Singapore Prize Winners Revealed

As Britain’s Prince William joined celebrities including Donnie Yen, Lana Condor and Nomzano Mbatha at the third Earthshot Prize awards ceremony in Singapore, the prince said the solutions presented by the winners demonstrated “that hope does remain” as climate change continues to cause widespread destruction. He attended the event as part of his four-day visit to the country that has a reputation for its green initiatives.

The prize was launched in 2014 as a part of the programs celebrating Singapore’s 50th anniversary of independence, and is administered by NUS Asia Research Institute distinguished fellow Kishore Mahbubani. It is awarded annually to an author for a work of non-fiction on the theme of Singapore’s history that has broad appeal. The 2021 shortlist includes a book with a personal slant, Leluhur: Singapore’s Kampong Gelam by Hidayah Amin, which shines light on the history of the area where she was born. The book also examines how societal changes have transformed the city-state over time.

Another book with a strong historical focus is The Lost World of Singapore’s Forests by Mark Burnett, whose account draws on more than 50 years of research into the island’s once-vast forests. The book, which has also been published in the United States, explores how the loss of these natural ecosystems impacted Singapore’s economy and social life.

Continuing the themes of sustainability and water, NUS Asia Research Institute Professor Medema won the Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize for his work in using wastewater as an early warning system for COVID-19 in its outbreaks across the globe. Prof Medema, together with colleagues from NEA’s Environmental Health Institute, national water agency PUB, Home Team Science and Technology Agency and other universities, developed the use of wastewater-based epidemiology processes to gather real-time data on COVID-19 trends. The information was used to support public health responses in communities around the world.

Sports is also a focus, with the Singapore Disability Sport Awards recognizing achievements by disabled athletes. Five disabled athletes were nominated for the Sportsman of the Year Award this year, which was won by Raja Singh, while Tang See Chong, Derek Yzelman and Ong Bah Lee were nominated for the Sportswoman of the Year award.

Other highlights of the program include a competition to find the best solutions in the areas of nature protection, clean air and ocean revival, waste elimination and climate change. The winning teams and individuals will receive a cash prize of up to S$10,000, as well as trophies designed by renowned local artist Sam Lee.