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Articles from the “Opinion” Category

A Night at the Museum

Posted on October 12, 2013

Oh how the Night Festival inaugurated by the National Museum of Singapore has evolved. By evolved, I refer to the growth and diversification of its audience demographics; as well as the development in its programming. The Singapore Night Festival has developed into one of character, scale, grandeur and vision: and it can truly helm itself as one of the annual peaks one looks out for in the calendar. It was marketed consistently across the nation’s paper spreads, as well as along the transportation lines and systems. Furthermore, it was an intrajectory collaboration between not just statutory boards, but arts hubs, performance collectives, visual artists and bands as well. Held over 2 weekends in August, the Night Festival managed to not just draw in the crowd, but make a unique statement about what constitutes successful and long-term festivalisation.

Projection mapping display at the National Museum.

Projection mapping display at the National Museum.


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Credit: Satoshi Hashimoto -

No Experience Required

Posted on October 1, 2013

Times change. And it changes brutally fast.
At the rate of yesterday’s knowledge becoming irrelevant and impending possibilities of more jobs and services becoming automated, it begs the question that in this day and age what does having certification mean for a designer?


Design critic Corin Hughes-Stanton once suggested that “design will become more aesthetically adventurous”, and I do not see why it should be any different for design education. Subjectively, certification for designers is unnecessary, because as overused it may be, eagerness for good design and the catalyst of passionate learning will forever be the imperative factors. The contrast between the two is that while the latter pushes developmental skills (self-taught) and design inquisitiveness, the former primes the graduate for the industry ahead — an odd logic seeing that certification has little significance on creative hiring. Furthermore, you will never find designers flaunting their certifications in front of their Portfolio Night booths.


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How language is influencing the growth of ASEAN

Posted on September 18, 2013

There is a 140 character limit on micro-blogging platform Twitter, one of the top 10 most visited sites on the Internet used to share anything from real-time news to mundane activity updates. It’s a short sentence or two if you were to ‘tweet’ (or micro-blog) in English. But in Mandarin, 140 characters is enough to write a short story.

In the Christian Bible, the story of the Tower of Babel shared how the people of Earth wanted to build a tower that would reach heaven and prove humans could be equal to God. God says in Genesis 11:6,

“If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.”

To save them from their pride and arrogance, God created language to divide the people, thus never completing the construction of the tower.

The nuances of language is fascinating. Some languages are rich enough in vocabulary to describe the parts of a bicycle in one or two sentences. While other languages are more conversational and would probably take a paragraph or two to do the same. Hence, the ability of a language to effectively transmit information may hinder the growth of its citizens if schools in a country prefer using their native mother tongue as the medium of instruction.

Students discussing homework before school begins at a private school in Lvea Aem District in Kandal Province, Cambodia.

Students discussing homework before school begins at a private school in Lvea Aem District in Kandal Province, Cambodia.


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Off to a Good Start

Posted on September 4, 2013

Conversations with millennial friends are beginning to look more and more like the calm before the storm; starting off with the universal “How are things?” opener, right before the waterworks of gossips, criticism and grumbling are unleashed upon your ears faster than you can even take a sip off your pint. 

“How is work?”


This million-dollar question, perhaps assessing your contentment of life, is possibly the number one cause of frowns in the millennial age. Where topics such as how they hate their jobs, horrible directors, client nightmares, meager paychecks, overtime mileage and non-existent weekends have become the usual suspects domineering most table-top conversations. This million-dollar question here is about job fulfillment. It has to be said, if the chatter about slogging in the shadow of others, ‘grass is greener on the other side’ pep talk, and trading office horror stories remains persistent throughout the conversation, it could be more than just regular beer-o’clock rants, but rather, red flags to an impending burnout — a common syndrome (which stats claim are affecting more females than males) despite the current generation’s employment and equality improvements – that is plaguing the millennial generation. Where the answer to that question leads to is another question, through a grim path of job-hopping and career switching.


“Life is not a having and a getting, but a being and a becoming.” – Myrna Loy


Such are the somber state of talk amongst millenials these days. It is as if ingrained in these working-class youths, exist nothing but desires for future circumstances to be better than the current; a rebellious stubbornness to make most of present time and know that having expectations is likely the impediment to their successful dream. But who could blame them? As the global population of competitive millenials reaches 40 million, all vying for good seats in the workforce, it is no wonder everyone is inching further on the edge. Mistakably, most of them spend more time prioritizing their expectations than prioritizing their priorities—if they even knew what these were in the first place. A real shame, for what they have yet to realize is that this competitive ball is not in their court, but rather, in the employers’. Because in this Connected Age, and supported with the insurgence of newly invented/hyphenated job titles, the students entering the workforce are now smarter than their employers.


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Pretty Lights: Singapore's urban metropolis at night

Examining a Contemporary Cityscape Through a Kinder Lens

Posted on August 31, 2013

In Singapore, city planning is conducted in an ivory tower governed by the authorities. One could fully leave the incessant process of tearing down and building for bigger and better horizons to the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) or private property developers such as Far East Organisation and CapitaLand, to name a few. In fact, entering the building of the URA is like visiting the museum of Singapore’s entire city planning history and, in fact, you can gather a repository of historical material from its in-house library. But concept plans and ivory towers hardly capture the spirit of a city, and one should dig deeper into the motivations and influences in a city’s design in order to unravel the nooks and crannies of city planning.
Taking Singapore as a case study, I hope to draw attention to the intricacies of our contemporary cityscape and what these reveal about our culture, in an attempt to view my hometown through a kinder lens and in light of its 48th birthday.

Architectural Geomancy

From conducting an informal research into the design of Marina Bay Sands, Singapore’s casino complex comprising of a luxury mall (with an indoor Vienna-style stream) that directly links to an equally ambitious ArtScience Museum, the wisdom behind the architecture is informed by conventional Fengshui wisdom. Without going into specifics in the confines of this article, one can pursue more information from websites detailing hypotheses in architectural geomancy here and here. It is hard not to imagine some tiger-fisted blueprint being helmed by the likes of Cambridge-educated Harry Lee, who could still heed to the conventional superstitions of the old-school fengshui masters. In any case, ever since returning to Singapore in July 2012, the view of Marina Bay Sands from the Benjamin Sheares Bridge has never been more beautiful.


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