Piloted by the National Arts Council in 2012, the Community Arts and Culture Nodes initiative aims to enrich communities through regular and accessible arts programmes across neighbourhood island-wide.On February 22, 2017 / By Nookmag
Piloted by the National Arts Council in 2012, the Community Arts and Culture Nodes initiative aims to enrich communities through regular and accessible arts programmes across neighbourhood island-wide. NAC has partnered likeminded organisations such as the National Library Board, People’s Association and most recently, SAFRA, to co-develop quality arts programmes to engage the communities they serve.
Coming on board as the 15th Node this year is SAFRA’s newest clubhouse – SAFRA Punggol. It will form part of the [email protected] programmes held across the Jurong, Mount Faber and Toa Payoh SAFRA clubhouses, offering performances, workshops and interactive installations.
Ms Kris Ho, Deputy Chief Executive Officer (Operations), SAFRA, commented: “We see the arts as a very dynamic avenue where we can encourage more interesting and meaningful interactions among the NSmen community and their families. Hence, we’ll have many more programmes at our clubs this year that promote active participation in various genres of art like interactive, performing, and visual arts. We are certainly looking at having more workshops conducted by well-known artists to engage and benefit SAFRA members and also ground-up initiatives where NSmen can showcase their creative talents, creating a vibrant arts scene within our clubs.”
Since the first three nodes were set up in Siglap South and Kallang Community Clubs and Woodlands Regional Library, approximately 1,000 arts programmes have taken place over the last five years, at the steadily increasing network of nodes.
To engage residents meaningfully, Node programmes are spread across art forms, offering platforms for both young and old to pursue their areas of interest. Said Woodlands resident William Tan, “These community arts programmes liven up the entire precinct – adults and kids alike enjoy it. My 10-year-old son loves the Art Fresco drama programme at the Woodlands Regional Library node. The programme instils a sense of confidence in our kids and teaches vital soft skills in bringing out the potential in our next generation.”
For the month of February, the public can look forward to a taster for some of the year- long arts programmes from now to 26 February, showcasing 25 exciting arts experiences ranging from music and dance performances, visual art installations to hands-on workshops at 15 different nodes island-wide.
Some of the key highlights include Shadow. Art. Play! by Isabelle Desjeux at SAFRA Toa Payoh (an interactive experiential installation exploring the work of shadowplay), Shakespeare & the Navarasas by Subin Subaiah, Gerald Chew and Krissy Jesudason at Siglap South CC (a journey through the nine basic human emotions through the words of Shakespeare himself), The Rainbow Toymaker by Cake Theatrical Productions at My Community @ Queenstown (a theatre performance featuring Singapore’s best-loved retro games such as Five Stones and Pick Up Sticks) and Drumming & Dancing in the City by NADI Singapura and The Royal Dance Off at Mapletree Business City.
One of the performances, The Rainbow Toymaker, is a dynamic interplay of music, costumes and larger-than-life props that will be presented by the community and outreach arm of home-grown theatre company Cake Theatrical Productions, Sweet Tooth. Said Artistic Director Natalie Hennedige, “We are happy to bring The Rainbow Toymaker into community spaces. Our aim is to reach out and offer performances to one and all, and bring the arts to the people. The Community Arts and Culture Nodes initiative gives us the opportunity to engage with the community.”
“We’re excited to showcase our island-wide nodes and the diversity of arts programmes they have in store for the year ahead,” said Ms Chua Ai Liang, Director of Arts & Communities, National Arts Council. “Whether you already enjoy the arts, or are new to it, the growing Node network makes it easier for anyone to enjoy and participate in quality arts experiences.”
“World War II has brought out one class of people, a generation that has resilience and has been able to overcome all odds. That was actually the goodOn February 17, 2017 / By Nookmag
“World War II has brought out one class of people, a generation that has resilience and has been able to overcome all odds. That was actually the good part of the war.”
– Ms Mary Magdeline Pereira, 75, War Survivor
75 years ago, on 15 February 1942, Singapore fell to the Japanese, and with it descended a period in our history known as the Japanese Occupation of Singapore. Much has been documented about the hardships and atrocities of World War II. But to a generation of young Singaporeans today, these are but tales told through their history books. Hence, the stories of war survivors and veterans such as Ms Mary Magdeline Pereira, are that much more necessary and powerful. Amidst the gloom and darkness of the war, these stories of hope and resilience shine through, providing insights into the tenacity and unity of our forefathers during the tumultuous war years.
The National Heritage Board (NHB) commemorates the 75th anniversary of the Fall of Singapore with various initiatives across the year, starting with the annual Battle for Singapore commemorative event. From 16 February to 12 March 2017, members of the public can join in a series of guided tours, a public talk, and offerings at the various Museum Roundtable (MR) museums to learn more about the events leading up to the Fall of Singapore, and stories of the Japanese Occupation. These programmes and activities have been organised together with community partners, MR museums, and heritage experts.
Ms Angelita Teo, Director of the Museum Roundtable division at NHB, said, “The commemoration of the Fall of Singapore every February sees people of all nationalities, and walks of life, gather to remember those who gave their lives during the war. It is a time of sadness and reflection, but more than that, it echoes the strength and unity of human kind, just as it was 75 years ago. The various tours and programmes of Battle for Singapore 2017, done in partnership with war veterans, heritage experts, and everyday Singaporeans, celebrates this very spirit of togetherness, and the poignant stories of survival and courage. These shared memories are an invaluable part of our intangible heritage, and must be passed down through the generations.”
Battle for Singapore 2017 Series of Programmes
For the Battle for Singapore 2017, which runs from 16 February to 12 March 2017, NHB will be offering 49 tour runs to 11 World War II-related sites and structures in Singapore. These include tours to the old Command House; key military installations constructed by the British such as Labrador battery, Gillman Barracks and Alexandra Barracks; and a night tour of Pasir Panjang. The public can also enjoy four new tours this year, allowing them to discover more aspects and stories of World War II. They are:
MR museums have also come on board with special programmes for the Battle for Singapore commemorative event. One highlight is the re-opening of the Former Ford Factory, a National Monument, which has been closed for a year-long revamp. Set to reopen to the public on 16 February 2017, the new exhibition gallery will feature never-been-seen-before archival materials, as well as interactives that will tell a more compelling and immersive account of a significant period in Singapore’s history, including the legacies of war.
In addition, the Army Museum will be organising a special exhibition – Celebrating 50 Years of National Service, while the Eurasian Heritage Centre will provide greater insights on what the Eurasian community went through during these tumultuous years through guided tours of the centre by members of the Eurasian Association, and a talk by war survivors. Please refer to Annex B for details on these special programmes.
Members of the public may visit www.museums.com.sg for more information, and to sign-up for the Battle for Singapore 2017 programmes. Sign-up begins 6 February 2017, at 10.00am, and slots on the tours will be allocated on a first-come first-serve basis.
Upcoming War World II Exhibition at the National Museum of Singapore
Also in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Fall of Singapore, the National Museum of Singapore will launch a major, blockbuster international exhibition, titled 1942: The Fall of More than Singapore (working title), from September 2017 to February 2018. The exhibition will be centred on the Fall of Singapore in 1942, exploring the fall – and its impact on people’s lives – in a regional context and through the lens of lesser-known, personal stories about people’s wartime experiences. The National Museum will be collaborating with other international museums and partners to present this exhibition, which will see a range of artefacts from both overseas museums as well as the National Collection being displayed. More information on the exhibition will be provided closer to date.
In addition, NHB will also be releasing on its heritage portal, Roots.sg, and social media platforms, articles, photo essays and videos in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Fall of Singapore. These include a collaboration with photographer Nicky Loh on a photo essay of war survivors, including amongst them Ms Mary Magdeline Pereira. World War II stories depicting the lesser known aspects of the Japanese Occupation will also be available for reading and use by educators and parents looking to share more with their young ones on this milestone chapter in Singapore’s history.
Ask any Singaporean, and most would agree that Tekka Market is synonymous with Little India. But few would know that the name “Tekka”, or “Zhujiao (竹脚)” in Mandarin,On February 6, 2017 / By Nookmag
Ask any Singaporean, and most would agree that Tekka Market is synonymous with Little India. But few would know that the name “Tekka”, or “Zhujiao (竹脚)” in Mandarin, actually has Chinese origins. When translated, it means “bamboo clumps”, alluding to the bamboo that once grew along Rochor Canal. Few would also know that Little India, unlike its sister precincts of Chinatown and Kampong Gelam, was never intended by Sir Stamford Raffles to be an area designated for Singapore’s Indian community. Instead, it developed its identity organically over the years, establishing itself as a melting pot of diverse communities and cultures, all of which have co-existed since the precinct’s early beginnings. These lesser known facts of Little India will be made available and accessible to Singaporeans and visitors through the Little India Heritage Trail, the newest heritage trail by the National Heritage Board (NHB).
Enhanced Heritage Trail Experience with New Trail Offerings
The Little India Heritage Trail is NHB’s 16th heritage trail. It features over 40 heritage sites with 18 heritage markers across four kilometres, detailing the history of the over 200-year-old precinct. Aside from the staple heritage trail offerings of heritage markers, a trail brochure, and maps in four languages (English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil), all of which illustrate the history and heritage of selected sites, the Little India Heritage Trail goes the extra mile with specially curated thematic routes to cater to time-crunched trail-goers. The three bite-sized thematic routes are:
· “Serangoon in the 1900s” (40 minutes) – This route takes trail-goers on a historical trail to learn about the early communities that settled in the area in the early 20th century.
· “Walk of Faiths” (1 hour) – This route features the many different places of worship on the Little India Heritage Trail, and provides insights into the different religions and communities that have co-existed in the precinct since the early days.
· “Shop Till You Drop” (30 minutes) – This route allows trail-goers to enjoy the myriad of retail offerings in Little India, while learning more about the traditional businesses in the district.
Newly launched Bluetooth beacons to enhance trail experience
Another new offering for the Little India Heritage Trail, to be launched as a pilot project later this year, uses Bluetooth beacons installed on the heritage markers along the trail. Through visitors’ mobile devices, these beacons will enable them to explore the history and stories around each marker in greater detail. Trail-goers will be able to access lesser known information of the site they are at, and view photos of the site shared by other trail-goers. This new trail function is also intuitive: it helps users identify the other heritage markers close by, and features simple directions to help them get to their next destination. By recommending relevant markers in the vicinity, it not only enhances the trail experience for trail-goers, but paints a more complete picture of the multi-faceted history and heritage of Little India. Lesser known facts, presented in bite-sized nuggets of information, also help make the large volume of content more digestible and relatable, thus making the trail more appealing, especially for time-starved audiences.
