Education

Things to note if you want to take up art and design professionally

Art is an important aspect of lifestyle and society. It is also an increasingly sought after field of education. Whilst it was looked down upon

Why reading books remains essential to education

Education is the fundamental pillar of any economy. And we doubt anyone would oppose that statement. Singapore is known for its brilliant educational system and

Society

The importance of the Kampung lifestyle to Singapore

Climate change, global warming, sustainability, environmental degradation – words that have become hipster-like and are becoming increasing prominent in today’s society. Fortunately, most countries have

Culture

Shigga Shay, Kevin Lester and the new wave of Singaporean musicians

In previous posts, we talked about the importance of art and the leading Singaporean artists today, such as www.weare.sg/jackson-tan-phunk/. Here we focus on music and

Photography’s impact on society, culture and journalism

Photos are a great means to tell a story. They can provide information, tell stories, inspire people and bring to light the truth. Photography has

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Shigga Shay, Kevin Lester and the new wave of Singaporean musicians

In previous posts, we talked about the importance of art and the leading Singaporean artists today, such as www.weare.sg/jackson-tan-phunk/. Here we focus on music and the importance of songwriting to follow your creative instincts and to promote the image of the Singaporean musical scene.

We have had a great crop of musicians and bands such as the Gentle Bones, Sam Willows, Shigga Shay and Kevin Lester. Kevin Lester especially is a unique case. He started off in the corporate world as a marketing manager, but then decided to go full-time into music. His single hit, Lioncityboy, exploded into the music billboards in Singapore, ushering in a new age for Singaporean hip-hop.

Lester has grander ambitions. He wants to put Singaporean hip-hop in the global scene. Lioncityboy is just the beginning. People like Lester and Shigga Shay, who came up with his own hit Limpeh. Their optimism is derived from the fact that the hip-hop scene here is something that is entirely unique. Our language mix of Hokkien, Malay and Tamil, along with our very own entertaining Singlish, blends to form an entertaining script.

Lester and Shay have proved to be inspirations to many aspiring Singaporean musicians. Their creative approach to hip-hop, integrating the mainstream aspects with Singapore’s kampung and multi-cultural lifestyle, have yielded great success. It proves that creativity and having a unique style with music can produce dividends.

Today Lester is going places. He remains the first home-grown artist to sign up with a reputed American production agency, the same one that produced the Black Eyed Peas. That’s a huge accomplishment. He can be the face of Singaporean hip-hop to the place where it all happens – Hollywood.

We also have the Sam Willows. They managed to changed Singaporean perceptions towards local musicians. Before them, most Singaporeans preferred American, British, Korean or Chinese/Taiwanese music. When Sam Willows broke into the scene, the showed that Singaporeans can also produce great music. IT inspired other musicians to follow their footsteps.

And it is not just pop and hip-hop. There are rock / metal bands here such as Electrico and 53A that perform locally. Astreal and The Observatory compose indie music. There is variety in Singapore, provided you look for it. The presence of these bands is important as an inspirational tool for budding musicians.

Looking at these success stories, we can learn a lot of lessons. Musicians always have a tendency to complain that there is too much supply and very little demand in the market. While that is true to an extent, the fact remains that musicians don’t compose creatively anymore. Shay and Lester proved that adding their own flavor to mainstream hip-hop was the difference between failure and success.

Things to note if you want to take up art and design professionally

Art is an important aspect of lifestyle and society. It is also an increasingly sought after field of education. Whilst it was looked down upon a few decades back, the view on pursuing academic degrees related to art is increasingly positive.

Singaporean universities such as NUS and NTU have renowned art and design related degrees that are seeing increasing intakes every year. This shows that not just students, but also parents in Singapore have had a change in perception towards art and design. This can only bode well for children and teenagers that have a creative side to them  that needs nurturing.

Singapore has its own share of artists and designers that are receiving national and global acclaim. Public institutions are turning more and more to freelance designers and boutique art studios for contracts. A great example of this was the now iconic SG50 logo that was on display during Singapore’s hallmark 50th national day celebrations.

The SG50 logo was designed by an art studio founder called Jackson tan. His name should by now be synonymous to many Singaporeans. Jackson Tan is the partner founder of Phunk studio, a contemporary art collective. He is also the creative director of the creative agency BLACK. An acclaimed artist and designer, he is one of Singapore’s biggest recent success stories.

