This concentration of so many of Singapore's best and brightest in one volume proves a handy primer in lateral thinking.

2019 Edition

In this edition, 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.

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2018 Edition

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.

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2017 Edition

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?

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Inaugural Edition

“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.

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I am proud of the young people who organised this, and wrote the essays. Perhaps that is the next big thing for Singapore – getting many more people involved in thinking about our country and what it can become, and then working together to make it happen!

Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong

Selected Essays

Stories of a smart nation

The more we love the data visualisation, big picture, 420km view of Singapore, the more we run the risk of loving each data point, each little light, less. I hope we guard against this and learn again how to fall in love with the narrative behind the numbers: The multiple, personal and particular stories that make up a Smart Nation.

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Cheryl Chung

Heads the strategic planning department at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore and together with a team, is building the futures research and teaching capabilities at the School with the “Future Ready Singapore” project.

Designing Singapore’s Next Big Thing

Looking ahead, I believe the emphasis of work will shift from organising data and people to facilitating technology, relationships and experiences.

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Olivia Lee
A graduate of Central Saint Martins and London-trained designer. She is also a DesignSingapore Scholar, design educator and former EDB officer.

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