Mr Alvin Tan, Assistant Chief Executive (Policy and Community) of NHB, said: “We are always looking to improve the experiential aspects of our museums, festivals and heritage trails, and that is why we have decided to introduce new thematic sub-trails as well as Bluetooth-enhanced markers for the Little India Heritage Trail. These improvements will enable users to enjoy trail content that has been customised to appeal to more specific interests as well as to retrieve additional trail content with greater ease. We will continue to collect feedback from users of our heritage trails, review our trail offerings and incorporate the necessary enhancements for our future trails.”
Community Giving Back Through Heritage
To encourage greater interest and involvement by youths in our history and heritage, NHB will be working closely with the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) and Umar Pulavar Tamil Language Centre (UPTLC) – one of MOE’s Language Centres – to adopt the Little India Heritage Trail for a period of three years. This is an initiative under NHB’s signature Heritage Trail Adoption Scheme, which sees teachers and students incorporating our heritage trails and their rich content into the school curriculum. Upon completion of their training, the students from NAFA and UPTLC will be guiding their peers on the Little India Heritage Trail as trail guides. NHB and the Indian Heritage Centre (IHC) will also be offering guided tours for the Little Heritage Trail in the coming months.
The Little India Heritage Trail brochure and map (to be available in four languages) can be downloaded from NHB’s heritage portal, Roots.sg. This will allow trail-goers to embark on their own self-guided trail, and select the route(s) that most interest them. When the new Bluetooth mobile pilot for the Little India Heritage Trail markers kicks in later this year, trail-goers will have access to even more information and pictures. Printed copies of the trail brochure and maps are also available for pick-up at IHC.
A range of merchandise, featuring landmarks along the Little India Heritage Trail, is available for visitors looking for mementos of the trail experience. Developed by NHB’s MUSEUM LABEL, the merchandise will be sold at the various Museum Label shops.
It’s been an incredible journey thus far for Gallery & Co., filled with many exciting moments and events. To commemorate this milestone, Gallery and Co isOn January 26, 2017 / By Nookmag
It’s been an incredible journey thus far for Gallery & Co., filled with many exciting moments and events.
To commemorate this milestone, Gallery and Co is throwing a party to celebrate and everyone is invited! It’ll be a night of fun interactive activities like live drawings by local artists, silk-screen printing and more. There will be exclusive and exciting giveaways and 20% storewide for retail and F&B from 6.30pm onwards; just their little way of giving back.
Daryl C. from Darker Than Wax will spin the night away while you enjoy a tipple at the POP Bar. The kitchen will be open till late too for those who fancy a bite or two!
Coinciding with this special event, The Artist Project 1.0 “Siapa Nama Kamu?” comes to conclusion with launch of the final installation, “State of Mind” and the official store launch of the second drop that was previously launched online last November, “Biodata”.
The Artist Project is a collaborative effort between Gallery & Co. and various local and international brands, artist and designers, with artworks and products created in visual response to the question, “What does Singapore mean to you?”.
Gallery & Co.
National Gallery Singapore
1 St Andrew’s Rd
26 January 2017, Thursday
1830 till late
Singapore’s longest running entertainment institution, Zouk Singapore, has unveiled its much-anticipated relocation to the nightlife and entertainment precinct in Clarke Quay. Primed as an evolution of itsOn January 22, 2017 / By Nookmag
Singapore’s longest running entertainment institution, Zouk Singapore, has unveiled its much-anticipated relocation to the nightlife and entertainment precinct in Clarke Quay. Primed as an evolution of its Jiak Kim predecessor, the new space promises to take all revellers and fans of the Zouk culture into a new era of party experiences with an unparalleled packaged of top-notch dance music and world class service in a new home that is bold and progressive.
Striving to maintain its status quo as the frontrunner in propelling the dance music in Singapore and within Asia, Zouk at its new premises will continue to uphold the foundations that the brand is built on – stellar programming of international and local acts, inimitable audio-visual experience of quality sound systems, lighting and design, service excellence, as well as local community partnerships across music, arts and design that are aimed to highlight local talents and culture.
“The Zouk brand is an institution that is iconic to the local scene and is consistently recognized on the global clubbing stage as one of the best nightlife spots across its years of operation. With this relocation, we saw an opportunity to evolve with the culture of music, a chance to create a new atmosphere that will breathe new life to the brand with the promise of new experiences. This big move has been much anticipated by all and I couldn’t be happier with the result of a spectacular super club that is the
embodiment of progression with nods to the history that we all have come to love. Leading the relocation has been exciting, I’m truly honoured to be a part of it and I am confident that fans will love this refresh” says Hui Lim, Chief Information Officer, Genting Hong Kong.
Housed within Clarke Quay’s Cannery Block and spanning across two floors, the new Zouk complex will once again be a collection of unique concepts with the retention of signature dance stages Zouk and Phuture, the recently launched restaurant and bar, Red Tail, as well as a soon-to-be-unveiled fourth concept. Designed by interior design firm, Independent Consultants, the concept of the new spaces revolve around the idea of evolution in the music scene and club culture. Intended as a progression of what revellers both old and new loved about Zouk’s former home, the new spaces follow an overarching neo-industrial and futuristic
aesthetic inspired by the underground rave clubs and refurbished warehouses in New York and Berlin. Across the two revamped outlets, the space features five distinct thematic concept bars, and custom-made furnishings that are specifically designed to further establish the industrial appeal of the new space. Retaining the original sound system that was custom created by the renowned late audio engineer, Gary Stewart, Zouk and Phuture will continue to provide the warn and crisp quality sound that Zouk has always been known for. Recalibrated on a yearly basis for up-to-date configuration personally by Stewart and now by the Zouk sound team, the sound system is a one-of-a-kind creation that is specially equalized to suit all genres of dance music.
ZOUK + PHUTURE
The biggest surprise of its new home at Clarke Quay will be the ability to merge both Zouk and Phuture to form a superclub-like space to accommodate bigger acts in town and to cater to events of a larger scale. A strategic design featured on recent blogs like https://soundproofexpert.com/doorway/ have been made to heighten the versatility of the space so as to cater across different scales of events and happenings, the walls separating both outlets are actually removable soundproof double walls, and both Bar 3 and Bar 5 can be combined to form a fuller sized bar with strategically placed LED screens to project the action up front onscreen. Other modular features include the two-tired platform seatings in Zouk, as well as the seatings allocated around the dance floors of both outlets.
“Evolution is the theme and the overall concept of the design of this new space so we wanted to play around with the idea of a space that is dynamic and versatile. While its predecessor is known for four distinct yet independent outlets, the relocation has provided us with the opportunity to break down the barriers of stand-alone spaces to inject flexibility and coherence to the signature outlets without losing the essence of both Zouk and Phuture” says Phillips Connor, Founder of Independent Consultants.
Art Stage Singapore 2017, the flagship fair of Southeast Asia and anchor event of the Singapore Art Week, closed its seventh edition yesterday. The Fair saw a significantOn January 19, 2017 / By Nookmag
Art Stage Singapore 2017, the flagship fair of Southeast Asia and anchor event of the Singapore Art Week, closed its seventh edition yesterday. The Fair saw a significant presence of regional collectors, which largely contributed to the major sales made at the Vernissage on 11 January and over the next four days from 12 January to 15 January 2017. The support and presence of the collectors from Southeast Asia, especially Indonesia, increased significantly compared to previous editions, demonstrating that Art Stage Singapore’s efforts to match- make the region’s different arts scenes have shown positive results. On the other hand, despite the show of commitment by six leading Singapore-based collectors in opening their collections to the public at the Collectors’ Stage exhibition, local interest and engagement unfortunately did not correspond with international interest.
Art Stage Singapore 2017 drew a total of 33,200 visitors. The collectors who were present at the Fair included Mr Disaphol Chansiri from Thailand; Mr Soichiro Fukutake, Mr Tetsuyuki Oishi and Mr Daisuke Miyatsu from Japan; Mr Alain Servais from Belgium; Mr Dick Quan and Mr Stephen Shaul from Australia; Dato’ Noor Azman bin Mohd Nurdin, Dato’ Marcus Tan Ser Lay and Mr Pakhruddin Sulaiman from Malaysia; Mr Alex Tedja, Mr Deddy Kusuma, Mr Ir. Ciputra, Mr Prasodjo Winarko, Mr Haryanto Adikoesoemo, Mr Wiyu Wahono from Indonesia; Mr Leo Shih and Mr Stephen Wu from Taiwan and Mr Chong Zhou from China.
First-time exhibitor Emmanuel Fremin Gallery from New York reported sales of USD270,000. Another first-time exhibitor Galerie OVO from Taipei also reported good sales of works ranging from USD3,600 to USD25,000. Works by Indonesian artist Rudi Mantofani presented by Singapore’s Gajah Gallery were snapped up by a regional collector for SGD280,000 within 15 minutes of the Fair’s VIP Preview on 11 January. Art Agenda, S.E.A sold a work by Singaporean artist Cheong Soo Pieng for SGD150,000. STPI sold a work by Rirkrit Tiravanija for USD80,000 and reported sales of works by Singaporean artist Han Sai Por for between SGD10,000 to SGD40,000. Sullivan + Strumpf did well with their emerging Indonesian artist Irfan Hendrian as well as with Australian artist Karen Black. Singapore’s FOST Gallery reported successful sales of the entire series Being Together by Singaporean artist John Clang. Richard Koh Fine Art performed well with their Malaysian artists such as Anne Samat, Haffendi Anuar and Yeoh Choo Kuan who had a sell-out of his works at the Fair. Several emerging galleries at the Fair also made successful sales with their roster of upcoming artists.
The Southeast Asia Forum, which has become a pillar and institution of Art Stage Singapore, and Collectors’ Stage exhibition were also key successes of Art Stage Singapore 2017. The Southeast Asia Forum exhibition presented 24 works by 23 artists. Among the highlights of the exhibition was the performance piece Livin’ La Vida Imelda by Filipino artist Carlos Celdran which attracted large crowds at each performance. Untold Movements Act 1: Neitherland, Whitherland, Hitherland by Titin Wulia who will be representing Indonesia at the 2017 Venice Biennale resonated well with visitors of the Fair and Malaysia’s Ivan Lam’s Coma 38/500 gave many visitors the opportunity to purchase an artwork. The Forum’s lecture series was also well-attended. The talk titled Art + Money – A Dangerous Liaison? with speakers Alain Servais and Prof. Franz Schultheis of University of St Gallens and moderated by Lorenzo Rudolf, Founder and President of Art Stage Singapore drew a full house.
