This week saw the inaugural Singapore Prize awarded to a ground-breaking book that reinterprets how the nation came to be, written by archaeologist John Miksic from National University of Singapore’s Department of History titled Singapore and the Silk Road of the Sea, 1300-1800. This book won thanks to Kishore Mahbubani’s opinion column back in April – initially it was worth S$500,000 divided up between book prize of S$200,000 and an endowment fund with any remaining funds being administered by NUS’s Department of History department while administration of this prize is administered through NUS’ department of history department with oversight provided by NUS’ Department of History department of course!
Miksic’s book provides an important contribution to understanding Singapore’s place in the world, according to him. The text documents its first written mentions from Chinese trader Wang Dayuan in 13th-century Southeast Asia – showing longstanding recognition by residents. Miksic considers this interpretation “fundamentally new”, marking a whole new way of considering Singapore.
Miksic’s submission was one of 29 received by the Department of History, from which only five were shortlisted by a panel made up of professor Mahbubani, novelist Meira Chand, economist Lam San Ling and historian Peter Coclanis – after deliberating for three days they decided that Miksic’s work deserved first prize.
This book has been widely recognized as a landmark publication and widely considered to be the best study of Singapore’s early history. Based on research and archival material gleaned from various sources spanning 14th to 19th century Chinese accounts as well as literary works and studies that investigate Singapore’s roots, this work serves as a comprehensive approach.
“I am absolutely delighted and humbled to receive such an illustrious award,” Miksic told the Straits Times, adding “it is truly an honour.” She will receive her prize at a ceremony later this year.
Ngee Ann Polytechnic, LASALLE College of the Arts and Singapore Institute of Technology are among those set to benefit from the prize money. Lee Foundation and Lien Foundation – two major donors who set aside 75% of their net annual income for charitable initiatives – will also use some of it towards supporting ongoing initiatives.
Tonight saw the 2022 biennial Singapore Literature Prize (SLP) winners announced, including several first time winners such as alllkunila, innnpaa, Jee Leong Koh and nonagenarian Wang Gungwu. Additionally, Earthshot Prize Week 2018 will also include local activations events.