Koh Buck Song (b. 1963)
Koh Buck Song is a writer, editor and consultant in branding, communications strategy and corporate social responsibility in Singapore. He has authored and edited more than 20 books. He graduated from the University of Cambridge and the University of London in the United Kingdom, and from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in the US, where he was a Mason Fellow and earned a master’s degree in public administration. He studied leadership at the Kennedy School under Ronald Heifetz and also at Harvard Business School under Warren Bennis.
Koh is the author of three poetry collections: A Brief History of Toa Payoh and Other Poems (1992), The Worth Of Wonder (2001) and The Ocean Of Ambition (2003). His poetry has been featured in anthologies such as Journeys: Words, Home and Nation, Words for the 25th: Readings by Singapore writers, No Other City: The Ethos Anthology of Urban Poetry and Portraits of Places: History, Community and Identity in Singapore.
In 1992, he was poet-in-residence at the Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh under the Singapore-Scotland Cultural Exchange programme. He has also represented Singapore at literary conferences at Cambridge (UK) and Manila, in poetry readings at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the USA. He has also spoken on Singapore’s global reputation at international conferences including the 10th Harvard International Development Conference at the Kennedy School, Harvard, in 2004, and at MIT and the University of Chicago in the USA.
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. He also launched and anchored the column This Week in Politics. From 2003 to 2004, he was a contributing columnist based in the USA for the Singapore newspaper Today, on current affairs relating to the USA and Singapore. From 2004 to 2005, he was a regular columnist on the theory and practice of leadership for The Straits Times. He worked for the Singapore Economic Development Board from 1999-2003 and 2004-5 in strategic planning and marketing and corporate communications. While there, he led a team to devise the “global entrepolis” concept to position Singapore internationally. Since then, he has worked as a consultant in branding, communications strategy and corporate social responsibility.
He has taught a Master in Public Management course in leadership to senior public servants including vice-mayors and judges from 10 countries in Asia, as Adjunct Associate Professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, and media studies as Adjunct Faculty member at the Singapore Management University, School of Social Sciences. He was Deputy Chairman of the Censorship Review Committee 2009-10, and was also a member of the Censorship Review Committees of 1991-2 and 2002-3, the only person to have served on all three panels. He has also served on numerous other citizen committees, including as a Board member of the Media Development Authority and National Arts Council and as Chairman of the NAC’s Drama Review Committee and the Publications Advisory Panel’s sub-committee on newspapers under the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts. He was General Editor of the multilingual literary and arts journal Singa. Koh is also the principal analyst and author of Living With The End In Mind (2011), a study of the end-of-life care environment in Singapore, for the Lien Foundation.