The Collectors’ Stage exhibition presented works from the collections of six Singapore-based collectors – Hady Ang, Jim Amberson, Kenneth Tan, Michael Tay and Talenia Phua Gajardo, Michelangelo and Lourdes Samson and a collector who wished to remain anonymous. The exhibition, presented in partnership with The Artling, hoped to foster an understanding about art collections and reveal the thought processes and motivations behind them. The exhibition was curated by one of Indonesia’s top curators, Enin Supriyanto.
“Art Stage Singapore 2017 was very successful. It was smaller compared to that of previous years, but that did not affect the quality of the art that was on show. Many of the gallerists that we spoke to said it was a great fair in terms of sales. So while the number of visitors seems to have been less than in previous years, the fair attracted the right types of collectors and art enthusiasts who saw the quality of the works offered. Collectors’ Stage was definitely a highlight of this year’s fair for me. I am grateful for the chance to share some of our pieces with a wider audience and it gave us the opportunity to see our Southeast Asian pieces in conversation with contemporary art from other regions, including Southeast Asia, Africa, Europe, and America. Collecting is a continuous journey and learning from other collectors and artists makes it so much more enjoyable,” said Ms Lourdes Samson, Art Collector.
“Ultimately, it is all about the art. Collectors are the audience that support the creation of art through their patronage and enthusiasm. Art Stage Singapore is an excellent opportunity for established and potential collectors to get enchanted and informed,” said Mr Jim Amberson, Art Collector.
Art Stage Singapore 2017 was on from 12 to 15 January 2017 at Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre.
Singapore’s leading bilingual theatre company Toy Factory Productions is proud to present its first production for 2017, PRISM. A thought-provoking play that explores the limits of one’sOn January 17, 2017 / By Nookmag
Singapore’s leading bilingual theatre company Toy Factory Productions is proud to present its first production for 2017, PRISM. A thought-provoking play that explores the limits of one’s threshold for pain and loss, PRISM spotlights the struggle between progression and development, and eroding a nation’s heritage and culture, through a storyline that will resonate with audience given the parallel in the current state of affairs locally.
An original script penned and directed by Toy Factory’s Chief Artistic Director Goh Boon Teck in 2003, PRISM was first staged as a grand multi-cultural theatrical performance that featured performing artistes and designers from six countries; including Japan, Indonesia and Malaysia. Today, the premise of the script remains relevant, especially in Singapore where development is slowly but surely usurping more local treasures.
In line with Toy Factory Productions’ unwavering commitment to provide the opportunity and platform for budding local talents, the upcoming PRISM is helmed by rising director Rei Poh; a consummate actor last seen in Toy Factory’s Titoudao, and features an all-Singaporean cast comprising several fresh faces led by Fir Rahman, who recently headlined the high-profile local feature film, ‘The Apprentice’ (Cannes Film Festival 2016).
Director Rei Poh shares his approach to his adaptation, “The story told is simple; one of progression versus loss, through a narrative that is familiar to most of us. I would like the audience to ‘feel’, more than ‘watch’ the show, since pain and loss are more deeply felt and conveyed through experience, than explained.”
Aman, an urban city development official, starts to question his work of demolishing old historical buildings to make way for new cityscapes. Faced with the task of informing the residents of the impending demolition of the city’s oldest heritage ‘The Surrounding City’, Aman experiences the wrath of the city, despair of her dwellers and confronts his personal ambivalence about the price of material gains.
HIGHLIGHTS OF PRISM
Lauded for his performance in Boo Junfeng’s ‘The Apprentice’, Fir Rahman takes the lead as ‘Aman’ in his first collaboration with Toy Factory Productions. He brings with him his experience from his notable film and television stints locally and across the causeway.
To heighten the sense of ‘pain’ and ‘loss’, the team carefully considered each and every element within the production to further evoke these feelings; from the textures and colours of the set, to the sound and even make-up.
Besides veteran local thespians Alvin Chiam, Farah Ong and Trey Ho, budding new actors Farez Najid, Lina Yu and Ching Shu Yi are anticipated to inject sparks to the dynamic cast. Lianhe Zaobao’s pick for rising star to watch, Choreographer Goh Shou Yi lends his expertise in this first collaboration with Toy Factory Productions, while local architect and design studio owner Leong Hon Kit undertakes his first Set Designer role.
Date: 23 February to 5 March 2017
Time: 3pm (all days except 23 February), 8pm (all days)
Venue: 100 Victoria Street, National Library Building, Drama Centre Theatre, Level 3
Ticket Prices: $75 (Cat 1), $65 (Cat 2), $55 (Cat 3), $42 (Cat 4)
Duration: 2 hours (no intermission)
Ticket Agent: SISTIC, visit www.sistic.com.sg or call (65) 6348 5555
(not inclusive of $4 SISTIC booking fee)
In conjunction with Singapore Art Week 2017, The Private Museum is proud to present 21st Century Calligraphy: Selections from the Nanshun Shanfang Collection. The exhibition features 19 ChineseOn December 29, 2016 / By Nookmag
In conjunction with Singapore Art Week 2017, The Private Museum is proud to present 21st Century Calligraphy: Selections from the Nanshun Shanfang Collection. The exhibition features 19 Chinese calligraphy works from 5 established Chinese calligraphers: Wang Dongling, Sun Xiaoyun, Wang Tiande, Wei Ligang, and Guan Jun.
Where Wang Dongling’s artworks illuminate the essence of gestural abstraction through his bold experimentations of embodied action and performance in Chinese calligraphy, Wang Tiande’s artistic practice explores the ambivalent relation between contemporaneity and the traditional. In contrast, Wei Ligang’s background in mathematics contributes to his unique approach of the deconstruction and re-construction of Chinese characters in his artworks, and Sun Xiaoyun’s emphasis on her brushstrokes and aesthetics, along with Guan Jun’s neoclassical style, portray distinctive interpretations of historical transcripts by renowned Chinese poets such as Du Fu and Su Dong Po.
In this exhibition, viewers will gain the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the wide array of calligraphy styles — reflective of their various artistic development and practices in breaking the conventional approach of Chinese calligraphy — displayed throughout this collection.
Please RSVP by 6 January 2017 via email, or call The Private Museum at +65 6738 2872.
Opening Reception @ The Private Museum
Tuesday, 10 January 2017 | 6.30 pm
The Private Museum
51 Waterloo Street #02-06
Saturday, 14 January 2017, 11 am @ The Private Museum
Wang Dongling will discuss his experiences and journey on how he has developed a personal characteristic in his body of calligraphy pieces overseas and in China. This is an opportunity to meet the artist in person and understand more about his calligraphy practice.
The Private Museum is a registered charity and a registered Institution of a Public Character (IPC) founded by Singaporean philanthropist and real estate developer, Daniel Teo. Situated in the heart of the museum precinct in an arts and cultural centre, 51 Waterloo Street, the museum focus on providing a space for art collectors to showcase their collection in a curated display as well as an alternative platform for artists to push boundaries in the expressions of various art forms, the museum’s public outreach program also aims to bring the collectors and artists closer to the general public and to help foster interest and the support for art.
The seventh edition of Art Stage Singapore, Southeast Asia’s flagship art fair, opens from 12 to 15 January 2017 (Vernissage on 11 January) with the second Southeast AsiaOn December 27, 2016 / By Nookmag
The seventh edition of Art Stage Singapore, Southeast Asia’s flagship art fair, opens from 12 to 15 January 2017 (Vernissage on 11 January) with the second Southeast Asia Forum and regional and international galleries presenting artists from across Asia and the world.
Art Stage Singapore continues to lead with innovative fair content, engaging with and addressing contemporary issues pertinent to world affairs today. Beyond a market platform, Art Stage Singapore plays a key role in the ecosystem of contemporary art in Singapore and Southeast Asia, not only in developing and bridging individual regional art markets, but also in creating a forum for the exchange of ideas that are critical to understanding the economic and sociopolitical issues of the day.
“Art Stage Singapore takes our role as a key player in the contemporary art scenes of the region very seriously. While acknowledging today’s challenging economic and sociopolitical situations, we continue to be committed to strengthening the art ecosystem of Southeast Asia by presenting relevant and innovative content that would encourage a more involved art scene. This is why our second Southeast Asia Forum, through its exhibition and series of lectures, will be even more important to the way we position ourselves as an engaged art fair that looks beyond the markets,” says Lorenzo Rudolf, Founder and President, Art Stage Singapore.
Against this backdrop, the seventh edition of the Fair will strengthen its focus on Southeast Asia. It will emphasise the importance of developing a cohesive Southeast Asian art market by bringing together individual markets of the region into a single bloc for the region to be more competitive vis-à-vis the other more developed global art markets in the West and China.
Southeast Asia Forum
Art Stage Singapore 2017 will present the second Southeast Asia Forum, which aims to emphasise the balance between art, commerce and content. The Forum is a thematic programme, comprising an exhibition and a series of lectures that offer more focused and deeper views into global issues that have direct impact on Southeast Asia. The second Southeast Asia Forum will focus on the theme of capitalism and is titled Net Present Value: Art, Capital, Futures, which seeks to explore the values of art, imagination and progress, and, the price of doing business as usual in the global capitalist system.
The Forum’s exhibition surveys impacts of economic development on cultures, beliefs, social relations and daily life in Southeast Asia as countries race to establish their place in the league of global economies. Through the works of socially engaged artists, many from the region, the exhibition emphasises the importance of cultivating alternative forms of capital and conditions for the evolution of societies in an increasingly complex global environment.
Exhibition highlights include works by the following artists:
Singapore’s Kent Chan presents his project If Not, Accelerate a project that examines the issues of migrant labour in Singapore through the matrix of the polis, the Greek word for ‘city’. The etymological root of the words ‘police’, ‘policy’ and ‘polity’, the polis as the de facto site of politics and its many entanglements, provides the conceptual linkages to excavate the historic and contemporary links between Singapore and its large migrant labour population. Through an assemblage of videos, text and sculpture that problematise the representation of migrant labour, this project unravels a city, its socio-economic politics, anxiety and trajectory.
