A migrant worker who is still learning English has won a Singapore prize worth the equivalent of one and a half years’ salary after playing a game show where the goal was to steal money. Selvam Arumugam, 42, from Tamil Nadu in India, works at heavy vehicle leasing firm Pollisum Engineering as a rigger and signalman, inspecting and maintaining cranes and lifting equipment. He was elated after winning the Red Light, Green Light show’s top prize of $12,000 at a gala event in central Singapore on Tuesday. The show was part of the 2023 Singapore Prize, an initiative supported by the government’s Temasek Trust and sponsored by the private companies GenZero and Conservation International.
Arumugam told The Straits Times that he did not know how to play the game when he first joined Pollisum in 2007 and had only watched Red Light, Green Light before participating in the competition. He said he copied what the players in front of him were doing, tried to run as fast as they did and hoped for the best.
The winner was chosen by a panel of judges consisting of academic Khoo Gaik Cheng, filmmaker Lucky Kuswandi and artist Tuan Andrew Nguyen, who also served as the short film award jury. The winning film was “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes,” directed by Alvin Lee, which won a production services package worth $15,000 from Shooting Gallery Asia and online, audio post and DCP feature worth $10,500 from Mocha Chai Laboratories.
Founded in 1992, the Singapore Literature Prize is a biennial literary award for publications in the island nation’s four official languages – Chinese, English, Malay and Tamil. This year’s theme, resonance, was chosen to highlight how literature has the power to trigger emotions and memories. Organizers hope to inspire people to explore their own sense of resonance by reading the selected books and essays, which were published this year.
The awards ceremony will be held on November 7, with the prince presenting this year’s five winners. During the event, which is being billed as Earthshot Week, the prince will encourage “global leaders and businesses” to take the prize’s support of environmental solutions seriously. The ceremony will follow a similar format to the inaugural awards in London in 2020 and Boston last year, with performances by world-renowned musicians and artists. The prince will also reveal this year’s finalists for the prize, named after US President John F. Kennedy’s 1960s Moonshot project to land a man on the moon. The five winners will receive PS1 million each to help scale their efforts. The 2023 prize is expected to be worth a total of PS15 million. The previous prizes in 2021 and 2022 were worth PS10 million and PS15 million respectively. The Prince of Wales has a long history with the environment and is the founder of the International Wildlife Conservation Awards. He has previously backed the Duke of Edinburgh International Trophy for Wildlife Photographer of the Year, as well as the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation’s annual oceanography awards.