Sunday, August 2, 2009

in transit

in transit

finally we have decided to close ish after a 10-year-run. i am not extremely sad, in fact i am quite proud that as an independent print magazine, it actually survived for a decade, quite a feat in this internet age, not to mention the competitive advertising conditions in the print magazine industry. it is also extremely timely that just before we packed our bags, ish won its 3rd SOPA (Society of Publishers in Asia) Award for Design Excellence. In fact, on the same day 12th June 2009, as the results was announced, a decision was concurrently made to stop the magazine.

quick update on what i’m doing now:

1. 21st May 2009, my second F&B venture “15 Minutes” opened at LaSalle College of the Arts (Check it out - it is on the 1st floor of Blk D, and the school is situated on 1 McNally Road, it is also enveloped by Prinsep Street next to Sim Lim Square)

2. Still running Night & Day - bar+gallery+friends, which is almost 2 years old now. Finally after two years the business is starting to stabilise. We have built up a loyal following of party-goers who attend our monthly underground parties. I’m still toiling for the gallery though, organising exhibitions for young or new artists - it is a lot of work but not much money to be earned, at least for now. But overall, i think the mission of what we are trying to do - of promoting Singapore art & design is more important than the money, as i always believe that those who can, should try to give back - to the society, or in this case, the industry - in some ways. 

3. Stubbornly, i’m not stopping print publishing anytime soon, as i find a lot of joy and satisfaction in making a book or a magazine. In terms of continuing my magazine work, i’ve assumed the post of Editor-in-Chief for the Singapore Architect (SA), it’s a bit of a grown-up version of ish magazine. ish is visually driven, while SA is content-driven, though a lot of efforts has been put into the creative direction and design as well, so you should check it out, it is available in all good bookshops in Singapore. We will try to get it more widely distributed in the region soon. In terms of books, i’m working on various projects now, so hopefully, there will be something exciting out by next year.

4. doing some random design projects that are fun, some for very little money and some are pro bono. This is the only time i can say - i pick and choose my jobs haha. so i make sure these are fun jobs, then i wouldn’t mind doing. there’s a book, a couple of small design/branding jobs and a couple of interior jobs for friends.

5. lastly, this blog of course. Had been wanting to do this since ish days, as a small attempt to connect with my readers on the internet (blog as opposed to website as it is more personal and less work and more immediate). So finally i got off my lazy ass to start this blog, which i hope to share design news/information and thoughts about design, travel, culture and random random things in life.

anyways, back to the current moment. i spent this weekend watching an 11-part series on Michael Jackson’s home videos on youtube, and was actually very moved by the amount of charity work he does, one of which involved searching for a liver donor for a extremely poor 4-year-old boy Farkas in Hungary waiting to die in the hospital. And in a passing moment, he mentioned that the press only likes to report bad things and not good things. So out of curiosity, i googled the details of Jackson’s charity legacy and found a link that documents the amount of work he did and huge sums of money he gave to various charity all over the world ( I can’t help but think that he is actually a pretty decent and extremely generous guy. It is very sad that he died so suddenly.

i also googled the MDA (Media Development Authority) website and was quite disappointed to see the amount of funding that is available to all things digital and almost nothing attractive for print publishing. this is really sad, looks like MDA is already getting ready to eliminate print out of Singaporean’s lives. This is the time when print publishing needs a helping hand and yet no help is available. There is still so much potential and hope in print publishing as ultimately it is about content creation and management. and more importantly, we should uphold it as a form of art. Traditional forms of art, somehow, always have no place in Singapore, and it is no wonder so if the government, which plays a big role in preserving art forms and culture, is always too fast to throw away all things all.

But - as Gandhi said, Be the change you want to see in the world - i will find a way to do good works in publishing and i am inspired by great publishers such as Taschen and Chronicle books.

Even if i will not be as big as them one day, I will start one book, one magazine at a time, and each will have to be made in the best way i know. 


  1. Found your blog by chance and wat you wrote inspired me.. will be your blog follower. Keep writing.