Koh Buck Song

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Koh Buck Song is the author and editor of more than 25 books. He works as a writer, editor and consultant in branding, communications strategy and corporate social responsibility in Singapore.

Literary career[edit]

Koh Buck Song's books as author and editor include three collections of poetry, several anthologies and the first book on Singapore's country brand, Brand Singapore (2011, translated into Chinese and published in China in 2012). He was with The Straits Times from 1988 to 1999, where he was literary editor, political supervisor and chief Parliament commentator, arts and features supervisor, and Assistant Editor of a weekly world affairs section. His regular opinion column, Monday With Koh Buck Song, ran for over 10 years. From 2003 to 2004, he was a contributing columnist on current affairs based in the USA for the Singapore newspaper Today. From 2004 to 2005, he was a regular columnist on leadership for The Straits Times.

He was General Editor of the multilingual literary and arts journal Singa in the 1990s. In 1992, he was poet-in-residence at the Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh under the Singapore-Scotland Cultural Exchange programme,[1] and has also represented Singapore at literary conferences including at Cambridge (UK) and Manila, and in poetry readings at Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the USA.

His public service has included being Deputy Chairman of the Censorship Review Committee 2009–10,[2] and also a member of the Censorship Review Committees of 1991–92 and 2002–03, the only person to have served on all three panels.[3]


Selected Works:

  • Koh, Buck Song (2012). Perpetual Spring: Singapore's Gardens By The Bay. ISBN 978-981-4398-18-3 (hardcover). ISBN 978-981-2618-47-4 (paperback).
  • Koh, Buck Song (2011). Brand Singapore: How Nation Branding Built Asia's Leading Global City. ISBN 978-981-4328-15-9.
  • Koh, Buck Song (2011). Living With The End In Mind: A Study Of How To Increase The Quality Of Death In Singapore – Perspectives Of 30 Leaders, Lien Foundation.
  • Koh, Buck Song (editor, 2011). Heart Work 2: EDB And Partners: New Frontiers For The Singapore Economy. ISBN 978-981-4342-01-8.
  • Koh, Buck Song (2008). Heartlands: Home And Nation In The Art Of Ong Kim Seng. ISBN 978-981-08-1618-6.
  • Koh, Buck Song (2005). How Not To Make Money: Inside Stories From Singapore's Commercial Affairs Department. ISBN 981-05-4384-0.
  • Koh, Buck Song (2003). The Ocean Of Ambition. ISBN 981-248-020-X.
  • Koh, Buck Song (editor, with Bhatia, Umej, 2002). From Boys To Men: A Literary Anthology Of National Service In Singapore. ISBN 981-3065-67-2.
  • Koh, Buck Song (editor, 2002). Heart Work: Stories Of How EDB Steered The Singapore Economy From 1961 Into The 21st Century. ISBN 981-04-6906-3.
  • Koh, Buck Song (2001). The Worth Of Wonder. ISBN 981-232-180-2.
  • Koh, Buck Song (2000). Toa Payoh: Our Kind Of Neighbourhood. Housing and Development Board, Singapore. ISBN 981-232-124-1.
  • Koh, Buck Song (editor, with Ban, Kah Choon et al., 1995). Voices 4 – Readings By Singapore Writers. National University of Singapore. ISBN 981-00-4745-2.
  • Koh, Buck Song (1994), Thumboo, Edwin Nadason (1933– ), in Hamilton, Ian, ed., The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-century Poetry in English, Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-866147-4.
  • Koh, Buck Song (text and poetry editor, with introduction, 1993). Singapore: Places, Poems, Paintings. ISBN 981-00-4559-X.
  • Koh, Buck Song (1992). A Brief History Of Toa Payoh And Other Poems. ISBN 981-00-3426-1.

Selected Works in Anthologies & Other Books:

  • Gwee Li Sui, (editor, 2016). Written Country: The History of Singapore through Literature. ISBN 9789814189668.
  • Poon, Angelia; Holden, Philip & Lim, Shirley Geok-lin (editors, 2009). Writing Singapore: An Historical Anthology Of Singapore Literature. National University of Singapore Press, Singapore. ISBN 978-9971-69-486-9. ISBN 978-9971-69-458-6.
  • Thumboo, Edwin & Yeow, Kai Chai (editors, 2009). Reflecting On The Merlion: An Anthology Of Poems. National Arts Council, Singapore. ISBN 978-981-08-4300-7.
  • ASEAN Committee on Culture and Information (2000). Modern Literature of ASEAN.
  • Singh, Kirpal (editor, et al. 2000). Rhythms: A Singaporean Millennial Anthology Of Poetry. National Arts Council, Singapore. ISBN 9971-88-763-0.
  • Sionil Jose, Francisco (1991). New Voices In Southeast Asia. Solidarity, Manila, Philippines.

Further reading[edit]

  • National Library, Singapore. Chua, Alvin: Singapore Infopedia:[4]
  • National Arts Council, Singapore – Literary Singapore: A Directory of Contemporary Writing in Singapore 2011.
  • National Book Development Council of Singapore. Database of Singapore Writers:[5]
  • Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore. 2006 media coverage by faculty: "Anyone can be a leader, not just the man at the top":[6]
  • Singapore Management University. Knowledge@SMU: "Singapore’s brand “keloid”: Going beyond canes and chewing gums", July 2011:[7]
  • Institute of Policy Studies. Roundtable: "Brand Singapore", May 2011:[8]
  • Public Service Division, Singapore. Challenge magazine: "Branding Singapore Softly, Quietly" July–August 2011:[9]
  • Quarterly Literary Review Singapore. Author interview by Toh, Hsien Min: "Wilfred Owen meets Hokkien peng", January 2003:[10]


  1. ^ "Eastern promise is sheer poetry". The Herald, Scotland. 8 October 1992.
  2. ^ Media Development Authority website: http://www.mda.gov.sg/Public/Consultation/Pages/CRC.aspx
  3. ^ "When liberal desires meet conservative fears", Long, Susan, The Straits Times 25 September 1999.
  4. ^ National Library Board, Singapore. "Koh Buck Song". Archived from the original on 7 March 2012. 
  5. ^ NBDCS. "Sitemap - NBDCS". 
  6. ^ "Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy". Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. 
  7. ^ "Perspectives@SMU". 
  8. ^ "Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy" (PDF). Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. 
  9. ^ "Branding Singapore Softly, Quietly". 
  10. ^ "QLRS: Interview with Koh Buck Song - Vol. 2 No. 2 Jan 2003".