The Birthday Books 2016 - 2021

The Birthday Book: Are We There Yet? (2021)

edited by Eddie Choo, Tan Kuan Hian and Cherie Tseng


In true Singaporean fashion, answering this question means answering a host of other questions: Where are we now? Who gets to be 'we'? What is 'there'? And when do we arrive?

56 contributors tackle these questions for Singapore. Hear perspectives from two divers, one in the Olympics and the other in naval combat; two doctors, one just starting out and the other the CEO of NUH; two teachers, one still a self-described "baby teacher" and the other the most senior University Professor at NUS; and also from a social worker, a former ambassador, a migrant domestic worker, a cryptocurrency enthusiast, and many more. Most of them disagree with each other. Have a read, and see which ones you disagree with too.

The Birthday Book: 20/20 Seeing Clearly (2020)

edited by Chua Jun Yan and Selina Chong


What do you see?
A collection of 55 contributions which responded to this question.

What does it mean to see clearly? This anthology challenges what we think we know about Singapore. Between these covers lie tales of personal triumph and tragedy, visions of Singapore seen through fresh eyes, voices which tease out the complexities of our society.

The Birthday Book: Narratives, Undiscovered and Underway (2019)

edited by Cheryl Chung, Vieshaalan Naidu, and Aaron Maniam


In this volume, 54 contributors respond to the prompt, “Narratives, Undiscovered and Underway”, and reflect on the narratives of their lives: the stories that define them, their communities, the causes they champion, and Singapore’s collective future. 54 essays in various formats examining both established and hidden narratives about Singapore: those already under way as well as those under-explored and emerging.


The Birthday Book: The Roads We Take (2018)

edited by Cheryl Chung and Aaron Maniam


In this edition, 53 contributors reflect on “The Roads We Take” – the paths they have chosen to take in their lives. More than just personal stories, these essays highlight the importance of resilience and the evolution of the political and social landscape in Singapore. The book compels readers to think of the complexity of the future roads we must take, as individuals, as a nation – because in sunny Singapore, no one road stays forever.


The Birthday Book: What should we never forget? (2017)

edited by Sheila Pakir and Malminderjit Singh


An annual publication, The Birthday Book examines emerging challenges and opportunities for Singapore, based on a selected prompt. The number of writers each year matches Singapore’s age—52 for 2017, 53 for 2018, and so on. This edition presents 52 responses to “What Should We Never Forget?” The contributors have drawn from personal encounters, academic and professional experiences, and cornerstone values in their lives. Read their stories for a glimpse of our nation’s spirit—mortal, vulnerable, restless, resilient, and aspirational. What’s your response?


The Birthday Book: What is Singapore’s Next Big Thing? (2016)

Edited by Malminderjit Singh


“What is Singapore’s Next Big Thing?”

An intellectual salvo from young and passionate Singaporeans inhabiting different slices of Singapore society, The Birthday Book is a collection of 51 essays presented as a birthday gift to the nation and its people. What are the milestones that Singapore is headed into – the next big things – in the view of this inaugural group of contributors?

These individuals, younger than 45, will inherit leadership roles in their respective domains of expertise. Their essays come together as a compact and essential digest of introspections and outward projections, drawing on a shared past and projecting forward into our collective future.