel. The finalists will remain on display at the museum until September 2nd. Read about the winners and the other finalists here.