Sunday, June 11, 2006

S.C.N.U.K. Events: 2nd Networking Session

Article by Michele Koh, Photos by Eugene Ng


Date: 3 June 2006
Venue: Shakespeare Globe Café, Bankside

It had been raining for the last week, but on Saturday the 3rd of June, the weather was gorgeous: the sun was dazzling, the sky was clear and the cobbled streets of Bankside were teeming with Londoners and tourists out to get a tan. This was an auspicious day for the Singapore Creative Network UK - we held our second networking session at the Shakespeare Globe Café.

Our first networking session held on the March 25th brought many Singaporeans living in London together for the first time. This time, our purpose was to introduce new members - industry representatives and international friends. Some members who came for our first gathering gave a second appearance, and we were joined by many new faces. We had a crowd of about 35 people. It was a diverse crowd of students and professionals from the age of 19 to 40. We had Singaporeans who have been in London for less than a year, Singaporeans who have lived in London for a decade or more, individuals from Malaysia, Hong Kong, Canada, Britain, Spain, Lebanon and Switzerland.

Being one of the hosts of the event, I felt compelled to make some sartorial changes. I am normally a jeans, T-shirt and sneakers girl, but I decided I would make the extra effort for this occasion. I wore a brown pencil skirt and heels, and even painted my toenails the same shade of red as the Singapore flag! As I walked along the path close to the river, I realized that perhaps I shouldn’t have worn heels. It’s one thing to sashay down the flat, even cement sidewalks of Orchard Road in three-inch stilettos, but it’s a whole different ballgame when you have to hobble along brick and cobblestone surfaces.

Chris, Ziad and Matt were the first to get here. Chris is a visual merchandizing student at the London College of Communication who will be doing theatre set design at Central Saint Martin’s next year. Ziad is Chris’s classmate from Lebanon and Matt is Ziad’s friend who just flew in that morning from Beirut on a private jet.

Friend of a friend of a friend…that’s how networking works! Matt is the editor for a Lebanese fashion magazine called “Aishti”, and through him we got a glimpse at some of the perks of being a high flyer in the media industry. Matt told us that the reason he was in London is because he was one of the ten people selected for a competition to win the latest Nokia Vertu mobile phone. The consolation prize involves something called “concierge service” – where you call up the company organizing the competition and they will get you whatever you want, from a bottle of vintage merlot to a sharpee puppy, within reason of course, nothing too kinky! According to Matt, celebrities use concierge services all the time. I never did find out if Matt won the competition, as he and Ziad had to dash off to another appointment

The next two to waltz in were my fellow journalism classmates Gabby from Spain, and Dave, a South London boy who was working at the Globe Café that day. Dave told me that Jazzy Jeff from the American sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel Aire” was performing at the Globe and that he would be interviewing the actor for Southwark News. A few minutes later, the fashion students from Central Saint Martins arrived, and boy did they make a grand entrance. Eugene Lin, a womenswear student interning at Vivienne Westwood, had his hair shaved with a spiky Mohawk fringe, a tank top, which revealed lovely bronzed, muscular arms… and a skirt! Rachel, who specializes in menswear, breezed in looking like Audrey Hepburn from “Breakfast At Tiffany’s”. She wore a blue rose-printed flared frock with a short matching blue knit top, baguette handbag and cream coloured espadrilles. The colour of the dress was very unusual and I told her that I really liked it. Rachel told me that the dress was actually white and the roses dark blue, but after one wash, the whole dress turned blue! I should try that sometime! Even thought poor Rachel was down with the sniffles, she looked as bright as a summer’s day.

We had a surprise guest – Malaysian product designer Benson Saw and business associate Ian Macready. Benson is a partner of Voon Wong, a Singaporean product designer. Together, they are voonwong&bensonsaw – the award-winning duo now based in London. Eugene Ng contacted them via their website and they came even though they have not met any of us before. How brave!

