A group of Singaporeans who have sparked a renaissance in the country’s arts and literary scene have been awarded the city-state’s most prestigious arts accolade. Novelist Meira Chand, theatre veteran Suchen Christine Lim and Malay dance legend Osman Abdul Hamid were conferred the Cultural Medallion by President Tharman Shanmugaratnam in a ceremony on Tuesday. The award comes with an SGD 80,000 grant for each of the winners to support their artistic pursuits.
Chand, who is of Indian origin, was recognised for her work Snow at 5 pm: Translations of an Insignificant Japanese Poet. The book traces the tumultuous historical events that helped shape the tightly controlled state and led to the arrests of left-wing activists and trade unionists in the 1950s. It has also received international acclaim, including being named the Best Comic at Denmark’s Eisner Awards earlier this year, which is often considered to be the Oscars of the comic world.
The NUS Singapore History Prize is an open global competition that recognises outstanding non-fiction or fiction works of a significant historical significance about Singapore. It was launched in 2014 with the aim of spurring interest in Singapore’s history and increasing awareness of the nation’s rich heritage among the general public. It is an initiative of the Department of History at the National University of Singapore.
This year’s event was held in the vibrant city of Singapore, which is home to many cutting-edge start-ups and tech companies at the forefront of climate action. Prince William, who inaugurated the awards in 2020, rolled out the green carpet for this year’s winners at the Mediacorp Theatre on Tuesday. The five winners, who were picked from a pool of 15 finalists, are working on projects that address key environmental issues: creating a waste-free world, cleaning the air, fixing the climate, reviving oceans and protecting and restoring nature.
In a bid to strengthen its impact and reach, the prize has been bolstered with funding from Temasek Trust. The multi-year partnership will see the two organisations collaborate to spotlight Asia in the fight against climate change, and unlock global learnings and insights to identify, scale and celebrate innovative solutions to restore the planet. In addition, it will support the prize’s efforts to connect the right people and organisations with the resources they need to accelerate their impacts.