Sunday, August 15, 2010

stand up for Singapore talents

watched 2 re-runs in a day - YOG and National Day Parade - a bit moving becos of mixed feelings - feel proud but really sometimes quite painful to be Singaporean, or live in Singapore ( can sell chewing already or not..? Please pay local talents as much as foreign ones also please...) We stand up for Singapore but also have to fight so hard all the time.. very tiring to keep standing and wait for daylight. Hopefully our next generation will inherit a nation that can be truly supportive and be proud of their own talents, a nation that doesn't short-changed its own talents any more. We already have a full-functioning country, now it is time to develop its arts and culture which have been neglected for so long - Bravo to Ivan Heng, Randy Chan, FARM, Malek and all the creative people who have worked months and months for these 2 landmark events of Singapore and made us so proud that Singaporean talents rock!

running a small design studio, it is scary that in the papers, they kept saying how much the economy has grown and that employers should increase salary for employees, but in truth, small employers (at least speaking for myself) are not earning that much more, as the papers (or the government) are raving about. i remember that when i graduated from architectural degree in the early 90s, an honours degree grad like myself was paid 2.5K, today, it seems like that had remained constant. The pay has not increased because clients are not paying more. And in fact, if you get a government job, they try to squeeze you left right centre, how am i going to pay my staff more?

Today, I have a dynamic studio of young grads who are focused on doing good jobs, they are happy and they are with me, but tomorrow, they will get married, have kids and need more money. But the fees that we are getting as design consultants seemed to have remained stagnant for the past 15 years, as far as i am in this industry. Not only it is stagnant, sometimes even we get less.

A developed nation should start to treasure its own talents, and not focused on cutting our fees? Whcih part of the system went wrong? Why are local designers still treated as inferior to multi-national design conglomerates?


  1. Can't help but agree.
    Who then can be our "voice" impacting enough for a change somehow?
    The MP for Arts?
    The NMP for Arts? (Anyway i don't even know who that is. Forgive me for having such apathy :/)
    Or perhaps it got to be a cultural change where the general public "value" creativity. Value with a big dollar sign that is.
    The one to set the tone and pace for that should be the Government - i.e. Government should start paying much more for Artistic work. Perhaps they should even abolish "tender-system-pricing" for artistic work. :/
    I remembered in the early 2000 when we were hit with financial crisis , MINDEF rolled out dozens of Army camps for Architectural DEsign tender competitions. There were at less 20 hungry architecture companies vying for every 1 camp job. Each architectural company devoted a team of architects for 2 full months to enter the competition. The wining entries were most (if not all) architecturally tasteless. 19 companies had just wasted 2months of human resources.
    Worst still, i heard from my friend working in DSTA of the selection process and i cringe. I was told that they open the tender envelope containing the pricing first before even viewing the presentation boards. I wouldn't be surprise they did not even view the rest. Till now, i have yet to see Mindef holding a design exhibition on all the other entries. That tells alot about the value they placed on design and the real motivation for those competitions.

  2. I thought I was the only one feeling left out when the papers keep publishing about the astonishing economic growth. Only some sectors are doing well. Many SMEs are struggling.

  3. ed:
    yah the whole Gebiz thing is really painful. the whole procedure first of all, is time-consuming, sometimes u can't even log on for the whole day, sometimes u can't attach, it's really time-wasting. Shouldnt government departments have the right to pick/appoint a designer based on merits instead of price? and this whole bidding system is a bit.. ermm.. 7th month? except that at least the most expensive wins in 7th month. the other way around for Gebiz.

    indeed, a lot of SMEs and especially many of my friends who run small studio, it's really struggling and every year, we just pray that we won't lose another good person to the big companies who are part of the "good economy synidicate"..