Literature award won by a S'porean again

For the 15th year in a row, a Singaporean student has clinched the Angus Ross Prize, a prestigious English literature award.

Former Hwa Chong Institution (HCI) student Raymond Scott Lee Chian Hoong, 19, has been named the best-performing non-British candidate in the 2014 GCE A-Level English literature examination, out of a field of around 12,000 candidates worldwide.

The winner was chosen by a panel of senior examiners "who look for, among various criteria, maturity of thought and brilliance of expression in students' scripts", said the Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board in a release yesterday.

Mr Lee, who was "thrilled" to win the prize, said: "I'm immensely grateful to my teachers at HCI for their guidance, as well as for their passion for literature which they have shared with me."

The older of two children, Mr Lee has been interested in reading since a young age.

"I used to read children's books to him before he could read," said his mother, Mrs Margaret Lee, 48, a housewife. "After he learnt to read on his own, he just read almost anything." His father is a manager at an American automation firm.

Mr Lee's literature teacher at HCI, Mr Christian Simpson, said his former student's "answers were analytical and thoughtful and his style of writing was more mature" than that of others. "You could tell he's read quite widely," he added.

Mr Lee, who is deciding between reading literature overseas and studying law at the National University of Singapore, said the secret of his success was in preparation. "I think the most important aspect of my preparation was to develop my own personal voice and to mull over the texts and poems and how I really felt about them."

The runner-up this year is Mr Chua Cheng Han Sean from Raffles Institution.

Since the Angus Ross Prize was first awarded in 1987, Singaporeans have won almost every year. Past winners include stage actress Emma Yong, who died of stomach cancer in 2012, and Mr Li Shengwu, 29, grandson of the late former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew.

This article was first published on May 30, 2015.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to for more stories.