Past & Present
From the time AUGUSTMAN started to nowcarrying
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.