The Singapore Prize is an award given out by the government to individuals who excel at certain activities or areas. Receiving an award such as this can be extremely important to someone’s career advancement; usually these awards go out to people demonstrating exceptional potential within their field and winners are usually rewarded with cash and an engraved trophy as prizes for winning such an honor.
This year’s Singapore prize saw more first-time nominations and winners than ever before, and saw Epigram Books claim five out of the 12 nominations in English fiction – an unprecedented feat! Additionally, more new judges joined the judging panel than ever before; many first-time shortlistees also emerged from these inaugural shortlists.
Hidayah Amin was singled out for special praise for her shortlisted work Leluhur: The Story of Kampong Glam (2019). This book featured interviews with former residents from Gedung Kuning – once an important royal building at the heart of Kampong Glam – who had lived there. Furthermore, its use of archiveal footage impressed both judges and was described by them as having “an elegant yet subtle approach”.
Other shortlisted works that drew the jury’s interest included Daryl Qilin Yam’s book on the rise of nihilism and academic and author Khoo Gaik Cheng’s essay on Shakespeare’s play The Tempest were among others shortlisted works, while Balli Kaur Jaswal and Yong Shu Hoong works were runners up, while Pan Zheng Lei and rma cureess both took home first place prizes in poetry category.
Shortlisted entry by Yong Shu Hoong and Balli Kaur Jaswal was recognized for its use of language and subject matter: it provided a historical account of nihilism that emerged during early People’s Republic of China years, its effects upon Chinese culture, and offered new insight into this phenomenon. According to our panel of judges, this book provided new perspective into its rise.
The SG Breakthrough Prize is a national innovation competition designed to reward promising young entrepreneurs, offering seed funding and other rewards as well as mentorship and networking opportunities with policymakers. This year alone, this prize received 63 entries from across Canada; its winner team could win up to $500,000 in seed funding; eight shortlisted teams will have access to expert advisers and investors, plus opportunities to discuss their ideas with policymakers.
Neo4j, an open graph data platform which helps companies unlock the value of big data, won this year’s SG Breakthrough Prize and was presented with a $50,000 cheque by the government along with a trophy by government representatives. The remaining prize money was divided among six shortlisted teams.