Renowned Indian-origin author Meira Chand, along with distinguished counterparts Suchen Christine Lim and Osman Abdul Hamid, received Singapore’s prestigious Cultural Medallion, a testament to their exceptional contributions to the nation’s arts and culture. The ceremony, held at the Istana and graced by President Tharman Shanmugaratnam, marked a historic moment as Meira Chand and Lim became the first English-language female writers to be honoured with the Cultural Medallion since 1997.
Each recipient, including Meira Chand, was granted SGD 80,000, reinforcing support for their artistic endeavours. This financial backing acknowledges the significance of their contributions and provides a platform for continued excellence.
Meira Chand’s literary prowess is showcased in works such as ‘The Painted Cage’ (1986), which earned her a coveted spot on the shortlist for the prestigious Booker Prize. Her novels artfully depict multicultural societies, earning acclaim for their depth and insightful portrayal of diverse cultures.
President Tharman emphasised the profound impact of the awardees, stating, “Each of our three new Cultural Medallion recipients is being recognized for their explorations through life and for inspiring many others, not least the next generation of artists.”
Meira Chand’s life journey spans England, Japan, India, and Singapore, reflecting a global perspective that enriches her storytelling. Her novels serve as a literary tapestry, weaving together the intricacies of diverse cultures and exploring her personal relationships with them.
Born in London to a Swiss mother and Indian father, Meira Chand’s international odyssey commenced. Her experiences in Japan and India profoundly influenced her, providing inspiration for her prolific writing career. The Cultural Medallion acknowledgment is a testament to the cultural richness embedded in her works.
Established in 1979 by the late President and Minister of Culture Ong Teng Cheong, the Cultural Medallion stands as Singapore’s foremost arts accolade. It honours individuals who have significantly enriched the nation’s arts and culture landscape, recognizing their outstanding contributions and commitment.
This distinguished award has been conferred upon 132 artists across various fields, including film, literary arts, performing arts, and visual arts. Its legacy underscores the importance of acknowledging and celebrating local arts practitioners who exhibit professional maturity and contribute significantly to Singapore’s artistic development.
President Tharman emphasised the recipients’ role in inspiring future artists, acknowledging their explorations through life as a source of inspiration for many. The Cultural Medallion, beyond its financial support, serves as a symbol of recognition for these accomplished individuals, contributing to the elevation of Singapore’s cultural and artistic standing.