The award, which was established in 1996, honours those who demonstrate altruism and contribute to the social development of Singapore. The prize is awarded by the University of Singapore and carries a monetary value of S$100,000, which is donated to charity. It is a reminder that a healthy civil society depends on people who put the common good ahead of their own interests at pivotal moments. The award aims to highlight the importance of altruism, which is an important characteristic of all leaders and citizens.
The prize money is used to fund community projects that will bring lasting benefits to Singapore residents. Projects range from building libraries to organising music workshops for underprivileged children. The winners of the awards are selected by a panel of judges that includes representatives from various sectors, including academia, business, government and the media. The awards are held twice a year and are open to anyone with a Singapore citizenship or permanent residency status. The projects must be based in Singapore and have a clear and identifiable Singapore element to qualify for the prize.
Among the winners of this year’s prize was WOHA Architects for their Kampung Admiralty senior housing development. The design is built over two 11-story blocks, which are divided into three strata — upper, middle and lower — to encourage intergenerational bonding and promote active aging. The development also has communal spaces to promote interaction between different age groups and support family-based care. The judging panel described the design as a “modern expression of Singapore’s heritage and spirit” that has received international acclaim for its holistic approach to aging.
Another notable winner was a book that explores the roots of Singaporean cuisine. “The Cooking Gene: A History of Singaporean Food and Identity” by Sussanne Lim traces the evolution of the nation’s culinary heritage, with an emphasis on ethnic dishes. The book is a combination of historical research and recipes. It also explores how the cuisine has influenced other nations and cultures in Asia, such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam.
The 2021 Singapore History Prize was won by Prof Miksic’s Leluhur: Singapore Kampong Gelam for its “fundamental reinterpretation of the country’s history.” According to the citation, his book reveals that there were clues of Singapore’s existence as early as the 13th century, such as references in Chinese literary records.
A total of five books were shortlisted for the prize this year. In addition to Prof Miksic’s work, “Kalahari”, by Sally Lee and “Arnold is a Model Student” by Sorayos Prapapan were also chosen. In addition, Zukhara Sansyzbay won the Best Performance award for her film “Convenience Store.” It was screened at the International Film Festival Singapore last month. It will be released in cinemas nationwide later this year. The other shortlisted films are “The World’s End” and “In-Docs”. All the winning movies will be shown at the Singapore International Film Festival in June. Tickets are available for purchase from the festival’s official website.