Ivan Lam’s Vending Art is a project that seeks to trigger questions and reflections on the commodification and consumption of art, the definition of ‘art’ and ‘artist’, the value of an artwork and of an artist, the changing dynamic and relationships between artists, galleries, art fairs and buyers. For Vending Art in the second Southeast Asia Forum, artists in and from the Southeast Asian region are invited to each submit one original artwork, in the size of a business card. For each artwork received, Lam will produce a Perspex case carrying the artist’s name, which will then be placed in a fully operational vending machine to be located on the fairground.
An interdisciplinary collaboration led by French architect François Roche
Liminal, a collaborative work by New-Territories/M4/RMIT, is a re-imagined telling based on the Greek myth of Pythia, the Oracle of Delphi who was believed to possess divine powers of foretelling the future. Pythia’s two thousand-year reign (1600 BCE – 393 CE) is thought to have ushered in a powerful form of enterprise through divining. In referencing the ancient system in which the Oracle was harnessed to gain influence and capital, Liminal alludes to advertising and selling false dreams, to the timeless and universal human condition of greed and a tendency to excess and destruction. Liminal points to the notion of excess: of technology, of knowledge, of consumptive orgy.
Jose Tence Ruiz
Filipino artist, Jose Tence Ruiz’s series CSI: Chimoy Si Imbisibol presents masked figures seemingly portrayed as forensic experts fill up the monochrome print on canvas works. Chimoy is a colloquial term for ‘household helper’, or someone who usually carries out the mundane tasks in one’s home. The series depicts images of the Filipino domestic helper in the midst of doing everyday chores in various areas of the household, such as doing the laundry, washing the car, sweeping the floor, and cleaning the toilet. The white clinical attire of the figures draws a divide between the figures themselves and their surroundings, creating a sense of alienation while at the same time obscuring its presence. It further emphasises the role of Filipino domestic helpers in contributing to the widespread capitalism around the world, as the invisible force behind the world’s labour economy.
With “I, Svay Sareth, eat rubber sandals” Cambodian artist Svay Sareth questions the weapon of political psychology, borrowing the very strategies he critiques in a tone between comedy and suffering and a timeline traversing the past and present. The single channel video documents the artist’s performance “I, Svay Sareth, eat rubber sandals”. Both in reference and contrast to Jorgen Leth’s scene of Andy Warhol’s cool indifference eating a hamburger in 66 Scenes from America, Svay intensely gnaws apart his meal – a resistance to the numbing effect of Cambodia’s fast-growing consumer society and a refusal to consume political ideologies that continue to maintain low education and high poverty levels.
The Forum’s series of lectures and panel discussions will bring together economists, business leaders, policy makers and the art community to examine, through different perspectives, challenges relating to social inequality arising from the global capitalist system. In creating encounters between thinkers, actors and influencers, the Forum seeks to bring about more inter-disciplinary understanding and collaboration in re-imagining conditions and ideals for social inclusion in the 21st-century global society.
Art Stage Singapore will present a diverse range of carefully selected galleries from across Asia and the world featuring 126 exhibitors from 27 countries. Three quarters of the exhibitors are returning galleries. A quarter of all participating galleries are new to the Fair. 80 percent of the participating galleries hail from Asia Pacific and one third of the total number of galleries are Southeast Asian. This clearly defines Art Stage Singapore 2017 as an Asian art fair.
The Collectors’ Stage
Art Stage Singapore 2017 presents for the first time in Singapore the Collectors’ Stage, a project collaboration between Art Stage Singapore and The Artling. The show will feature artworks from the collections of six leading Singapore based collectors. This follows in the footsteps of the very successful Collectors’ Show exhibiting works from the collections of six leading Indonesian collectors at the inaugural Art Stage Jakarta in August 2016. The six Singapore based collectors will open up their collections for a selection of artworks to be featured in an exhibition at the Fair.
Joseph Balestier Award for the Freedom of Art
Together with the U.S Embassy Singapore, Art Stage Singapore will once again present the Joseph Balestier Award for the Freedom of Art in conjunction with the Fair. The Award recognises an artist or curator from Southeast Asia who is actively committed to the ideals of liberty and freedom of expression, and through his or her work, continually seeks to express these ideals. The winner will be awarded a cash prize of USD15,000.
To date, the three finalists of the Joseph Balestier Award for the Freedom of Art 2017 are as follows:
Arahmaiani is regarded as one of Indonesia’s most respected and iconic contemporary artists, known for her commanding and challenging commentaries on social and cultural issues. Her artistic practice incorporates an extensive range of media including video, installation, painting, drawing and sculpture. Since the 1980s and 1990s, Arahmaiani has established herself as a pioneer in performance art in Southeast Asia. Her artistic practice is a survey of thoughts and actions that investigate social, political and cultural issues.
Aye Ko (Myanmar)
Aye Ko’s performance art has established his position as one of Myanmar’s most high-profile artists. For the past two decades, his practice has interrogated the meaning of politics and nature. In 2008 Aye Ko and his colleagues established ‘New Zero Art Space’ to share their ideas and activities with the wider public. This space continues to actively stir the dynamics of contemporary art in Myanmar.
Chaw Ei Thein (Myanmar)
Chaw Ei Thein continues to challenge and give insight into the language of womanhood specific to her culture and Southeast Asia. She gained international attention in the mid-1990s with her performance works, particularly in 2008 for her collaborative sugar piece September Sweetness. Today, Thein continues to find strategies and opportunities for Burmese artists to share their work, seeking to encourage active and participatory dialogue and exchange with her artistic community in Yangon.
“I congratulate Arahmaiani, Aye Koh and Chaw Ei Thein as the finalists of the Joseph Balestier Award for the Freedom of Art 2017, an award that underscores the moral and sociopolitical roles of contemporary art. That two of the three finalists are women artists sends a strong message about the position of women in our societies. As artists they have worked tirelessly to bring the world’s attention to pressing socio-political issues in their home countries. As women artists, their participation in this Award serves to advance the cause for women and gender equality not only in the region, but also the rest of the world.” — Lorenzo Rudolf, Founder and President, Art Stage Singapore.
“We’re proud that in its third year, the Joseph Balestier Award for the Freedom of Art continues to recognize artists who push creative and expressive boundaries,” said U.S. Ambassador to Singapore Kirk Wagar. “The three finalists – Arahmaiani, Aye Ko and Chaw Ei Thein – are opening up new dialogues on important issues in their communities, and around the world, through their art. I look forward to congratulating all the finalists and announcing the winner on January 10.”
The 2017 award jury that selected the finalists included: Professor Ute Meta Bauer, Director, Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA), Singapore; Ms Zoe Butt, Artistic Director, The Factory Contemporary Art Centre, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and Mr Enin Supriyanto, Independent Art Curator and writer, Indonesia. U.S. Ambassador to Singapore Kirk Wagar and Lorenzo Rudolf, Founder and President, Art Stage Singapore, will announce the winner at an award ceremony on January 10, 2017.
Art Stage Singapore 2017 is the anchor event of the Singapore Art Week and takes place from 12 to 15 January 2017 at Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre. For more information, visit Art Stage Singapore.
If you’re a 90’s kid, chances are you’d probably have heard Divian Nair’s voice on the radio. Just early this year, he made waves on social media withOn December 26, 2016 / By Nookmag
If you’re a 90’s kid, chances are you’d probably have heard Divian Nair’s voice on the radio. Just early this year, he made waves on social media with his impactful video titled “I Will Not Die For Singapore” which triggered a conversation among Singaporeans; and last month, he played host to The Best of You’s Finale Exhibition, a social movement that seeks to reinforce the spirit of appreciation within our communities by offering a platform for people to reflect upon their experiences, challenge stereotypes and break down barriers between communities.
We caught up with the bubbly media personality to chat about his involvement with The Best of You, his current initiative We Are Majulah, and the future for him.
Tell us more about your recent involvement with The Best of You social movement.
The Best of You social movement by Julie’s has always been an amazing platform for people to both share their stories and learn through the hardships and successes of others. My involvement was no different, save for the fact that I had the privilege of hosting its on-site exhibition. Being very much in line with the work I do with my company, Storyteller Productions and We Are Majulah, I felt a strong sense of purpose as I interacted with the team that put the movement together, the movement’s founder as well as the amazing people featured this year. I also learned valuable lessons about the importance of principles and commitment from my personal exchanges with some of the people involved.
You shared a touching story on your brother with The Best of You. What’s your fondest memory growing up with your brother?
I think it would be impossible to pinpoint one memory that would stand out as the fondest but the moments I treasured the most were our family trips to the zoo, Orchard Road during festive periods and definitely the airport – just to watch planes take off after dinner!
Growing up in an interracial family, how has this influenced you in your personal life and your work?
Growing up in an interracial family left me racially blind to a certain degree. I didn’t see my father as an Indian man, or my mother as a Chinese woman. They were just my parents. I also never identified myself as much by race as I did with my environment and culture. This proved to be very useful for the relationships I formed as I grew up because I didn’t identify people I met by race and took them for the people that they were. I have an inner circle of friends who represent all the major races of Singapore and it never occurred to me it was anything valuable.
What was difficult however, was seeing the stark contrast presented by people who were conditioned to identify themselves and others by race first. In a country where the balance of races are not equivocal, the mentality represented by some proportion of the majority race does not reflect a perspective of equality. This is inevitable and can cause some amount of stress through misunderstandings which still frequently occur. I myself have been subject to racist behavior on a personal and professional basis many times.
What are the challenges you’ve faced with your interracial background? How has this played a role in you founding We Are Majulah?
The primary challenge of growing up in an interracial family is feeling like you never really belong anywhere. To many Chinese people I’ve met, I have always been more Indian and vice versa to Indian people. In a country where the proportion of races are not as equal as my genetic make up, I’ve also realized, that even though I am exactly half and half, I’ve only ever been labelled as the “Indian Guy”. This naturally put me on a quest to find something bigger than race that I could belong to and identify myself with. Singapore, as a country, as a culture, became that for me. And so, We Are Majulah was born. “Majulah” (To move onward, to survive together) became a fundamental concept I felt could be shared as a non-contradictory belief on a micro and macro scale.
Your video titled “I Will Not Die for Singapore” garnered half a million views on Facebook alone. Are we expecting more “surprises” in the near future from the team?
I don’t know if the first video was ever intended to be a surprise! But we are definitely striving forward with what little resource we have to continue our efforts. We are currently developing an initiative to help combat the rising number of suicide linked cases from young adults between the ages of 10 and 19. We are also looking at putting out another video sometime next year. Apart from that, it’s really the daily grind of brick laying that we are focusing on.