Joyce was a face from the past. An ex Convent of The Holy Infant Jesus (C.H.I.J) girl like myself, we recognized each other right away and started reminiscing about our secondary school days, the nuns, the teachers and fellow students. Tim, an arts and political magazine editor from Canada, Chloe from Switzerland and Valentina from Hong Kong were amused by our take on the unconventional and sometimes ‘havoc’ lifestyle options of a few Singaporean convent school girls.

Joyce who now works as a visual arts office for the Arts Council England, traveled two hours from Brighton to be with us. Tim has just moved to London from Montreal three months ago. Valentina who previously worked with the Creative Industries development department in Hong Kong is now doing an internship at the Clore Duffield Foundation. And Chloe is doing research on film and audience impact at King’s College and Film London.

The others arrived fashionably late and slowly blended in with the early arrivals. Among them were Ian, a filmmaker who later switched to IT, and branding designers Joshua, Wilcox and Alex, who have all lived and worked in London since 1998.

The session continued till 6pm. After that, Sylvia, Che Yok, Eugene, Ian, Alex, Josh, Adrian, Wilcox and myself adjourned to Nandos for dinner. Five whole peri-peri chickens were not enough for the ravenous boys, so we got more. We bantered on about Singapore in the 1970’s. Ian recalls that the Singapore he remembered as a boy was not the ‘vibrant global city’ it is now. It was one big construction site, full of dust. Josh and I swapped stories about flat mates from hell. Josh once shared a flat with a rent boy who insisted on working from home and I have a flat mate whose pet ferret likes to pay surprise visits at night, frightening the bejeesus out of me! As we got more comfortable, Wilcox and I showed off our tattoos. Ian said back in his day, the most daring thing teenagers did was get their ears pierced. Sylvia recalls spiky punk hairstyles as the symbol of rebellion when she was a teenager. With a mixed crowd of different ages, nationalities and interests, we learned much from each other and could appreciate generational, cultural, personal, political and lifestyle differences without judgment or prejudice. We ended the night with a few pints at an English pub and by 11.30pm my feet were happy to get out of those heels.

Thank you all for coming and making this such wonderful experience!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Come to Me in My Dreams

Enjoy a night of evocative song with Rebecca Chellappah and Melvin Tan.

Currently pursuing their art in the UK, Singaporean Mezzo-Soprano Rebecca Chellappah (Royal Northern College of Music) and Tenor Melvin Tan (Royal Academy of Music) return to Singapore to share a night of dreams and fairytales including the works of Rachmaninov, Debussy, Chausson, Schubert, Bridge and Jake Heggie's song-cycle Songs to the Moon. They will be accompanied by acclaimed pianist Lim Yan.


Venue: Esplanade (Recital Studio), Singapore
Date: 18 Aug 06, Fri
Time: 7.30pm
Tickets: SGD $20

Tickets available only at:
Bouquets d'ete Pte Ltd
28 Holland Grove Road
Tel: 96368661 and Pte Ltd
14 Scotts Road #03-72
Far East Plaza

Find out more about Rebecca and Melvin!
Visit their websites at and

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

This Year’s Graduating Students

It’s that time of the year again. UK’s creative institutions will be presenting their freshest graduating talents who will be showcasing their latest creative works at degree shows across London.

We would like to introduce you to some of our finest Singaporean talents from the Singapore Creative Network who will be graduating from some of the world’s leading universities in the UK.

Look out for them at their graduation degree shows!


Adrian Tan
BA (Hons) Fine Art
Goldsmiths' College, University of London

Adrian was awarded the Overseas Specialist Award from the Ministry of Education, Singapore to read the BA (Hons) Fine Art at Goldsmith’s College. His practice investigates the philosophical and architectural notions of place and space, and the ethnographical aspects of art making. His areas of interest include visual anthropology, documentary practices and contemporary art theory. He is passionate about art education and is interested in exploring the relationship between art and learning.

