The Singapore Prize is a new biennial award for the best books published by local authors in English, Malay, Chinese and Tamil. It was launched in 2014 by the National Book Development Council of Singapore with support from the National Arts Council and National Library Board, and was awarded its first prize in 2018.
The inaugural winner was John Miksic, an archaeologist at NUS, who wrote Singapore and the Silk Road of the Sea, 1300-1800. The 491-page tome was based on his discoveries during archaeological digs that unearthed glass shards, bronze bowls, coins, pottery and more from an ancient community that once thrived in Singapore more than 700 years ago.
In addition to the book, Mr Miksic also received a S$50,000 cash prize. He will also work with NUS Press to build a website about the ancient artefacts discovered in his book.
Another prize to be awarded is the Singapore History Prize, which is being administered by the Department of History at NUS and given out every three years. It was introduced in 2014 to honour a publication that has made a lasting impact on Singaporeans’ understanding of its history and will be accompanied by a S$50,000 cash prize.
This year’s judges included academic Khoo Gaik Cheng, filmmaker Lucky Kuswandi and artist Tuan Andrew Nguyen. They will pick the winner and a second award in the short film category at a ceremony on Friday (January 11).
As part of its 30 by 30 campaign, the Government is aiming to source 30% of its food from domestic production by 2030. But food experts have warned that it could be challenging to meet this goal. And they warn that consumers will still prefer imported foods unless their prices are more competitive than local products.
The government is making a bid to cut down on the amount of imports that Singaporeans buy from abroad, with plans to introduce subsidies for local produce such as meat and fish. But food experts have warned that the move may have unintended consequences.
In an interview with The Straits Times, Mr Teng said he would be unlikely to buy local chicken if its price was more than half of what it costs from an imported brand. “It might be hard to convince people of the benefits of buying local,” he added.
One possible solution is to introduce a system that rewards producers for using more sustainable methods of farming. This would encourage companies to adopt more sustainable practices and use better fertilizers and pesticides.
Several companies have already adopted such techniques. But some are hesitant to make the change, because they think it might damage their reputations.
A third option is to increase the amount of money that can be spent on research and development. This could be done by boosting funding for PhD students and expanding research facilities in the country.
In an attempt to promote research, the Government launched a S$1 million fund for graduate students in science and engineering. The fund, which is administered by the National University of Singapore, will be matched by private donations. This year, it has raised more than S$3 million.