In your opinion, does Singapore have our own identity?
In my opinion and experience through visiting over 20 countries while running We Are Majulah for almost a year, I’d have to say it’s there and it’s growing. Identity is hard enough to find as an individual. It usually grows the most during a period of struggle. It is also something that is extremely complex and delicate, plus it doesn’t always grow the right way. I know that the work my team and I are doing is a small fraction of contribution, necessary for a concrete identity to solidify but we feel that it’s better to do something constructive than sit around and complain all the time.
You’ve received your fair share of criticism on We Are Majulah being a propaganda tool; what is your response to detractors? With We Are Majulah, can you prove a point to your critics?
To the critics I say, lets discuss. Discussion is key for constructive growth as a people. What happens when one sides slams the other with no avenue for recourse because they think they are “right”? You get Brexit and Trump. The point is not to win an argument. The point is to not show that your side is smarter and everyone else is stupid because they don’t share your view. The point is understand each other so we can grow with compassion.
When we launched the video, the objective was to incite discussion. Everything from the title of the video, it’s level of ambiguity, the tone, the colors – it was designed to make people “feel” and thereby find it in themselves to say something about. We just sat back and watched it all happen. We saw how the media took different sides on how to portray the story. Critics and supporters alike weighed in. We also saw the phenomenon of the “silent majority” unfold. As we sieved through every comment and share, we found something interesting. While the impression formed through the headlines of some media articles and comments on the Facebook and YouTube video gave the impression that it was largely criticized, we found that most of the positive comments were written as personal posts through the video share.
We are Majulah still stands as apolitical and nonpartisan, like we said from the start. While we have collaborated with government-linked agencies for messaging that is in line with what we are trying to push out, we are not backed financially by any government or private party. To date, we have produced almost 50 episodes for the Good Word Project (a video series collecting advice from everyday Singaporeans), garnered almost 13,000 followers on our Facebook page, participated in events, had an event of our own and built a small community of writers – all in less than a year.
What are your thoughts on race and racial harmony in Singapore?
I think race and racial harmony is a work in progress. I heard Senior Minister of state Dr Janil Puthucheary once say that it is, and always will be a work in progress. I cannot agree more. If we consider that in our grandparents’ generation, not stabbing each other was not being racist, then in our parent’s generation, working together was not being racist – we can see how much we have progressed in a short amount of time. It is arrogant of us to think racial harmony is something we have already achieved and don’t have to pay too much attention to. We must continue to work at it.
What are your hopes and aspirations for 2017?
All I am hoping for in 2017 is that the escalating conflict overseas doesn’t reach our shores. And if it does, I hope that we will standby by each other and move on together, no matter what.
The Best of You is a social initiative by Julie’s Biscuits running in both Singapore and Malaysia that aims to create a positive change to the community we are living in. Since its inception in 2014, the movement has collected and shared thousands of inspiring stories from the public, artists as well as social organizations. Visit The Best of You’s official website to be part of this meaningful cause.
We are Majulah is a social enterprise that aims to provide community based solutions to improve civic consciousness for a better tomorrow. They are focused on the fundamental concept of “Majulah” (to move onward, to survive) as a belief that can be owned and shared by the individual and the community alike, to build a society that is inclusive, tolerant and compassionate.
“The heart has reasons that reason cannot know.” — Blaise Pascal What if the next MRT breakdown was not just another simple breakdown? What if your pet wasOn December 24, 2016 / By Renata
“The heart has reasons that reason cannot know.”
— Blaise Pascal
What if the next MRT breakdown was not just another simple breakdown?
What if your pet was saving your soul every time it hisses and barks?
What if the next person walking off a ledge only wanted to fly?
Track Faults and Other Glitches by Nicholas Yong is a journey into a different dimension in our subconsciousness. It offers an alternate reality; a perspective focused on everything outside of ourselves, and results in a not-so-fairy-tale package that’s difficult to let go of until we reach the end.
The journey begins as we discover a zombie’s greatest fear, accompany a man as he gets over his inhibitions for flying, and discover the greatest love a parent can have for their child. One by one, each of the ten stories in this collective evokes a plethora of emotions, leaving us wanting just one story more. Be prepared to laugh, tear, hide under the sheets, and cuddle your pet close while reading this quirky book, and remember to spare a kind smile to the next ordinary-looking stranger you meet; you never know who it’ll be on the inside. *wink*
A senior correspondent with Yahoo Singapore by day, Nicholas finds inspiration from daily events throughout his decade worth of experiences, as well as from spell-binding storytellers such as Neil Gaiman, Philip K. Dick and John Le Carre. By night however, he transforms into a lyrical caped crusader who founded the Geek Crusade and strikes amusement and fancy in the hearts of his readers. Aside from Track Faults and Other Glitches, Nicholas is also the author of Land of the Meat Munchers (2013) – a zombie tale set in Singapore, and was one of the authors featured in the recent Singapore Writer’s Festival in November 2016.
Track Faults and Other Glitches is now available for sale in major bookstores including Books Kinokuniya, Times Bookstores, and Popular Bookstore at a retail price of SGD19.90 (after GST).
Since its inception in 2002, E-TracX DJ Skool has been on a mission that extends beyond just imparting skills and knowledge to aspiring DJs. With its well-established DJOn December 21, 2016 / By Arman Shah
Since its inception in 2002, E-TracX DJ Skool has been on a mission that extends beyond just imparting skills and knowledge to aspiring DJs. With its well-established DJ academy, the establishment is adamant on building a community of like-minded individuals who are supportive of one another. Here, we highlight how it champions, nurtures and unites not only its rising talents, but also its professional acts.
At its core, E-TracX is a training ground for beginners and seasoned practitioners alike. Depending on where you are in your journey towards achieving greatness, you can opt for either the introductory DJ courses or advanced creative courses. There are also one-off workshops that cover the essential aspects of deejaying, turntablism and music production.
A student is only as good as the instructor’s teaching methodologies, and E-TracX boasts some of the best instructors in the Lion City. They include DJ Koflow and Edwin, whose students have gone to perform at venues like Blu Jaz and St James Power Station. Another name also worthy of mention is Perk Pietrek, the six-time DJ Battle Champion who recently dropped his new album under Far East Movement’s record label.
E-TracX does not believe in complacency; it’s always looking for means to sharpen the skills of the trainees under its wings. Instead of just teaching them how to DJ like everyone else, part of the curriculum sees the instructors pushing the students to level up. They are encouraged to collaborate with other musicians and dig deep within themselves to think of new concepts.
At the end of the day, E-TracX aspires to create an ecosystem where ardent fans of the DJ culture can coexist in a positive and mutually-benefitting manner. To achieve this dream of building a family of champions, the school has created many platforms for DJs to shine, including DJ residencies at clients’ venues and ad-hoc gigs at clubs and bars.
They have also launched “Newbie” Jams, which welcomes anyone who needs help with turntablism and controllerism techniques. These sessions provide the perfect opportunity to hang out and network with other passionate talents of varying skill levels in the game.
In an age where digital entertainment and media sources dominate people’s time, Singapore Repertory Theatre (SRT) relieves audiences from the screen to remind them of the unique magicOn December 15, 2016 / By Nookmag
In an age where digital entertainment and media sources dominate people’s time, Singapore Repertory Theatre (SRT) relieves audiences from the screen to remind them of the unique magic of theatre, through LIVE experiential trailers enacted by the production cast.
SRT is known as one of the most diverse and progressive theatre companies in Asia, with its goal to enrich, educate and entertain audiences by staging productions of the highest caliber, while ensuring every young Singaporean is exposed to arts and literature in order to foster a love of culture.
To promote the recent Charlotte’s Web production, SRT partnered with TBWA\Singapore to create an immersive and interactive trailer experience that no billion-dollar 3D movie can replicate.
Disrupting the routine pre-roll cinema ads, the team hijacked the screening room to execute a live-action re-enactment from Charlotte’s Web to give young audiences their first taste of theatre.
SRT is the only theatre company in Singapore with its very own venue, where it stages international productions, a season of exciting original plays and musicals, and a season dedicated to the younger audience. SRT believes strong programming for young audiences is what will develop the arts scene long-term, and reaches close to 70,000 children a year with young talent programmes and play-productions with collaborations from the best international talent on and off stage.
“The youth are exposed to more forms of entertainment than ever before,” said Gary Steele, executive creative director at TBWA\Singapore. “Theatre contends in a plethora of more accessible and cheaper entertainment options like gaming or Netflix. But amid the rising screen culture, we were able to remind people of the irreplaceable magic of live-theatre. Dynamic performances, unpredictability and playhouse atmosphere that cannot be replicated onscreen.”
Singapore has seen the rise of a vibrant art scene, with flagship events such as Art Stage, and the recent opening of the National Gallery. However, many still perceive performing arts as highbrow, unfamiliar and difficult to appreciate.
As a non-profit organisation, SRT aims to groom a new generation’s appreciation of literature and performing arts, whilst creating direct employment for up to 300 people a year. It is a key partner of the National Arts Council, helping progress the industry through local talent development (key to creating the best original productions for future revenue streams) and increasing audience growth by partnering with creative agencies such as TBWA.
“With this project, we reached out to a wider audience who might never have considered theatre as an option,” said Charlotte Nors, executive director at SRT. “We compete in a rich world of entertainment, with a growing number of 3D movies as Hollywood strives for more immersive cinema. But nothing gets you closer to the action than theatre – real actors, real props, real fantasized experiences shared with the audience as a whole. We even experimented with the first scented musical in 2013, Red Riding Hood, to stimulate more senses than ever before. We truly believe theatre has the ability to bring people to together, more so than any cinematic experience.”
One figure. Nine point five inches. Thirty-seven individual parts. In its latest endeavor, Mighty Jaxx teams up with New York artist, Jason Freeny, and Hong Kong-based toy manufacturer,On December 10, 2016 / By Nookmag
One figure. Nine point five inches. Thirty-seven individual parts.
In its latest endeavor, Mighty Jaxx teams up with New York artist, Jason Freeny, and Hong Kong-based toy manufacturer, Fame Master, to launch the first-in-the-world 4D XXRAY Batman officially licensed by DC Comics™. An anatomical stylized figure more than twice the size of its 4-inch counterparts, this 4D XXRAY Batman offers collectors the ability to assemble and dissemble the bones and organs of their favourite character quickly and easily.
