The Singapore Prize For Publication That Makes A Lasting Impact On Singapore’s History

The singapore prize is given for publication that makes a lasting impact on Singapore’s history. It is administered by the NUS Department of History. It was launched in 2014 in support of the programmes to celebrate Singapore’s 50th anniversary and is the first prize here to be devoted to the nation’s history.

NUS professor John Miksic won this year’s prize for his book Singapore And The Silk Road Of The Sea, 1300-1800. His work refutes the common misperception that Singapore’s history started with Sir Stamford Raffles’ arrival and argues instead that the city-state had been in existence for some 2,000 years before then.

He was lauded for “smartly tackling questions about the origins of the state”. The jury for the 2021 prize, chaired by NUS Asia Research Institute distinguished fellow Kishore Mahbubani, also included novelist Meira Chand; economist Lam San Ling; historian Peter Coclanis and archaeologist John Miksic from NUS.

Ms Hidayah grew up in one of Singapore’s most historically significant areas, Kampong Glam, and spent two to three years interviewing residents there for her book. She says she has an unfair advantage over other writers – “because I am a person from the community, I have been part of the conversation about its past”.

In a video speech at the awards ceremony on Thursday (Jan 11), Prince William said that the prize was a way to encourage others to take action and to “celebrate those who are taking bold steps to tackle our planet’s most pressing challenges”. The 71-year-old royal added that he will visit Singapore later this month to see first-hand how people there are working to combat illegal trade in wildlife products, which is estimated to be worth $20 billion a year.

The winner of this year’s prize, NUS scholar Prof Miksic, is a man who has taken many bold steps. He is a renowned archaeologist who has rewritten the common understanding of Singapore’s pre-colonial history by using archaeological findings to challenge the commonly held view that it began with Sir Stamford Raffles’s arrival in 1819.

He has also been instrumental in pushing the government to modify its longstanding aversion to welfare and introduce modest supports for the elderly and the poor. The re-thinking of policy may not have solved the government’s electoral problems but it has stopped its haemorrhage, he has been credited with.

During his visit to Singapore, the prince will meet Singaporeans and see how they are using innovation to tackle global issues. He will also participate in a United for Wildlife global summit to address the trade in illegal wildlife products. He will be joined by a number of celebrities and global leaders including actors Sterling K. Brown, Lana Condor and Cate Blanchett. The event will be hosted by award-winning actress Hannah Waddingham.