100 FALL/WIN­TER 2013

Female (Singapore) - - CONTENTS -

When street style is be­com­ing as in­flu­en­tial as what’s on the run­ways, the most im­por­tant cat­walk trends are the ones that in­tro­duce change.


One is more likely to be­come an astro­naut than a win­ner at the world’s most fa­mous film fes­ti­val. It cer­tainly helps if you’re able to make – in di­rec­tor Chen’s words – “a sin­cere and truth­ful film”.

Fe­male fea­tured the film­maker 18 months ago on the back of his other short film tri­umphs: a Golden Bear nom­i­na­tion for Haze (not about you-know-what), and a spe­cial dis­tinc­tion award for Ah Ma at Cannes in 2007. But this lat­est win for Ilo Ilo is, of course, the big en­chi­lada.

“I think there was an hon­esty and uni­ver­sal­ity to the film that moved the se­lec­tors and, even­tu­ally, the jury. I set out to make as good and sin­cere a film as I could, so it wasn’t like, let’s make a film for a fes­ti­val or to win awards,” he told Fe­male re­cently.

It’s of­ten the most per­sonal films that res­onate the most, and some­thing about Ilo Ilo – a story about a fam­ily of three and their Filipino maid, set dur­ing the 1997 Asian fi­nan­cial cri­sis – touched a chord with many. Ac­cord­ing to Chen: “[Dur­ing the pri­vate for­mal din­ner] one of the jury mem­bers came up to me dis­creetly and said, ‘I’m not sup­posed to speak to you, but I have to tell you how much I re­ally love your film.’ That made my night!”

Chen, who is now based in Lon­don, is trav­el­ling the world pro­mot­ing Ilo Ilo be­fore re­turn­ing for its Sin­ga­pore pre­miere on Aug 29. Then, it’s our turn to show him love.

Ruben Pang, 23, leads a dou­ble life. By day, he is a full-time national ser­vice­man; by night, he is a painter with a ris­ing rep­u­ta­tion. It’s been a good year for Pang: His ab­stract tech­ni­color paint­ings have al­ready caught the at­ten­tion of gal­leries over­seas. In Fe­bru­ary, he made his first in­ter­na­tional solo de­but at an ex­hi­bi­tion held at Pri­mae Noc­tis Art Gallery in Lugano, Switzer­land.

More re­cently, he sold a paint­ing for more than $10,000 at re­gional auc­tion house 33 Auc­tion – a record price for the Lasalle Col­lege of the Arts grad­u­ate who left school just three years ago with a diploma in fine art.

There is no doubt about Pang’s tal­ent: In 2009, he re­ceived the National Arts Coun­cil’s Ge­or­gette Chen Arts Schol­ar­ship, and in 2011, held his first solo ex­hi­bi­tion at Chan Hampe Gal­leries at Raf­fles Ho­tel. In 2012, the Sin­ga­pore Art Mu­seum fea­tured his paint­ings in an ex­hi­bi­tion ti­tled The Sin­ga­pore Show: Fu­ture Proof.

De­spite the ac­co­lades, this son of a sculp­tor fa­ther and lec­turer mother only started paint­ing in 2007, and has re­mained hum­ble. “I’m just lucky, I guess,” Pang says with a boy­ish smile.

Luck aside, Pang’s suc­cess can per­haps be at­trib­uted to his ap­proach of keep­ing his paint­ings co­he­sive. “There is no se­cret to mak­ing it big, you just have to keep your work in­tact be­cause peo­ple want to get an idea of your prac­tice as a whole,” he ex­plains.

Pang’s works can be seen at Chan Hampe Gal­leries at Raf­fles Ho­tel and Primo Marella Gallery in Mi­lan.

Artists ought to do a few things. They should defy logic (“How did you do this?”); they must chal­lenge per­cep­tions (“Hmm, I’ve never thought of it like that…”); and they should raise ques­tions (“What’s with all the dead fish?!”).

In Cheok’s resin art, he’s done all this and more. A glance at this for­mer graphic de­signer’s painstak­ing but per­sua­sive art­work prompts gasps of baf­fle­ment and won­der. What you’re look­ing at are in­cred­i­bly life­like an­i­mals swim­ming in wa­ter, yet seem­ingly frozen – all ren­dered by days of resin lay­er­ing.

