i am from singapore. 100% singaporean. and (surprisingly?) rather proud to be so. since moving to new york less than a year ago, i’ve had 3 people tell me they’ve never heard of singapore. i bet they’ve never watched or read the news.
we’re a small country in south-east asia at the tip of peninsula malaysia. we’re so small on the map (like a world map), the word “singapore” is bigger than the size of the country when you look at one. no kidding. we’re a young country with a mix of different races, religions and cultures. my ancestors were from china, so my roots are chinese. but being a 3rd generation singaporean, i think we’re very very different from what our forefathers used to be.
what’s terrible about singapore? we’re near the equator, in summer all year round. it’s hot and getting hotter because of global warming. and because we’re so small in terms of size, sometimes it just gets a teeny-bit boring.
what’s so great about singapore? everything else. the blends of everything – food, culture, people.
and having lived overseas in japan and america, i honestly do have a new found respect for our government.
and besides, it’s still home.
for our winter holiday assignment in the fall 2007 semester, our project was to be based on our ethnicity. some people i talked to argued i was just a chinese. i told them to shut up. yes, i am chinese. but i am a singaporean. it’s different.
i went home over the winter break, so i really did enjoy going out and around, especially to look at the old shophouses, many restored and preserved as cultural treasures. i basked in it and soaked in the sights, the colors and the smells of everything.
i drew ideas from our unique blends of culture. my aim was to create a collection for modern singaporeans. you can’t really see this (because i’m not going to upload the entire project and go too much into the details of the clothing), but a lot of tiny details that go into panels, are all based on the architecture of the shophouses.
when i presented this, the only criticism i had was that it was too modern and the person who said that couldn’t “feel” my ethnicity at all. she had expected that i would draw at least one girl in a cheongsam. i have to be honest and say i couldn’t understand that comment. after all, i’ve never worn a cheongsam in my life. it’s hard to explain what being a singaporean is all about, to someone who has never lived there, or at least visited long enough to experience what the country is really like.
i think there are parts of us that are very traditional. we’re all still very “asian”, especially in terms of family values. but the rest of us are as modern as modern can get.
to me at least.
ps: are you sick of my sudden influx of design posts? heh heh. sorry, but i’m lagging in posting these and want to put them all up!!