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Submission date

18 May 2023 at 3:42:04 am

First name


Last name




Oxford University





Aaron Maniam is currently Fellow of Practice and Director of Digital Transformation at the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford. Previously a civil servant in Singapore, he was most recently Deputy Secretary (Industry & International) at the Ministry of Communications & Information, and served prior postings in the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Trade & Industry, the Public Service Division and Civil Service College. He was the founding Head of the Centre for Strategic Futures under the Prime Minister’s Office Strategy Group. He has published two collections of poetry, is a trained facilitator of inter-religious and inter-ethnic dialogue, and co-founded The Birthday Collective. He served as founding Chairman of the National Youth Council Academy and the Singapore Indian Development Association Youth Club, and was President of Mendaki Club (a group of young Muslim professionals) from 2009 to 2011. He was recognised by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader in 2013, by the Asia Society as an Asia 21 Young Leader in 2007, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of the Arts, Manufacture and Commerce (FRSA). His PhD at Oxford University’s Blavatnik School of Government focused on how governments and societies can most effectively deploy digital technology.

Paper title

Narrative and National Memory - Case Study of the Birthday Book in Singapore


narrative nation memory short stories personal essay


The Birthday Book is an annual publication of the Birthday Collective ( The book brings together stories, most often in the form of personal essays or creative non-fiction, that capture the zeitgeist of the year in Singapore. The book's theme varies each year - the first (2016) was "What is Singapore's Next Big Thing?", the most recent (2023) is "Unmasking" - and the number of writers always equals Singapore's age in that year (i.e. 58 in 2023). We propose to gather a 3-5 person panel of the book's editors and writers who have employed particularly creative narrative forms, to discuss how their work, and the larger project, is a a living repository for Singapore's national memory.


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