“The wa­ter crea­tures that I draw on resin have to be as close to the real thing as pos­si­ble – in size, pro­por­tion and look – if not, the en­tire art piece fails. My goal is to cre­ate works of art of the high­est de­gree and stan­dard, ” the 49-year-old ex­plains.

He uses a tech­nique cre­ated by Ja­panese artist Riusuke Fuka­hori – a skill Cheok picked up a year ago – and the sen­sei chal­lenged him to cre­ate a bet­ter ver­sion of the art­work. It is a time-con­sum­ing process where acrylic paint and resin are used to cre­ate the 3-D work. Each layer (which takes hours to set) has to dry be­fore the next can be painted on. Just a sim­ple piece the size of a rice bowl can take up to five days. Ar­du­ous, but so fun to look at.

Cheok’s fame is steadily grow­ing, but he’s still adamant that he won’t sell his work, even though his Face­book page is filled with re­quests by fans all want­ing a piece of his art. Which prompts an­other ques­tion: “Why not?”

He’s the kind of guy you wish was out of a job – this job (like if there were no dis­eases, we wouldn’t miss doc­tors). But un­for­tu­nately, Ng has his hands full run­ning Acres, the an­i­mal pro­tec­tion or­gan­i­sa­tion, which is short-staffed, un­der-funded, and privy to some crazy an­i­mal traf­fick­ing that hap­pens here.

“Peo­ple have tried to smug­gle mon­keys in suit­cases, bring snakes in their carry-ons, sell il­le­gal birds on­line, and even put tor­toises in Tup­per­ware to fool im­mi­gra­tion,” says Ng.

Part of his mis­sion is to ed­u­cate the pub­lic, care for aban­doned an­i­mals, and repa­tri­ate the res­cued ones, but a lot of time is spent help­ing govern­ment agen­cies with raids on traf­fick­ers.

“What’s scary is that an­i­mal traf­fick­ing is trend­ing, be­cause the penal­ties aren’t as se­vere as drug smug­gling – ’cause they only pay a fine.” Leg­is­la­tion is out of his hands, but with what he has, Ng is fight­ing the good fight.

If you’ve never viewed any Ted.com videos, and are not fa­mil­iar with its mis­sion to “spread ideas”, then think of the brand’s world­wide talks – de­scribed by Geri Kan, one of Sin­ga­pore’s cu­ra­tors for the an­nual TedxSingapore (Tedx is any­thing de­signed at a lo­cal level, like TedxBroad­way, even TedxKa­tong if you like) con­fer­ence – “as one big, global kam­pung. You go to an event not know­ing 90 per cent of the peo­ple, but it’s amaz­ing how ever yone wants to know more, and fig­ure out how oth­ers are mak­ing a dif­fer­ence and how they can too.”

A Ted talk is in essence au­then­tic sto­ry­telling, and its 1,400-plus clips of amaz­ing talks have been viewed more than a bil­lion times.

Since 2010, th­ese women (all vol­un­teers) have helped plat­form 23 Ted x Sin­ga­pore women speak­ers and artists over three events, giv­ing voice to women from myr­iad dis­ci­plines: de­sign, ar­chi­tec­ture, mar­tial arts, dance and more. They have even fea­tured a Mount Ever­est climber, and the world’s old­est Tedx speaker – 113-year-old Teresa Hsu, who spoke about the need to al­ways be ac­tive, cheer­ful, and to give back to the com­mu­nity.

Grace Clapham, a brand con­sul­tant, adds: “We (cu­ra­tors) are able to shed new light on the speaker’s top­ics. When you’re used to work­ing in your field, you some­times can’t see things from a new per­spec­tive, so that’s where we help. This gives the speak­ers a new burst of en­ergy and sparks ideas.”

We are in an era of re­lent­less shar­ing (watch your friends with their smart­phones dur­ing din­ner), but a Tedx event is where the best ideas are be­ing spread to in­spire all of us (se­ri­ously, go watch).

They’re keep­ing the kam­pung spirit alive – one stor y at a time – but haul­ing it up by its boot­straps into the 21st cen­tur y through tech­nol­ogy, in­no­va­tion and imag­i­na­tion.

