The inaugural Dreams Asia Breakthrough Prize ceremony was held on May 4 at the Parkroyal Collection Pickering. This event saw 63 teams from across Singapore present innovative breakthrough solutions to alleviate poverty in the country. The top five winning teams will receive a total of $500,000, while the next two will receive a $50,000 award and mentorships to bring their ideas to life. The winner of the Grand Prize will be announced in October.
In a world where social media can polarise opinions and create a bubble of self-reference, a book can help bridge the divide and offer an opportunity for discussion and debate. This year’s shortlisted titles cover a wide range of subjects, from the history of an estate to the politics of detention. A novel traces the lives of an extended family through leftist movements, while another explores how social media has affected ordinary citizens. Other works take a look at the history of sarong kebaya, the Singapore Botanic Gardens and the Bukit Ho Swee fire.
One of the reasons for the success of a nation is its shared imagination, and history is a crucial component in that. This year, the National Library Board launched a new prize to recognise Singaporeans’ work that best epitomizes and inspires the Spirit of Singapore. The Singapore Prize, which is administered by the department of history at NUS, has already awarded its first prize to a book called “Singapore and the Silk Road of the Sea, 1300-1800” by archaeologist John Miksic. The prize was mooted by NUS Asia Research Institute distinguished fellow Kishore Mahbubani in support of SG50, and it hopes to encourage engagement with Singapore’s history while making its nuances more accessible to the public.
In the film category, Gabriela Serrano’s documentary Please Bear With Me won best feature, while Rein Maychaelson and Gladys Ng took home the special mentions for their films Every Mall Burns the Same and The Burning Land respectively. Gabriela also received a fellowship worth SGD4,000, which includes a residency and script mentorship.
A total of 4,000 votes were cast in this round of consumer voting, which is roughly twice the number from the 2020 round. The four winners of the Readers’ Favorite awards – Ali bin Salim, Daryl Qilin Yam, Pan Zheng Lei and rma cureess – each won $1,000 each.
This is the second time the Singapore Literature Prize has been given out, and this year the panel has chosen 12 authors for the awards. The writers include a novelist, a poet and a memoirist. They were honoured for their works that are “remarkable, provocative and memorable”. Besides the literary prizes, this year’s awards will also recognise individuals who led and implemented plans and actions that contributed to the successful management of the COVID-19 pandemic in Singapore. The winners will receive a trophy, a certificate and a voucher for the online audiobook platform Storytel. The exact format of the ceremony will depend on current safe distancing guidelines.