Mighty Jaxx Founder and Managing Director, Jackson Aw, says, “Since the launch of our XXRAY series late last year, we have received much love from fans all over the world, urging us to create bigger versions of our 4-inch collectibles. This really got us thinking on how we can improve the line even more. The idea of 4D XXRAY brought us back to our roots as I reminisced those childhood days I spent playing with my favourite action heroes, twisting their arms and legs to strike various poses. That is why we wanted to shake things up a bit and include the playability element in the 4D. We believe that characters like Batman can also help bridge the gap between conventional educational toys and superhero fandom. At the end of the day, what matters most to us is putting out great toys and bringing the joy of them to our customers.”
The 4D XXRAY was also inspired by the Funny Anatomy series proudly designed by Freeny and manufactured by Fame Master which catapulted the partnership into the spotlight of the designer toy community. The ever-popular series includes a collection of pop culture-referenced sculptures in clear plastic models that reveal the insides of these fictional characters.
This was only made possible with the help of Fame Master who is best-known for their innovative, high-quality educational puzzles and figurines under its 4D Master ® line. Eastman Ting, Director of Research & Development at Fame Master, shares “We are very pleased to work with Jason and Mighty Jaxx on the 4D XXRAY series. For a long time now, many people have been asking us what the 4D element is all about. While we are all familiar with 3D figurines, our toys have an additional dimension to them in terms of their detailed structure and that perfect paint job for a realistic effect. We really hope that the 4D XXRAY Batman will be a precious collectible for all the fans out there.”
Retaining Freeny’s signature dissected look, the 4D XXRAY Batman uses a mix of hard plastics for its transparent shell casing and dissectible skeletal system while a softer plastic, better known as Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), is applied to its detachable organs. The figure stands tall at 9.5 inches and is individually hand painted to perfection.
Artist Jason Freeny, on the process of creating the 4D XXRAY Batman recollects, “This project is the result of a 10-year quest from mere concept to actual fruition. It’s the combined efforts of Mighty Jaxx – one of the top designer toy producers, Fame Master – the global expert in anatomical models, and myself – a dude with some clay and the curiosity to see what’s inside my favourite childhood toys.”
As the first-ever truly dissected licensed collectible, the 4D XXRAY Batman figure is now available for pre-order at USD89.99 per piece at Mighty Jaxx.
Like so many art forms that have grown and spread throughout the global audiences, comic books have been one of the most successful medium that have brought usOn December 7, 2016 / By Audrey Chiang
Like so many art forms that have grown and spread throughout the global audiences, comic books have been one of the most successful medium that have brought us a variety of influences. Including Marvel, DC comics or even Manga, this unique medium has inspired hit blockbuster movies and led to other artists creating their own style of expression. International scene aside, what do most people know about the comic scene in Singapore?
Take a look at The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye, a comic novel that explores the changing political and economic environment during Singapore’s coming-of-age years in the mid-20th century, was a well-executed story that could be explored and read. It’s author, artist-illustrator Sonny Liew, has the unique ability to say something of value about the issues he feels strongly about, and conveys it through the evocative nature of his art.
Although this book revolves around the political history of Singapore, this masterpiece of work is a virtuosic display of different comics styles, ranging from American sci-fi comics to Japanese manga. In our interview with Sonny, he shared with us his inspirations and intentions with his book, as well as his advice for any inspiring artist.
What inspired you to create this book? Did you struggle in any years or did it come easy to you?
I’d always been vaguely aware that there were contesting accounts that challenged the dominant historical narrative here in Singapore, so I wanted to try to get to grips with things, and to see if I could craft a story around whatever understanding emerged, in a form that would be interesting.
I’d been reading book on comics, and realised that any account of comics also needed some background information on the places and times they were created in, so the came to me that it would be interesting to flip the idea on its head and have a narrative about Singapore’s history that was on its surface an account of its comics history, especially if that comics history was made-up.
I’d say the narrative itself – trying to find ways of putting the book together that was both formally interesting but also remained compelling – that was probably the biggest challenge during the process, aside from any practical considerations about paying the bills.
Would you say the book is a true representative of Singapore’s history or was it merely a personal perspective?
I’d like to think it’s a more inclusive account of our history – one that reflects the richness of Singapore’s past. Though there wasn’t much primary research, the book was fact checked based on existing accounts. At the end of the day, the main hope is that the book can encourage a critical approach to any representation – to raise awareness that we shouldn’t take historical narratives at face value.
Are there any artists / writers you turn to for inspiration?
Too many to list… At some level though, I think I’d like to do what David Simon (creator of the TV series The Wire) has been able to do – which is to combine a mastery of storytelling with a certain urgency and engagement with real world issues. In terms of comics, a shortlist would include: Bill Watterson, Chris Ware, Jiro Taniguchi, Yoshiharu Tsgue, Daniel Clowes, Seth… Though there really are too many to list.
What do you hope to gain / achieve from this project?
I’ve always hoped to be able to work on more personal projects, but finding the time and space for longer narratives has been a challenge over the years. This book was in many ways a moon-shot for me – for most part living off savings whilst working on 2 year long project, in order to create the kind of book I was interested in . For all sorts of reasons, it’s worked out quite well, and I think the success of the book, along with my work on projects like The Shadow Hero and Doctor Fate, has brought new opportunities for me to try to work on similar things in the future.
If a young beginner came up to you asking for advice on how to get started in writing, what advice would you give them?
I’d say its a craft with unlimited possibilities, and that you have to be willing to put your work out there, despite all the insecurities and fears that we all face – it is only through the process of creating stories and getting reactions and feedback that we start to get better at the craft.
Find out more about Sonny Liew and his work at his blog here!
Imagine walking into the National Museum of Singapore and being confronted by outdoor environments such as a mound of lush grass, or a beach inviting you for aOn December 6, 2016 / By Nookmag
Imagine walking into the National Museum of Singapore and being confronted by outdoor environments such as a mound of lush grass, or a beach inviting you for a tan. How about unexpectedly having artwork appear in front and around you, or actually being part of the final puzzle piece to an installation? These are among the experiences visitors will encounter at the National Museum’s latest exhibition, What Is Visible Is Not Invisible. Featuring selected artworks from the French Regional Collections of Contemporary Art (FRAC), this contemporary art exhibition is also a parallel project of the Singapore Biennale 2016.
Overall, What Is Not Visible Is Not Invisible presents over 30 artworks by French and international artists from FRAC, one of the most important public collection of contemporary art founded in 1982 and anchored by 23 institutions across all the regions in France. The show is curated in collaboration with Platform1, the network of FRACs, and marks the first time that this selection of the collection is being presented in Asia Pacific.
“History inspires art, and art develops our understanding of history and ourselves. This collaboration between our museum and Platform presents significant artworks of our time from the FRAC’s collection to audiences in Singapore, and encourages our visitors to engage with contemporary art which is relevant and often inspired by history.” — Angelita Teo, Director of the National Museum of Singapore.
An Experience for the Mind and Senses
What is Not Visible is Not Invisible broadly surveys the imaginary and the temporary, and takes visitors on an experiential and progressive journey of the mind and senses through the artworks specially selected from FRAC’s collection of 26,000 works. Through the use of unconventional approaches in art-making, the exhibition of multi-media installations invites new ways of perception and brings each visitor into a new state of mind through personal interpretations of the presentations, its surrounding space, and context.
The title and design of What is Not Visible is Not Invisible takes inspiration from the artwork of the same title by French artist Julien Discrit, which walks the line between physical and philosophical. At first glance, three infrared lightbulbs are strung from the ceiling in front of an unassuming blank wall. When triggered by the viewer’s presence, the bulbs light up to reveal the ultraviolet text on the wall: “What is not visible is not invisible”. The work only appears when it is seen, highlighting that to express the invisible, one needs to paradoxically have to make it visible.
The visual paradox initiated in this modest yet profound works sets the premise for the themes and artworks that visitors will engage with at the exhibition. Artworks such as Grass Grows by Hans Haacke where a mound of grass greets visitors to the exhibition, and Repulse Bay by Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, where a beach is recreated indoors instantly captures the audiences’ attention through the displacement of what is expected to be outdoors, suddenly appearing indoors. The recreation of environments in unassuming spaces creates new perspectives and transports visitors into a new state of mind.
“As a former Ambassador of France to Singapore, I welcome the opening of this exhibition which enhances cultural dialogue between France and Singapore, one of the most dynamic countries in the world focused on research and creativity,” said Mr Bernard de Montferrand, President of Platform. “This exhibition presents a selection of works from the FRAC network located in all regions of France that is committed to making contemporary art accessible to the public, encouraging them to discover and understand it through the eyes of the young artists and designers.”
A Showcase of Pioneer Contemporary Artists
FRAC counts 5,400 French and international artists in its collection, and is credited to be the starting platform of many established artists and presents many household artists in its collection such as Gilbert & George, Andy Warhol, and Subodh Gupta, whose work will be presented at the National Museum of Singapore’s rotunda as part of Singapore Biennale 2016.
What Is Not Visible Is Not Invisible is an opportunity to be acquainted with prominent contemporary artists of our time – pioneers who pushed boundaries to set the scene for we know today. For example, visitors will be presented the much-celebrated Work No262 by British multimedia artist Martin Creed, an installation that engages with the mind and senses as it invites visitors into a space of balloons, to contemplate and respond to the idea of the physical space. Martin Creed is most known for his controversial Turner Prize-winning piece Work No227: The lights going on and off – in which an empty room with lights flickers on a timer – which made international headlines.
Contemporary art aficionados will also be thrilled to be in contact with Anthony McCall, through his renowned 2005 work You and I, Horizontal. The British-born, New York-based artist is synonymous with solid-light installations, and is considered by many to be a pioneer who created works before his time in the 1970s. His art is immediately recognisable, and lauded for how fundamental audience’s direct sensory experience is to his work.
Involving Audience and Environment
The artworks in What is Not Visible is Not Invisible are curated to encourage audience interaction, and to leave room for personal interpretation. Many of the artworks call for the audience and the environment to play a key role in the artwork and its presentation. For example, Speech Bubbles by Philippe Parreno is an installation where a space is filled with helium balloons in the shape of speech bubbles, bringing to life what a person’s thoughts would literally look like – animating visitors as though were part of a real-life comic strip once they step into installation.
