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Home Away From Home: 5 Singapore Creatives Abroad Share Their Ways Of Living

According to reports, there are 217,200 Singaporeans living abroad. The five individuals from the creative industries featured here are among them and span the Berlin-based global sales director of one of fashion's most successful cult luxury labels to an up-and-coming stylist in Shanghai. All of them have remained overseas despite the pandemic. Here, the full interviews about how they've put the "home" into their adopted homelands.

ZO FAN

The filmmaker and photographer has been based in Paris for the past four years.

Zo Fan

What brought her to Paris: “I was accepted into the filmmaking programme at EICAR, The International Film and Television School of Paris in 2016.”

A Peek Into Her Home

Her place: “I chose this apartment on Rue du Faubourg de Saint-Denis in the 10th arrondissement for its incredible natural light and its practical location. It’s right next to the Gare de l’Est railway station that’s half an hour from everything – it means that London is technically a 10-minute walk and train ride away. The street of Rue du Faubourg de Saint-Denis is this wonderful mix of everything from the neo-fusions to the bobos (local slang for the bourgeoises and bohemes).

My favourite corner of my home is a little vegetable garden that I’ve created using vegetable scraps and supermarket plastic containers… I use yoghurt cups and ketchup bottles as my plant pots; cardboard boxes are upholstered with my magazine and art catalogue cutouts; and the little mint bags that I hang on my fan, to diffuse the room, contain the leftover mint that dried out before I could finish using them. I don’t like buying anything that I can make on my own so my home has become a place for me to unleash my creativity as I turn it into a space that’s truly mine.”

Fan lives on Rue du Faubourg de Saint-Denis in the 10th arrondissement, which is known to be a melting pot of cultures, home to everything from African jewellers to Paris’ “Little India”.

How Paris has shaped her: “It’s shaped me as a person, which in turn influences everything
from my world view to the colours that I use in my work… In Paris, beauty is everywhere. It’s a matter of whether one sees it or not… I wouldn’t be able to do what I do here in Paris back in Singapore, but it’s the same vice versa. That being said, my work has constantly involved Singapore whether it’s projects for Singapore clients or having Singaporeans in the crews that I work with. Where I am doesn’t matter.”

“Dear Mother” is a recent project of Fan’s and one of her most personal to date: it’s a visual essay and letter she created during Paris’ lockdown period to chronicle her thoughts and reflection during this chaotic period

What of Paris she would like to see in Singapore: “I like that Parisians work hard, but also make sure that they have adequate rest.”

What’s home to her: “I’m at an age (24) when I’m constantly exploring and learning so home is ever-changing for me. A new one marks the start of a new chapter in my life and an old one is a keeper of my stories. Home is a witness to my growth and my ups and downs.”