The Peak (Singapore) - - The Hot Seat - Mae Tan | 22 | Mar­ket­ing cre­ative at Sur­ren­der

For Mae Tan, be­ing a mil­len­nial means be­ing bold enough to act on im­pulse – in a pro­duc­tive way, no less. “Tak­ing full con­trol of the here and the now, be­ing in the present, and mak­ing sure you make a dif­fer­ence is what it’s all about. It means hav­ing the con­fi­dence and power to change what’s hap­pen­ing now,” she says.

The advent of tech­nol­ogy means that access to un­lim­ited in­for­ma­tion and a wealth of other re­sources is now more read­ily avail­able than ever be­fore, mak­ing it fair game for one and all. Ac­cord­ing to Tan, the only way for mil­len­ni­als to make their mark in times like these is to think fast and work smart.

The Sur­ren­der bou­tique, an undis­puted pi­o­neer in Sin­ga­pore’s street fash­ion scene, is very much like Tan her­self – edgy, chic and un­pre­ten­tiously street. At just 22 years old, the mar­ket­ing cre­ative has etched her­self firmly as one of the lead­ing movers and shak­ers in the lo­cal fash­ion scene.

As someone who prefers to tra­verse the un­known, it comes as no sur­prise then that Tan’s idea of a per­fect hol­i­day in­volves strolling down the streets of Py­ongyang, North Korea – not so much to jump on the sen­sa­tion­al­ist band­wagon, as to ob­serve life in a wholly dif­fer­ent light.

“Vis­it­ing places that tend to be off the beaten track gives you a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive in life. I want to travel to places where I can feel some­thing – it’s not so much the des­ti­na­tion, as the ex­pe­ri­ences I have there,” she adds.

With close to 70,000 fol­low­ers on In­sta­gram, Tan feels that so­cial me­dia has re­de­fined what it means to be rel­e­vant in this day and age. De­spite where life may take her, she hopes that her ef­forts to­day will leave a mark for gen­er­a­tions to come.

“At the end of the day, I want to make an im­pact in this life­time, be it through fash­ion or oth­er­wise.”



More than a form of es­capism, travel has be­come some­what of a rite of pas­sage these days. The value of the jour­ney lies not with the des­ti­na­tion, but in cre­at­ing sto­ries and col­lect­ing ex­pe­ri­ences. For the mil­len­ni­als, glitzy and world- fa­mous des­ti­na­tions have made way for ob­scure and off- the­beaten- track jour­neys. Ac­cord­ing to a United Na­tions re­port pub­lished last year, 200,000 mil­lion mil­len­nial tourists gen­er­ated more than US$180 bil­lion in an­nual tourism rev­enue – an in­crease of al­most 30 per cent since 2007. Un­like gen­er­a­tions be­fore them, a ritzy ho­tel and an al­lyou-can eat cham­pagne break­fast just doesn’t cut it any­more. Mil­len­ni­als want to sit on plas­tic stools and tuck into pip­ing hot bowls of pho with traf­fic bustling away on the side; they want to drink small-batch craft beer from an ob­scure back-al­ley brew­ery in Yan­gon and get their feet dirty trekking up moun­tains in Sri Lanka. It’s all about the ex­pe­ri­ence.


Mil­len­ni­als with means are con­stantly seek­ing out col­lec­tive ex­pe­ri­ences in their “tribes”, usu­ally com­pris­ing large groups of friends and/or fam­ily. Lux­u­ri­ous and spa­cious ac­com­mo­da­tion with both in­door and out­door fa­cil­i­ties that can house a large num­ber of peo­ple is all the buzz. This group may not be as re­cep­tive to short-term lodg­ing and va­ca­tion rental sites like Airbnb or Vaystays, choos­ing in­stead to bunk at lux­ury vil­las or well-ap­pointed ser­viced apart­ments.


Fomo, an acro­nym for “fear of missing out”, means wealthy mil­len­ni­als are con­stantly seek­ing out novel ex­pe­ri­ences. This could be a trip to Cuba be­fore gen­tri­fi­ca­tion sets in, or a visit to North Korea be­fore ties get more strained than they al­ready are. The idea here is to di­verge from the norm, to travel to des­ti­na­tions where peo­ple wouldn’t nor­mally go. The more ex­otic and ob­scure, the bet­ter.


Not one to fol­low a fixed itin­er­ary put to­gether by a tour op­er­a­tor, mil­len­ni­als value the abil­ity to pick and choose their own ex­pe­ri­ences ac­cord­ing to in­di­vid­ual in­ter­ests. They’re big on on­line re­search and gath­er­ing in­for­ma­tion from fo­rums, but they also want to hear voices on the ground, so hav­ing a lo­cal go-to per­son is key – a fixer or a lo­cal stu­dent guide of the same gen­er­a­tion who might be able to show them a good time around town, with­out the touristy gim­micks.

01 01 OFF THE BEATEN TRACK Novel ex­pe­ri­ences such as a trip to Cuba trump glitzy des­ti­na­tions.

02 02 LUXE ABODE Lux­ury vil­las or well-ap­pointed ser­viced apart­ments are the ac­com­mo­da­tion of choice for wealthy mil­len­ni­als.

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