The National Museum of Singapore’s own collection also plays a part in an artwork, with the lithograph of the original steel engraving of the Plan of the Town of Singapore, as the centrepiece in Définition/méthode 131. Entourant le tableau by Claude Rutault. This everchanging piece from the FRAC Auvergne collection, specifies a set of instructions for the presenting institutions to create the artwork, resulting in a different outcome each time. Responding to the ideals of Rutault’s approach in his piece, the Plan of the Town of Singapore too functions as a set of instructions and guidelines that determined the layout of the city.
What Is Not Visible Is Not Invisible
7 October 2016 – 19 February 2017
Open Daily | 10am to 7pm
(Thursdays – 1pm to 7pm)
Details on admission and guided tours are available at The National Museum, Singapore.
This December, light up your Christmas with the dazzling Universal Journey – an all-new Guinness World Record breaking experiential festive light display at Universal Studios Singapore (USS).On December 4, 2016 / By Elizabeth
This December, light up your Christmas with the dazzling Universal Journey – an all-new Guinness World Record breaking experiential festive light display at Universal Studios Singapore (USS).
The centerpiece attraction of the USS’ annual Santa’s All-Star Christmas celebrations, Universal Journey takes visitors to an enchanted wonderland, made all the more magical by being brilliantly illuminated with sparkling rainbow lights from floor to ceiling.
Universal Journey features an astronomical 824,961 light bulbs, setting a new Guinness World Records title for the largest light bulb display in an indoor venue. This is almost double the previous world record of 449,658 light bulbs, set in Romania in 2010.
The attraction, which took two months to construct, features eight thematic zones. Traverse a kaleidoscopic time warp tunnel to other worldly locations, gaze in wonder at towering trees of the Enchanted Pine Forest, and feel the Christmas cheer upon arriving at the Land of Great Gifts, adorned with Christmas presents of all shapes and sizes.
You can even meet and greet with famous stars such as Marilyn Monroe, Betty Boop and Charlie Chaplin, all decked out in their Christmas outfits, for photo opportunities while on your journey.
Also, look out for two new exciting experiences in this year’s Santa’s All-Star Christmas: A quaint Santa’s Village, home to talking reindeer, the Gingerbread Man and Santa on his sleigh, as well as musical production, Bah Humbug! A Christmas Spectacular, showcasing 17 all-star cast such as the Minions, Little Match Girl, Snow Queen and Sesame Street friends.
“This year, we have upped the ante for Santa’s All-Star Christmas with new experiences including the visually spectacular and dazzling Universal Journey and the magical Santa’s Village,” said Mr. Jason Horkin, Senior Vice President of Attractions at Resorts World Sentosa. “We look forward to bringing the best Christmas cheer to our guests during this special time of the year.”
This festive season, park hours are extended till 9pm every night. Also expect snowfall, fireworks, festive light displays, as well as new musical performances and appearances by the park’s very own all-star cast.
Santa’s All-Star Christmas will be held from 1 December 2016 to 2 January 2017. Tickets are available at SGD74 (Adult), SGD56 (Child) and SGD36 (Senior). If you’re planning an evening visit, enjoy an after 5pm family bundle, priced at SGD134, which includes admission for two adults and one child, as well as retail and dining vouchers.
Prepare to get under the skin of the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival as it returns for its 13th edition with the theme Art & Skin! Embrace, empower andOn December 2, 2016 / By Nookmag
Prepare to get under the skin of the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival as it returns for its 13th edition with the theme Art & Skin!
Embrace, empower and express yourself through a presentation of 12 events from 7 countries. The theme Art & Skin welcomes a creative exploration and dialogue into matters of identity, beauty, intimacy, sensitivity, pleasure, pain and shame. This year’s line-up shines a spotlight on local works and artists, with participation from several international artists. The Festival line-up features five commissioned local works, five world premieres and four Asian premieres, spanning across four categories: Fringe Highlights, Live Fringe, Fresh Fringe and Fringe Activities.
The Festival also sees a new initiative Fresh Fringe, which serves as a springboard for up-and-coming artists to further their creations. Featuring works-in-progress and dramatised readings, audiences will be exposed to emerging artists’ works in development for future re-stagings. Art & Skin marks the last of the Festival’s thematic concept of “Art & ________”, which it has used since its inception. It will transition from 2018’s edition to a different approach which highlights an iconic Singapore art work in each theme. Artistic Director Sean Tobin helms the Festival for the third year in 2017, and with the extension of his tenure, will oversee the Festival’s shift towards a new direction from 2018 to 2020.
Go beyond the surface and dive deep into the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival from 4 to 15 January 2017 with performances and activities taking place at Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay and Centre 42, as well as new partners including LASALLE College of the Arts, Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, [email protected] and Silver Ribbon Singapore.
Art & Skin
Our skin is a protective membrane, capable of healing itself in the face of physical trauma. Yet humans throughout history have tried to manipulate their skin and identity, either to assert their difference or to assimilate into the majority. In an age where issues pertaining to the right to belong to a country, to dress according to one’s preferred gender expression, or to assert one’s religious identity are debated more aggressively than ever, let’s look beyond appearances. Welcome to this sensitive exploration of the works in Fringe 2017: Art and Skin.
The 2017 Festival features three Fringe Highlights: Foreign Bodies by brand new multicultural Singapore burlesque troupe Skin in SIN, Labels by Worklight Theatre and Undressing Room by Ming Poon. Skin in SIN is Singapore’s first diverse, politically progressive burlesque troupe produced and mentored by Eugene Tan (Producer, Riot! hosted by Becca D’Bus) and Madge of Honor, diva of high performance burlesque. Their debut performance Foreign Bodies seeks to explore otherness, racism and xenophobia experienced in Singapore through the popular performance form of burlesque. Foreign Bodies questions whether nearly naked performers can possibly be both vulnerable and empowered at the same time. What if we got serious? What if we also got sexy?
“If you’re lucky enough to get a ticket, label yourself a winner.” This review aptly describes Labels by Worklight Theatre, next up in the Fringe Highlights category. Hailing from the UK, Labels is an internationally acclaimed smash-hit that charts a young man’s life in rural England, examining universal issues about culture, heritage and identity—all of which are undeniably relatable. Labels is a funny, moving and true story exploring mixed heritage and multiculturalism, exposing skin-deep prejudices, the shadow of colonial history and the human impact of labelling people.
Rounding off the Fringe Highlights is Undressing Room by Ming Poon, an intimate one-to-one performance between a participant and movement artist Ming Poon. Exclusive to just 18 performances over the Festival’s run, the piece invites one willing participant per performance to join Ming Poon in executing a ritual of undressing each other in total silence. The performance delves into themes of desire, shame, power and intimacy within a meditative space.
The exploration of Art & Skin continues with performances and artist talks in the Live Fringe category, including #CompulsiveCharcoal by Liz Atkin, Si Ti Kay by Akulah BIMBO SAKTI (I am the MAGIC BIMBO), Naked Ladies by Thea Fitz-James, Pretty Butch by Tan Liting, Skin Tight by Ah Hock and Peng Yu, FIGHT! PALAST #membersonly by PENG! Palast and Under My Skin by Alessandra Fel.
Liz Atkin’s life was dominated by Compulsive Skin Picking (CSP) for more than 20 years. She drew from her experience in visual and performance arts to heal from CSP, and now travels internationally to raise awareness of the condition and share her journey of recovery through art. As part of her advocacy, Liz will continue her #CompulsiveCharcoal one-minute sketches as she travels around Singapore and interacts with fellow passengers on public transport.
Making a comeback with Skin Tight is Ah Hock and Peng Yu, a Singapore-based contemporary dance company founded by the choreographic duo Aaron Khek and Ix Wong. Inspired by zentai, Skin Tight delves into a hyper-sensualised world where dancers articulate the transformation of donning the head-to-toe bodysuit and its resulting effects on the movement of the body. The performance looks at ideas of identity and the freedom—from internal and physical obstacles—a person gains through the erasure of visible physical identifiers.
Returning to the Festival is PENG! Palast with FIGHT! PALAST #membersonly. Dealing with the alleged freedom and self-determination of Generation Y in a critical way, this project was built from the actors’ histories, lives and experiences in badly paid side jobs, smelly and stuffy kickboxing basements and cosy support groups. Inspired by the novel Fight Club by author Chuck Palahniuk, PENG! Palast creates its own fighting arena to live out suppressed desires, only to get knocked out by its own utopias. Only those who are willing to risk defeat have the ability to win.
The Festival’s new initiative Fresh Fringe will introduce works-in-development by up-and-coming artists to audiences who will bring in new and fresh perspectives with their works. These works will explore a variety of themes from relationships to race to the examination of one’s culture and beliefs. These works include Deep in the Heart of Me by Kaylene Tan, a collaboration piece between Australian theatre-maker Andrew Sutherland and Singaporean Chanel Ariel Chan entitled Chrysanthemum Gate and Bitten by Nidya Shanthini Manokara and Thong Pei Qin.
This year’s line-up proves to be more than skin-deep, so don’t miss out on our bold servings! Do join our online conversations about the Fringe with the hashtag #M1SFF on various social media platforms as well.
Get ready to expose and break down traditionally held boundaries at the Fringe as we delve beneath the surface into Art & Skin.
Singapore Fringe Festival
4 – 15 January 2017
Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay
LASALLE College of the Arts
Khoo Teck Puat Hospital
Silver Ribbon Singapore
12 events from 7 countries
2 Fringe Highlights
7 Live Fringe events
3 Fresh Fringe works-in-progress
1 Fringe Activities
Calling all Pokémon trainers! Do you remember frantically racking your brains during commercial breaks, trying to figure out ‘Who’s That Pokémon?’ on the hit TV series? If youOn December 1, 2016 / By Elizabeth
Calling all Pokémon trainers! Do you remember frantically racking your brains during commercial breaks, trying to figure out ‘Who’s That Pokémon?’ on the hit TV series? If you think you still have what it takes to be a Pokémon master, then you definitely need to test out your skills at the Pokémon Research Exhibition at Resorts World Sentosa’s S.E.A Aquarium.
Held for the first time outside of Japan, the exhibition, which is located at the exit gallery of the S.E.A. Aquarium, is the ultimate Pokémon quiz. Trainers can discover more than 200 Pokémon characters spanning various generations in three types of Pokéballs, each representing a different level of difficulty.
To have a go at the game, simply pick up a regular Poké Ball (easy), Great Ball (medium) or Ultra Ball (hard), and visit four of eight interactive stations to get different clues about the Pokémon in your ball.