The 23-year-old NUS un­der­grad is happy to be a tal­ent bro­ker who uses his web­site to help cre­atives col­lab­o­rate – hook­ing up po­ets, mu­si­cians, bag­mak­ers and pas­try chefs. Through net­work­ing and as­tute re­search, he cre­ates a directory of in­die tal­ents from dif­fer­ent back­grounds and pro­fes­sions on his web­site (Col­lab)² (say “col­lab square”).

Those that make the cut – “they have to be re­ally great at what they do or sim­ply unique” – are fea­tured in pro­file in­ter­views. And if any­one is keen to kick off a pro­ject with the names he spot­lights, Chien will set up a meet. What’s more im­pres­sive is that Chien does all the in­ter­views, shoots the por­traits and de­signs the web­site.

He has fea­tured more than 40 names since Fe­bru­ary 2012, but treats the pro­ject more as a hobby than any­thing else. “I’ve al­ways been a cu­ri­ous per­son and I love to start con­ver­sa­tions with oth­ers. I want to take it a step fur­ther by spark­ing new ideas,” he says.

The three-week-long event Dis­place­ments last June that com­prised art exhibitions, house par­ties and a movie screen­ing was his most mem­o­rable gig to date. He hooked up four mu­sic acts for the event, held at a 77-year-old bun­ga­low at Wilkie Ter­race. “It was a on­cein-a-life­time ex­pe­ri­ence. To be sur­rounded by art stu­dents, es­tab­lished artists and per­form­ers for a pro­ject – I can’t ask for any­thing bet­ter.”

Who’s be­hind it: Two guys be­hind a lo­cal trend con­sult­ing firm who pre­fer to re­main un­named, but have such a rep for host­ing out-of-the-box par­ties that names like whiskey brand Glen­morangie and the Sin­ga­pore Art Mu­seum have ap­proached them to co-or­gan­ise events. What you’re in for: Imag­ine a house party where the decor is makeshift, drinks are served from pa­per cups and the DJ decks are helmed by lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional in­dus­try in­sid­ers, many of whom con­trib­ute to Rightclicka’s on­line mag­a­zine Dope.sg. Who goes: The art and fash­ion crowd. Tracy Phillips, Jas­mine Tuan (Black­mar­ket owner) and model Char­maine Harn have all been spot­ted at pre­vi­ous events. Why drop by: Rightclicka nights are known for their un­ex­pected lo­ca­tions (past venues have in­cluded a Gey­lang shop­house and of­fice pent­house) and $10 killer cock­tails. Did we add that en­try is free? The next party: Find out... Be a “friend” of Dope.sg’s Face­book pres­ence, Mr­dope Sin­ga­pore, for de­tails.

Who’s be­hind it: Alyssa Kok­i­lah and Jo­sa­iah Chong, founders of house and techno dee­jay book­ing agency Aligned. Be­tween them, they’ve had work ex­pe­ri­ence at nearly ev­ery ma­jor club in town. Life­style mogul/Spa Esprit Group CEO Cyn­thia Chua joined in this year, han­dling busi­ness and op­er­a­tions. What you’re in for: Elec­tronic dance nights with an in­dus­trial feel that show­case un­der-the-radar DJs from around the globe. The lat­est edi­tion, Su­per 0 Sea­son, was a mul­ti­dis­ci­plinary af­fair held across four Satur­days in April at Gill­man Bar­racks, and in­cluded light in­stal­la­tions and a silent disco (where par­ty­go­ers danced to mu­sic broad­cast on wire­less head­phones). En­try fees vary. Who goes: Se­ri­ous mu­sic fans like DJ Bren­don P and Keith Co­laco (aka DJ KFC) plus the hip set (read: the type of folks you’ll see at Tan­jong Beach Club and all the Spa Esprit F&B joints). Why drop by: It’ll make you think that you’re in a (nice) un­der­ground club in Ber­lin. The next party: Slated for Novem­ber with “a food el­e­ment and big­ger art as­pect”. Visit face­book.com/ su­per0sg for news.


Cir­rus (2013), 69 x 99 cm

Meta­bolic (2013), 128 x 86.5 cm


Pang paints from his liv­ing room, which has been con­verted into a stu­dio.


One of the in­tri­cate

de­signs from Cheok’s de­but col­lec­tion Alive With­out Breath


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