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Welcome to this week's issue of The Birthday Workbook!

Singapore's birthday was celebrated a couple of weeks ago. Even in a time of pandemic, we saw much fanfare and celebration. The future, however, still remains uncertain. How does a nation navigate unchartered waters? How can individual citizens deal with this uncertainty? In this issue, we read Ciara Yeo's essay, which provides a guide to see clearly in an uncertain time.

Before you read the article:
Watch the following video.

Rebuilding Singapore

Get into groups of 2-3 and discuss these questions:
  1. How did you feel after watching the video?
  2. What are the different ingredients for Singapore to progress?
  3. What is Singapore's narrative that this video is trying to portray?
Now read the following article: 
Read on Today
Consider the following questions:
  1. Following the essay's opening line, what do you want to be when you grow up? How has your ambition changed from your childhood?
  2. Ciara's cites many prominent figures such as Gardner, Socrates, and Dr Kalanithi alongside personal accounts. Why did Ciara choose those specific examples and how does it further drive her argument?
  3.  After reading Ciara's story, do you feel you have been living your life - as "a mountain with a summit" or as a "winding maze"? Provide examples of experiences that you have had to support your choice of metaphor.
  4. In the video, PM Lee mentions the need for "ingredients". Compare and contrast the different metaphors of "ingredients" in the video and "truths" in Ciara's story.
  5. In dealing with uncertainty, what do you think are the similarities and differences between a personal and national narrative?
  6. Do you think Singapore's narrative follows a path that has "a mountain with a summit" or of a "winding maze"?
Further reading


Finally, we have launched this year's edition of the Birthday Book! First published in 2016, the Birthday Book is an annual anthology of essays on challenges and opportunities facing Singapore. This year's edition is titled Seeing Clearly. Find out more here!
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