You can, for example, use the Face Magnifier station to reveal a selected part of the face of the Pokemon, the Outline Shooter station to see the Pokémon’s outline, or perhaps the Weight Gauge to reveal whether your Pokemon is a heavyweight like Snorlax (460kg) or featherlight like Cottonee (0.6kg)!
If you’re feeling up for a challenge, make one of your selected stations the Cry Checker, which lets you listen to the cry of the Pokémon in your ball. Just in case you’re wondering though, it replays the sound the Pokémon makes in the Nintendo game – not the Pokémon shouting out its name as it does in the TV series. That’d be way too easy!
While you’re there, don’t forget to pick up a handy reference pamphlet that corresponds with the Pokéball you chose – aside from listing all the Pokémon that could possibly reside in your Pokéball, it also helps you write down clues.
After visiting all four stations, head on over to the Answer Station to identify the pokemon in your Pokeball.
Other highlights of the exhibition include a huge Pokedex wall, with as many as 721 Pokemon, and appearances by an iconic Pikachu mascot, dressed up in a lab coat, everyday at 11.30am, 2.30pm and 5.30pm.
The Pokemon Research Exhibition opens daily from 10am to 7pm. Tickets are priced at SGD35 for adults and SGD23 for children or seniors, and includes entry into the aquarium. The exhibition will run till 2 January 2017.
The boys of BrompingSG have combined their passion for cycling, Brompton bicycles and adventure, and created an incredible lifestyle for themselves. Looking effortlessly cool, this tight-knit bunch ofOn November 28, 2016 / By Gracie
The boys of BrompingSG have combined their passion for cycling, Brompton bicycles and adventure, and created an incredible lifestyle for themselves. Looking effortlessly cool, this tight-knit bunch of six is all about appreciating the experiences that cycling brings and ‘doing their own thing’. Just as Batman relies on his trusty Batmobile to fight villains, the BrompingSG folks swear by their Brompton bikes to combat normalcy.
They share over 20 years of friendship and are bonded by common ideals and attitudes about living and the things that matters. Through cycling, the boys get to take a step back and be their purest selves. It is no wonder they feel (and act) like teenagers again when the group is out and about. Together, they have explored Kuala Lumpur, Melaka, Yogyakarta, Perth and parts of Japan with their Brompton bikes, and are armed with countless stories to tell.
In collaboration with Converse, we kicked back with Ashik, Esa, Firdaus and Luthfi from BrompingSG for a casual chat, and learn more about their camaraderie.
Nookmag (N): Hey fellas, take us back to your roots! How did your love for cycling and Brompton bikes develop?
Esa (E): My love for cycling started young. When I was a kid, my first ride was a mountain bike. I loved that bike to bits. I rode it until it turned rusty. The kind of bicycles that we ride depends on the group of friends. We have ridden mountain bikes, BMX, fixies… As we grow older, I don’t think we have the strength to ride fixies anymore. The Brompton fits in perfectly as we love travelling and exploring. It’s so compact.
Ashik (A): Basically, we have a love for two-wheel rides, regardless of motorbikes or bicycles. Brompton fits in perfectly with our lifestyle. We love to travel, adventure and explore.
Firdaus (F): With two-wheelers, you discover more as compared to cars. There are certain places that can only be accessed by bicycles. What more, the Brompton is so compact. That’s why we choose it.
N: We know the weight of Brompton bikes on our pockets. What do you have to say to people who call you crazy for spending so much on a bicycle?
E: Three words – effortless in folding. Being bike enthusiasts, getting our hands dirty with our bikes is not an issue. We have stripped our bikes from end to end, wheel to wheel, to see how well they are built. We appreciate the quality that goes into Brompton bikes because they are 100% hand-built. We’ve also watched documentaries on it to learn more. We not only love bikes but also the engineering that goes into them and their design aspect. For the Brompton, every single nut and bolt is so perfectly made. The quality is very high in terms of craftsmanship. It’s not the price, it’s the quality. We ride the hell out of our bikes. If we scrimp on the price and quality, we’d have to spend more time maintaining the bike instead of enjoying the ride.
Luthfi (L): I used to work at a bicycle store called Life Cycle that carried all sorts of foldable bikes. I got my first introduction to Brompton bikes there. First sight, I told myself that over my dead body would I get this bike as it’s so pricey and it’s a small wheeler. When I got the chance to mechanically service a Brompton, my mind was blown by the whole engineering aspect of it. Fast forward, I moved into my own place and it’s small, so I decided to sell my big bikes and Brompton came to mind. Prior to that, I went to Penang for a round island cycling trip and I used a friend’s Brompton. It brought me to the peak effortlessly while the others needed to be hand-pushed. Since then, I swore by it and bought one. The rest of the guys follow suit. We have over 20 years of friendship. We get to travel together and we’re like-minded – that’s important.
E: We trust each other’s opinion. When Luthfi said the Brompton was good, we believed him and tried it out.
L: The demographic of Brompton riders in Singapore is usually 50 years old and above. We want to break the whole stigma of riding a Brompton bike here. We do lots of hardcore stuff with our bikes such as play bike polo, ride them out to the trails and *lepak. We want to show people that you can do more with the bike than just go for coffee with it. Life is so much more.
E: We bring the cool factor to Brompton – just shamelessly putting it out.
N: Tell us more about the lifestyle that comes with cycling.
A: We love to adventure and explore. At the same time, we enjoy and appreciate the scenery around us. We have a passion for taking photos too. We’d bring our cameras along our rides and try to collect as many memories as possible.
E: Everything is so digital currently. People are on their phone all the time. Growing up in the 80s, we spend most of our time outside. What we’re doing now is another level up – we travel and spend more time outdoors. We like taking in the greenery. We slow down our pace, forget the noise and appreciate the people we’re hanging out with. Ultimately, it’s the people you spend time with that matters. If we don’t have our bikes, we can go travelling as friends. We find a balance in life.
N: I see you love chilling out with your (not-very-cheap) Helinox chairs too…
F: We believe that if you want to get something, you have to get the best. Or you’ll spend more if your stuff spoils easily.
E: To travel with our bike and all our accessories, space and weight are important factors to consider. What we buy have a purpose.
N: How spontaneous are you with regards to traveling or exploring?
E: Very spontaneous. The six of us have an incredible chemistry. We have the same attitude when it comes to traveling. No hesitation, no questioning. If any one of us has a suggestion, we’ll make it come true. In Japan, we had Luthfi to bring us around and we enjoyed the whole experience to the max.
L: When I go on holidays with my wife, I would always keep a lookout for how good that country is, the cycling network path and stuff like that. When you cycle in a foreign place, you can explore more. I fulfil my wish with these guys. They are the best people to bring around on a bike.
E: In Yogyakarta, the cycling infrastructure is not really there. But Perth city is entirely made up of park connectors. You can travel anywhere within Perth on a bicycle. Same goes as Japan. The cycling infrastructure is so safe and convenient that you don’t need to take anything else. You just jump on your bike and go. If the distance is too far, you can fold up your bike and take it on a train.
N: How much of your journey do you plan?
E: We would have an itinerary but it can change anytime. Most of the time, we’ll go to the places that we plan to and then some. We’ll meet people and they’ll bring us around. For example in Osaka, the good people at Giracha (a fixed gear bike shop/café) specially planned a night ride with us to bring us around Osaka from their perspective. Luthfi and the owners are friends. If we only did the touristy things, we’d never experience the beauty of the city at night. We try to be flexible. If you follow your itinerary too strictly, you wouldn’t experience the uniqueness of the country.
N: Any plans for your next trip?
L: We would like to have an unsupported trip before I reach 40. It’s always been my ambition. I would like to do an unsupported ride around Iceland – that would be nice. All these while, it’s been credit card travel. It’ll be nice to camp out at night under the stars. Every year we would like to go somewhere but we’ve yet to plan for next year.
N: How does an unsupported trip work?
E: An unsupported trip is when you bring your tent, food, clothes, and go into the wild. You don’t stay in a hotel and you don’t go to restaurants for food. You cook on your own. If we could get sponsors for that, it would be awesome. We’re trying to work towards that. I’d love to go back to Japan. Not only was the cycling great, but it’s also the people and the culture.
N: What are some challenges you face when riding a Brompton?
A: High slopes, steep climbs. We’re riding with three-speed bikes and we need a lower gear for us to climb steep slopes.
E: If you compare with normal full-size bikes, we struggle in that sense. It’s one of the setbacks of riding this bike but it doesn’t deter us from riding.
N: What kind of shoes do you like to wear during your rides?
L: One with very stiff soles would be good as power transfer is needed.
E: Comfort is important because we spend long hours on our bicycles. Waterproof is good too. Something that is comfortable, light and visible – all these factors help in your performance in riding, so you’ll ride longer.
N: You guys definitely have the cool factor. How do you like to dress?
E: I’m more of a t-shirt and jeans kind of guy. I like anything that is comfortable. Nothing too flashy for me. I like basic colours, simple t-shirts. I can’t be bothered with how people look at me. As long as I’m comfortable with myself and I look appropriate, it’s good. I don’t dress to impress.
F: Comfort comes first. 90% of our wardrobe is made up of only two colours – white and black.
A: As long as Luthfi doesn’t give me the side-eye, I’m good.
E: We like being comfortable, presentable, clean and appropriate. Shoes can be a little flashier but no wild colours.
L: We cycle and our shoes get dirty. We stay stylish while being comfortable at the same time.
E: Long-lasting is key. We’ve come to a point where we buy something that we can use for a long time before we replace it.
A: I love shoes that I can wear during and off cycling.
N: How does Converse fit into this?
E: Which one of us doesn’t own a pair of Chucks? We’ve been wearing Converse shoes since our secondary school days. The brand represents our generation. I don’t know how many pairs of Converse I’ve owned. They last very long, almost forever. Even a pair of worn-out Converse still looks good. I’d look at my worn-out Chucks and say, “That represents me!”
F: Converse is very clever when it introduced the Chuck II with the Lunarlon sole and all. We need that level of comfort while maintaining our style. It suits us for cycling.
E: We got the Chuck II when it was first launched. If only it was waterproof at that time… Converse is made for us.
A: I like how Converse is always supporting music, arts, skateboarding – the whole lifestyle.
*Meaning to chill and relax in malay.
Conversation seeks out inspiring individuals who possess a creative spirit and brim with passion. It offers an insight into the lives of these individuals and the things that drives them. This edition is proudly sponsored by Converse.
Photo Credits: Chee BP