Past & Present

From the time AUGUSTMAN started to now­car­ry­ing

Augustman - - Journal - AS TOLD TO HAN­NAH CHOO PHOTO GETTY IM­AGES

PEO­PLE OF­TEN ASK what we were think­ing when we de­cided to start a men’s lifestyle mag­a­zine in Sin­ga­pore a decade ago in 2006. After all, this is Sin­ga­pore, a land of heat and hu­mid­ity that has only got worse now that it’s con­firmed global warm­ing isn’t just some crazy sci­en­tist’s warn­ing of a hy­po­thet­i­cal fu­ture. We’re a coun­try where flip-flops aren’t just meant for the beach, but are per­fectly ac­cept­able in town and the high-end shopping dis­trict and where tank tops aren’t just rel­e­gated as tourist garb to Bali, Koh Sa­mui or the gym, and wouldn’t earn a raised eye­brow at a café.

But it was 2006, and busi­ness was boom­ing. The STI in­dex was on a steep climb and show­ing no signs of fa­tigue. Prop­erty prices were surg­ing and pri­vate de­vel­op­ments were sky­rock­et­ing. Loans were up, which meant banks were pay­ing huge bonuses, which in turn meant bankers were spend­ing plenty to fuel the econ­omy. Our na­tional elec­tions demon­strated the re­silience of the rul­ing party. The coun­try was choos­ing which ar­chi­tect and casino firm to en­gage for the build­ing and run­ning of two in­te­grated re­sorts. Times were good. Dot­coms were reap­pear­ing once more, now with ac­tual ideas of how to make money from peo­ple and not just vague il­lus­tra­tions of con­cepts that would gen­er­ate mul­ti­mil­lion val­u­a­tions from ven­ture cap­i­tal­ists. E-com­merce was real and rel­a­tively safe. We’d stopped get­ting emails from Nige­rian princes who needed to ex­tract money from their bank ac­counts in or­der to flee to Lon­don.

The fact that Damien Hirst’s ‘The Phys­i­cal Im­pos­si­bil­ity of Death in the Mind of Some­one Liv­ing’ ‒ also known as put­ting a dead tiger shark in a tank full of formalde­hyde (see photo) ‒ had to have the orig­i­nal crea­ture re­placed due to de­te­ri­o­ra­tion, should have been a warn­ing that noth­ing lasts for­ever, even if it’s dead and plunged in taxi­dermy juice.

Nev­er­the­less, in a time when the state of the world was far more peace­ful than the cur­rent day, a dif­fer­ent rev­o­lu­tion was tak­ing place. Men were start­ing to pay greater at­ten­tion to them­selves. Rather than being just props for their bet­ter half and also the porter for

their shopping, guys were in­ter­ested in look­ing good and keep­ing fit. The era of the couch slob hus­band was over. The term ‘hipster’ might not have ex­isted yet, but it was on the hori­zon, like Obama and the iPhone. That was when we fig­ured guys liv­ing in Sin­ga­pore might need a de­fin­i­tive guide for what’s hot on the scene.

To­day’s AUGUSTMAN is the con­tin­ued evo­lu­tion of that couch slob turned trendy hipster into a ma­jor per­son of in­flu­ence. It’s been 10 years in the mak­ing and though we still haven’t quite fig­ured out how to get our ed­i­tor to the gym as yet, we’ve at least man­aged to make him rel­a­tively pre­sentable. So in a lit­tle re­flec­tion on the past and why it was so good and won­der­ful then, we take a quick tour to see what was con­sid­ered ground­break­ing back in the me­dieval years of 2006, and what’s break­ing ground now.

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