Well, if you are a young Singaporean you would be familiar with the themed nights at Zouk. Tan and PHUNK were the inspiration behind that. These records puts an impressive gloss on Tan’s resume. And yet he is a reserved man and simply desires to follow and fulfil his creative instincts.

Tan should be an example for any art or design student who is wondering what their profession looks like. Most artists and designers are creative by nature, and hence don’t prefer to work for Ad agencies or other companies today. They prefer to start their own studio or consulting business and produce unique pieces of work.

If you have an entrepreneurial spirit, that is a great path to follow. Like every other business, you will need to struggle at the start. You will need to learn the tricks and trade of digital marketing and SEO. Learn as much as possible tools like Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, CodePen and Azure. They help bring your vision to reality.

Another recommendation for budding designers in Singapore especially is to explore the ecommerce sector. With very high penetration of online shopping in Singapore, designers and artists can list some of their works online to get early adopters and initial sales. It can also serve as a supplemental revenue stream in addition to your core consulting business.

In fact this is something that has been tried and tested, especially by popular Singaporean photojournalist and artist Tay Kay Chin. Check out more about Tay Kay Chin at www.weare.sg/tay-kay-chin-platform/

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Image source: inspirationfeed.com

The importance of the Kampung lifestyle to Singapore

Climate change, global warming, sustainability, environmental degradation – words that have become hipster-like and are becoming increasing prominent in today’s society. Fortunately, most countries have recognized these issues and are acting immediately to tackle these issues. A global effort is being made and Singapore is also at the forefront of it.

The branch of social entrepreneurship focused on sustainability and environmental advocacy is becoming more prominent in Singapore and South-East Asia. Eco-friendly and green solutions to combat the rising ride of pollution and deforestation are being implemented increasingly.

However, in addition to concerted efforts by corporations and public institutions, it is also vital that the citizens of Singapore, especially the youth, take a leading role in this transformation. The youth, who are the citizens of tomorrow, need to be aware of the importance of going green. At the forefront of the green revolution is the kampung concept.

We all love the lifestyle of kampungs, as we are no strangers to it. Less than three decades back, Singapore had a thriving kampung infrastructure and community. The lifestyle and setup promotes sustainability and the green movement. When we think of kampungs we think of a peaceful society without the hindrance of diesel engines and pollution, where we cultivate natural food and life a simpler community-focused life.

Despite rampant modernization, Singapore has not changed that much when it comes to its core values focused on the kampung lifestyle. Unlike most developed and first-world nations, our lives still revolve around our community. We help our fellow citizens and form close relationships with them. We don’t alienate ourselves despite the prevalence of technology, to an extent.

It is on this note that we introduce to you Tay Lai Hock. Hock is one of Singapore’s leading young eco-advocates. He has famously promoted a revival of the kampung lifestyle and a return to basics. He founded the Ground-Up initiative to support and execute this mission. He has started a Kampung Kampus project that will feature a site with camping facilities and green solutions prototyping.

We are Singapore spoke exclusively to Hock on how we can empower our community to follow in his footsteps. He seems confident that there will be more like him who will ensure that despite the growth of modernization, smart cities and tech, our roots and values will still be focused on the kampung spirit.

We will organize at some point a live event or a podcast where we will find out more information about Hock’s mission and projects planned. As a social advocate for the nation, wearesg hopes that people like Hock will receive active support from the government to realize his dreams for our nation.

5 startups leading the social impact cause in Singapore

Social impact is something that is talked about a lot. Companies like to promote themselves as fighting the common cause and achieving social goals. While a lot of these are misplaced, there are great institutions, communities and companies that have achieved a lot in the domain of social impact.

Words that are closely associated with social impact are social innovation and entrepreneurship. The use of technology to bring about meaningful societal change is also relevant. We have identified a few startups in this domain that have achieved enviable results in Singapore.

Eggchill

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Infertility in women is a sensitive and awkward topic not just in Singapore, but most of Asia. Eggchill was founded by a group of women to help women who face issues about infertility and egg freezing. They refer such clients to trusted clinics and assist them through the process. Eggchill was incubated at Tech for good Singapore, a leading social impact startup incubator here.

Urbink

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Urbink is a logistics solution platform with a social cause. They connect the needy and less fortunate to industry. They focusses on economic last mile delivery and hire at-risk people including the poor, disabled and retirees as employees.

