The Reconstruction Whizz: Jackie Tan, 29, woodworker (@tripleeyelid)
The former interior designer watched mounds of materials from commercial projects being discarded and wondered if furniture could be more sustainable. He then started teaching himself carpentry through trial and error as well as YouTube tutorials. Tan now creates custom-made furniture by upcycling unwanted objects at his studio, Triple Eyelid.
“The true essence of a made-in-Singapore brand is its uniqueness. We do not have a long history of craft excellence, so this is our time to be playful and one of a kind. Upcycling craftsmen are a small and tight-knit community here. Green and craft event planner Terra Village (@terravillage), which organises Up Market, an annual upcycling flea market that usually takes place in November or December, works hard at bringing us together.
Some of my favourite local labels include Taikensonzai, which sells one-of-a-kind jewellery and clothing made from discarded fabric, and Ask Tony, which offers lamps made from old glass bottles, and holds upcycling and metalworking workshops. I get inspiration from identifying our everyday needs and the waste materials we have at our disposal.
I believe that sustainability should begin with education for all of society. We can start by encouraging every household to practise at least one form of recycling. With more affordable workshops, we can increase our understanding of how easy it is to be green, and why it’s important.”
The Reel-life Realist: Gladys Ng, 29, filmmaker (@gldysng)
After her crowd-funded My Father After Dinner won the Best Singapore Short film award at the 2015 Silver Screen awards, Ng received the Singapore International Film Festival’s first short film commission. Her coming-of-age picture, The Pursuit of A Happy Human Life, premiered the following year at the prestigious festival.
“We have a lot of vertical space in Singapore. Scale any high-rise building, and there’s a new perspective waiting at every level. Lately, I’ve been wandering up and down the multistorey car park at Golden Mile Tower, taking in the different colour schemes of each level, as well as the different views afforded by each. It’s one of the most interesting things to do in Singapore.
I love Bishan Park. It’s one thing to walk around the space – where on a lucky day, you can see all sorts of birds, even rare ones – but it’s another experience altogether to go to the top floor of a HDB flat (public housing) nearby and take in the panoramic view of the landscape,with its iconic canal. You can even make Instagram stories of your climb up each floor.
Speaking of flats, I find it interesting how different homes share so many similarities – right down to how dishes are racked. In fact, one of my favourite local films is 03-Flats, a documentary by Lei Yuan Bin that observes the lives of three women living in apartments. A great way to actually get into people’s houses and see how they live is via the annual art walks conducted by OH! Open House, where participants get to explore artworks located within specific neighbourhoods and in people’s homes.
For the country’s best cinematic encounters, head to visual arts centre Objectifs. It has a constant rotation of programmes that often reflect Singaporean and Asian cultures. For films that are not quite mainstream, go to retro cinema The Projector.”
The Music Wizard: Manfred Lim, 22, DJ (@myrnemusic)
Lim, better known as Myrne, made waves when he was signed on by popular Los Angeles-based record label Mad Decent in 2015. The university student, who taught himself how to churn out electronic dance music (EDM) tracks on a home computer, has since performed at music festivals around the world. Along the way, he amassed more than 57,000 followers on online music platform SoundCloud.
“Singaporean performers are making sound waves around the world. We have dance-music collectives, such as Syndicate SG and Darker Than Wax, who produce unconventional kinds of electronic music with funk, soul and R&B influences. We also have quality DJs. Our international counterparts always say that the local DJs at nightclub Zouk really know how to fire up a crowd and open the evening, and I agree. You should catch sets by resident DJs Lincey and Lenerd.
People in this city are on the prowl for what’s most hyped-about and varied. We’ll go to a bar first, then to different clubs – usually starting the evening with something more hard and energetic such as Zouk, then heading to Bang Bang, where we just want to sit down to good songs. We never stay at the same club all night. Zoukout and Ultra, where I’ve performed, are the country’s main dance music festivals.
Clubs such as Cherry Discotheque play more underground hip-hop and attract dynamic people who are tired of the mainstream. I think it’s cool that Singapore has its own #EMONIGHTSG at Refuge. It’s modelled after a Los Angeles event, with DJs performing throwback emo tunes from the 1990s and 2000s by bands such as My Chemical Romance and Simple Plan.”
The Haute Hawker, Douglas Ng, 29, food entrepreneur (@fishballstory)
The engineering graduate dreamt of handcrafting fishballs – made using his grandmother’s recipe – to perfection. That vision materialised in the form of Fishball Story, a fishball noodle stall in ‘gastropark’ Timbre+. His popular stall received Bib Gourmand awards in the 2015 and 2016 editions of the Michelin Guide Singapore, and this year, he co-opened a coffeeshop in Geylang.
“It would be unfair to pick a hawker centre that best represents Singapore, as each is unique. But if you could only visit one, go for Old Airport Road Food Centre (51 Old Airport Road), which covers all the iconic dishes – roast-meat noodle stall Roast Paradise (#01-121), which is run by young hawkers, is there.
Us hawkerpreneurs (new-age hawkers) have fun collaborating on our signature dishes or even new creations. Mentors such as Edward Chia, managing director of Timbre Group, supports young hawkers as well as musicians and graffiti artists, giving them a platform to perform their art.
A local icon that I hope will always be there is the wet market. As a kid, I spent hours running around the one in Boon Lay, where my grandmother owned a provision shop and my uncle was a fishmonger. I hope the bustle, haggling and smells of the wet market will always remain.”
The Instagram Influencer: Nadia Rahmat, 26, events planner and model (@skinnykatwoman)
Nadia Rahmat first burst onto the social media and fashion scenes as one of 11 fresh faces – and the first one from Singapore – fronting American designer Marc Jacobs’ Marc by Marc Jacobs Spring 2015 ad campaign. Her signature hair braids, eclectic jewellery and stark lip colours are part of the bold tones she sets when putting together trendy events for the Kilo group of restaurants and clubs.
“Singapore is not boring. There’s always something new to try every week. My idea of a great party is a celebration of music, life and food. At the annual Keong Saik Carnival – which is somewhat like a block party – organised by Potato Head Folk, there are different genres of live music, a street art exhibition, vendors, and of course, food.
I don’t seek out new designers, but gravitate towards those who are different from the norm. For instance: Mash-up, an independent local streetwear collective that produces quirky designs that reflect my personality, and Olive Ankara, who has just started her eponymous label that produces African wax-print fabrics that are all about colours and contrasts. She shows the world that traditional textiles can also be used in urban style.”
This story first appeared on www.silverkris.com