Prince William Visits Singapore For Earthshot Prize and Literature Prize Finalists

The heir to the British throne is on his first trip to Singapore since visiting with his wife, Princess Catherine, in 2012. Travelling solo this time, William will focus on the Earthshot Prize, which he and his Royal Foundation charity launched in 2020 to promote innovative solutions and technologies to combat global warming and mitigate its effects on the environment. At the Gardens by the Bay, an artistic horticulture attraction, the prince will cheer on 15 finalists of the competition at its awards ceremony.

He will also take part in an “Earthshot Week” of activities, with the aim of bringing together businesses and investors to help accelerate the winning solutions. The prince will try his hand at dragon boating and meet Singaporeans to learn how they are working locally to protect the planet. He will also attend a summit organised by the United for Wildlife group, which brings together law enforcement agencies and companies to tackle the illegal trade in animal parts.

In his speech to the 15 finalists, the prince will stress that their solutions are not only helping to address climate change but are providing opportunities for jobs and growth. They are developing technologies such as a more efficient electric vehicle tyre that sheds fewer particles and seaweed-based livestock feed to reduce the planet-warming methane emissions of cattle and sheep. They are using technology to turn waste into a clean energy source and creating ways to remove plastic from oceans and recycle it into building materials. The prince said his visit would “inspire optimism in the face of the huge challenges we face”.

A novel that explores how ordinary people struggled to survive a political uprising and detention camp has made it onto this year’s shortlist for the Singapore Literature Prize. Kamaladevi Aravindan’s Sembawang (2020, available here) tells the story of a family living in the estate with the same name across five decades. It has a personal slant that forgoes the traditional view of history as a record of the big movers and shakers.

It was selected by judges from the four literary prizes awarded in Singapore, which recognise work written in Chinese, English, Malay and Tamil. It will be the sixth time that Sembawang has been shortlisted for the prize, which was previously known as the National Book Award. The winner will be announced at a ceremony on August 25. The winners of the other two Singapore prizes – for fiction and non-fiction – were also announced on Tuesday. The $30,000 Dr Alan HJ Chan Spirit of Singapore Book Prize, established through a $1 million donation from Confucian scholar and businessman Alan Chan, went to Chang Ching-Li for the novel A Moment of Silence. The $30,000 SUSS Young Talent Award, also for fiction and non-fiction, was won by Lee Kok-Keong for the story We Are The Others. Read about the books in the Straits Times.