Degree Show Details:
15 Jun , 6pm (Private view)
16 - 19 Jun, 10 am - 5 pm
Goldsmiths’ College, New Cross Gate

Online Portfolio and Website:


Cheryl Tan
BA (Hons) Fine Art
Goldsmiths' College, University of London

Cheryl will be presenting a series of work that deal with nostalgia. Frantic attempts were made to record the everyday and the special, for the human mind distrustful of its own memories.

The structures of time and the act of diary keeping are themes that Cheryl will address in her show. Empty sheets of sun bleached papers allude to the suspension of time and the expansion of memory; and sealed photographs in frames restrict the actual image so that it’s full exposure to the world, and accuracy is questionable.

Degree Show Details:
15 Jun , 6pm (Private view)
16 - 19 Jun, 10 am - 5 pm
Goldsmiths’ College, New Cross Gate


Joe Peter
BA (Hons) Film & Video
London College of Communication, University of the Arts London

Upon completing the Mass Comm diploma at Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Joe worked for approximately nine years in Singapore, starting out as a Web/Graphic Designer, before branching out to Video Production. A recent finalist in the Singapore International Film Fest with his short, "The Window", Joe has written and produced a number of independent works during the BA. "Heartware", his latest piece, is to be screened at London's National Film Theatre on 27th Jun.

Post-grad plans for Joe are aplenty, with a strong desire to pursue the MA in Documentary or Wildlife Filmmaking, or even Theology. Over the summer, he will be working on a couple more collaborative films, before returning home to join the daily grind with intermittent bouts of ‘teh'. If however, a worthwhile production opportunity pops up, he may be tempted to stay.

Degree Show Details:
27th Jun , (First screening: 12 - 2pm; Second screening: 2.30 - 4.30pm)
National Film Theatre, Southbank

Online Portfolio and Website:

Email :


Lovinia Ee
BA (Hons) Design for Advertising
London College of Communication, University of the Arts London

Lovinia specialises in Photography and was in the pioneering batch of photography students who graduated from the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in 2003. Lovinia came to London to learn and explore further her area of interest and reactive practice in design. She is currently pursuing a degree in BA (Hons) in Design for Advertising, which focuses on the political, social and cultural agendas of advertising.

Lovinia is looking forward to returning to Singapore for some good food and a beautiful tropical tan. She hopes to inspire her fellow Singaporean friends with what she had learned in London, over a good cup of ‘kopitiam‘ style coffee.

Degree Show Details:
Studio D109, London College of Communication, Elephant & Castle

Email :


Kok-Chian Leong
MA (RCA) Design Products

Prior to his postgraduate studies at the Royal College of the Arts, Kok-Chian had worked for 8 years in Singapore in Design Exchange and GE/FITCH, where he is a senior industrial design consultant for its offices in Shanghai, Taipei and Singapore.

At the Royal College of Arts Show, Kok-chian will present four subversive and intriguing projects that were inspired by his investigation into the world of weaponry, saboteurs and machines.

Among the projects are ‘Corporate Sabotage’ - a conceptual range of weapons for the corporate armoury, and ‘Vortex’ - a radical domestic simulator. Both projects were selected for the Zeroone San Jose: Global Festival of Art on the Wdge & the 13th International Symposium of Electronic Art (ISEA2006).

Degree Show Details:
23 Jun - 2 July, 12pm - 9pm
Royal College of Arts, South Kensington

7 - 13 Aug
ISEA2006, San Jose, USA

Email :


Ng Pei Kang
BSc (Hons) Industrial Design
Brunel University

Pei Kang believes that he has the ability to recognise and live up to excellence. He is passionate about what he does, particularly in the areas of Human Factors where design plays an integral part of everyday life. His work experiences include Philips Design, IDC from 2004 – 2005.

Look out for his iMail design piece at his show, which was inspired by an empathy for those left behind by the breakneck pace of technological advancement.

