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Articles tagged “women

Natalie Hiong — Right at home with music

Posted on February 21, 2014

Photo: Hoong Wei Long

Photo: Hoong Wei Long

Natalie Hiong, SINGAPORE

Independent Singer-Songwriter

Akin to starting a business, kickstarting a professional music career and building a name from scratch is by no means easy. Many would dream to bask in limelight with their favourite music idols, yet few would take a leap to pursue their passion relentlessly and eventually play alongside their idols. Not Natalie Hiong, she traded the bullion for the piano and has never looked back since. Her latest EP, Beautiful Mess, pens a heartfelt rendition of love and ambiguity. Inspired by experiences true to life, nothing is quite perfect. Yet in music, she finds comfort knowing everything can end (or begin) on a good note while she sings.

What inspires you to keep writing and singing songs?

Love and personal experiences in life.

What has been some of your most interesting experiences to date as a singer-songwriter?

Opening for Marie Digby’s concert here in Singapore, writing lyrics for the magic extravaganza show, Incanto, previously shown at Resorts World Sentosa and performing at the MEOW Con Showcase in Austin, Texas.

Who are your muses?

Singer songwriters like Sara Bareilles, Christina Perri and Brooke Fraser.

So you’re a fan of Glee?

Not exactly, but I do admire Rachel Berry (played by Lea Michele) and Finn Hudson (played by the late Cory Monteith) performance in Season 1. That’s as far as I’ve watched for Glee the TV series.


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A Third Kind of Human

Posted on July 24, 2013

What comes to mind when someone utters the phrase “third kind of human”?

A 10-foot tall blue-skinned humanoid? How about a pale-skinned mind-reading vampire? On a recent trip to Shanghai, I learned that many Chinese believe there are three kinds of humans: men, women, and women with PhDs.

I was in Shanghai to participate in a 10-day program focused on higher education policy and planning. Participants came from highly ranked educational institutions from across the globe including Columbia in New York, Tsinghua in Beijing, and Nagoya in Japan. As a new Masters student, I was happy to learn from both my counterparts and seasoned PhD holders who challenged my biases and debated my thoughts. About two thirds of participants were female and I was encouraged that Asian educated and Western educated female students alike were unafraid to ask tough questions and be bold. Being surround by brilliant female minds was energizing; a scene like this is exactly what I like.

Imagine my surprise then, when an informal “get to know each other” session shone light on the elephant in the room: that some of our peers considered the female PhD students to be a third kind of human. At a later dinner in Shanghai, it was explained to me another way. It is also commonly believed in China that there are three types of women and they follow three distinct life paths: second class women marry first class men, first class women marry second class men, and third class women? They get PhDs. In a culture where many still judge a woman on her husband’s success, unmarried at 27 is practically considered a social disease. Parents become embarrassed if their daughters are “leftover” or “sheng nu”. If a woman is smart, and attractive enough to find a good husband, why would she waste her youth and prime child bearing years in school?

Source: Flickr, @USDAgov

Source: Flickr, @USDAgov

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