The Birthday Collective: Going beyond the “essay-writing crowd” and holding conversational space upon “uncommon ground”

Hairdresser giving a haircut at a HDB void deck

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What started as a published collection of stories to coincide with Singapore’s National Day has now evolved into “The Birthday Collective” (, a not-for-profit that creates and holds space for conversations that matter to the country. With its editor Cherie Tseng, we discuss the collective’s initiatives beyond the “essay-writing crowd”, the value of giving conversational seats to children and centring their voices, and the importance of meeting communities and individuals where they are. We conclude on what she means by the “uncommon ground” and the collective’s plans for the future.

Cherie is chief operations officer at a local fintech company and a mother of three.

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My conversation with Cherie is part of our 2021 focus on civil society groups, efforts, and issues in Singapore ( The feature photo is by Ng Shi Wen.

Click here to listen to the episode.

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