Billionbricks

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Billionbricks tackle a very challenging issue that has confounded even governments – homelessness. They are an innovation design studio and provide design consultancy to build shelters for the homeless. They are headquartered in Singapore, with additional offices in the US and India. They provide services to developing nations such as India, Cambodia and Malaysia.

Happi

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This is an incredible startup. Happi basically asks you to pick a cause or charity that you like, answer a few questions and that’s it! They donate money to the cause through partnerships with corporates and you may even win a gift through a lucky draw. Really, it leaves everyone happy!

The thought collective

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The thought collective is a community with the intention of growing Singapore’s human and emotional capital. Founded by popular entrepreneur and recently elected member of parliament Shiao Yin Kuik, thought collective is a team of design and creative consultants who curate content with the aimof building up emotional capital and brings people together to contribute to the wider community.

Wearesg brings together these 5 startups and holds an impact seminar with the founders of these startups. Shiao Yin Kuik, perhaps the most decorated of the founders, will be our main speaker for the event. Come and join us at NTU’s Wee Kim Wee school on the 24th of July at 9 am!

Photography’s impact on society, culture and journalism

Photos are a great means to tell a story. They can provide information, tell stories, inspire people and bring to light the truth. Photography has become a dignified and recognized profession today. More and more people are taking up this creative and artistic means of profession today. It is a display of culture.

Perhaps the biggest value of photos today is to bring global events and atrocities to light. There are brave journalists who have travelled through the ravages of Afghanistan, Syria and Somalia, taking powerful photos and sharing them with the rest of the world. It has a big social impact.

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It is for a reason that Instagram has become the most powerful social media platform today. There are instagrammers that make hundreds of thousands of dollars annually through their travel photography, freelance journalism, fashion promos and brand advertising.

Singapore has produced some great photographers like John Clang, Leslie Kee and Russel Wong. One of the emerging stars in this domain is Tay Kay Chin. Chin, who was brought up in Singapore, focusses on photojournalism, the effect of which we just mentioned in this post. He is perhaps most well-known for his exhibit, Panoramic Singapore. Panoramic Singapore is a collection of candid works that showcase the culture and beauty of Singapore and its day-to-day aspects.

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Wearesg is an advocate of photojournalism and its impact on wider society. In this regard, we will organize a free exhibition of some of Chin’s recent projects. The artist himself will be present at the event and hold talks on photography as a profession and its impact. As a self-styled entrepreneur, he will also provide real-life mentoring to budding artistic entrepreneurs.

The event will be held at the Singapore Art museum at Bras Basah on the 25th of July from 2 pm onwards. Whilst entry is free, we can host only 120 people and you have to reserve your spot at our website as soon as possible. We hope to see as many of you as possible there!

Why reading books remains essential to education

Education is the fundamental pillar of any economy. And we doubt anyone would oppose that statement. Singapore is known for its brilliant educational system and institutions. We have one of the most challenging and comprehensive secondary and high school education structure.

There is, however, a worrying trend in this domain. And this concerns books. It is quite well-known in our nation that the penetration of technology in education here is among the highest in the developed world. Tablets and smartphones have aided the accessibility of education, but it may have an unintended cost. And that is the increasing irrelevance of books.

There is a connection between reading books and being literate. While online reading is also beneficial, we prefer quick reading in a span of 5-10 minutes when we are online. The reason for this is that there are millions of distractions in the digital world, and our minds are unable to focus on one thing. This is the reason why books are still important to children and adults alike.

In view of this philosophy and need, we are organizing an event in collaboration with one of Singapore’s popular entrepreneurs, Kenny Leck. Younger Singaporeans would be familiar with Leck and his company, BooksActually. Some of you may have chanced upon their store at Yong Siak street. BooksActually has become a popular online retailer of fiction and literature themed books.

BooksActually will be displaying more than 100 books spread across literature, fiction, science, art and design at our event which will be held in front of Northpoint shopping mall at Yishun on the 31st of June starting 10 am. These books will be sold for as little as $10, with a broader intent of making education accessible. Kenny himself will be having panel talks and Q&A sessions with aspiring entrepreneurs, where he will talk about his success story.

Drop by for the event and check out the works in exhibit. We promise that you will have a fun-filled and educative day!

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Infographic by: firstbook.org
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