Degree Show Details:
4th to 7th Jun , 10am to 5pm
Gallery Hall, Business Design Centre, Islington

Online Portfolio and Website:

Email :


Kimberlyn Quek
Degree in Fashion Design Technology
London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London

Kimberlyn specialises in Womenswear (Ready-to-wear, haute couture & lingerie) and is an expert in pattern cutting. In March 2005, she was awarded the First Prize (Pattern Cutter Category) at the TCT Teenage Cancer Trust (UK) Charity Fashion Show while reading her course at the London College of Fashion. Her work experiences include designing fashion lingerie, swimwear and stints with Song+Kelly 21 in Singapore.

Degree Show Details:

Online Portfolio and Website:

Email :


Veda Lin Wei
BA (Hons) Music
Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London

Veda will be graduating as an oboist from the reputed Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. Back home in Singapore, she was Principal Oboist of the Singapore National Youth Orchestra and performed regularly with The Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra. During her studies, she was Principal Oboist of the London Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and the National Musicians’ Symphony Orchestra.

Veda had been invited to participate in the NJO Summer Academy 2004 in Netherlands as well as the Britten Pears Young Artist’s Programme in Aldeburgh. Her recent achievements include having a live broadcast of Ligeti’s 6 Bagatelles on BBC Radio 3, and an education/ performance project held in Singapore with her group Trio Ébano in February 2006.

This summer, Veda will be on tour with the Asian Youth Orchestra, and she hopes to pursue further studies in Germany next year.

At her final graduation recital, Veda will perform a 30 minute solo recital to include music by Bach, Clara Schumann, Silvestrini and Berio.

Final Recital Details:
14 Jun, 11am
Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Barbican


Celin Tan
BA (Hons) Art and Teaching of Ballet
Royal Academy of Dance

Celin was awarded the annual ESU prize in July 2004 for being the best undergraduate at The Royal Academy of Dance. She chose choreography as her final year elective and had the opportunity to collaborate with the students from the Theatre Design department at Central St. Martins for a performance at the Cochrane Theatre in London.

In her graduation performance, Celin will revive excerpts of her previous works, restage classical repertoires and present a series of new works and collaborations.

Graduating Performance Details:
18 Jun, tba
Rhonda McGaw Theatre, Woking

Monday, June 05, 2006

Review: A Surreal Saturday

Article by Sylvia Lim


For those of you familiar with Miro’s ethereal works, seeing them staged is something else - Imagine the naïve childlike emblematic forms jumping off the canvas and coming to life!

Strongly influenced by the Fauvists and Cubists, Spanish painter Joan Miro (1893-1983) is one of the most authentic surrealists of the 20th century. Drawing on memory and dreams, his playful art is characterized by brilliant palette and simplified forms.

The show began with a parade that started in the River Landscape outside of Tate Modern and proceeded into the Turbine Hall. It was a depiction of Miro’s desire to make Merma Never Dies into a street parade in the Catalonian tradition.

The puppet parade of was the first re-make in over 25 years. The puppets in this performance were originally designed for the theatre piece Mori el Merma, which was first performed in 1978. The production was a collaboration between the artist Miro and La Claca, an experimental theatre troupe from Barcelona, headed by Joan Baixas.

Mori el Merma roughly translated means - “Death to the Bogeyman”, the “bogeyman” anti-hero is based on the French writer Alfred Jarry’s character ‘Pere Ibu’, from his absurdist play Ubu Roi (1896) that made a grotesque parody of authority and the abuses of power. In this new production, Merma Never Dies, Baixas evokes the critical spirit of Mori el Merma.

There was screening of footages of the original performance and Miro at work in his studio running throughout the day at the Starr Auditorium. For those unacquainted with Miro, watching the 30-minute documentary before the parade would be help one to understand the amount of work involved and the sheer grandeur of the project.

It was an amazing collaboration between art and theatre. And a real Bank Holiday treat.