Archive for June, 2013

7 year itch

As Momshoo’s next outing to MAAD draws nearer, i get more and more pensive (on top of my usual nervous self when it comes to flea market selling)… This would be the 7th Birthday of MAAD, and every anniversary in July, I make it a point to go back and be there whether as a seller or as a volunteer in one of the years.


I started selling MAAD in the February of 2009 after a few years as a casual browser and avid admirer of the crafters, artists and designers there. It was my first flea market and my first experience selling my own handmade items… I was nervous (that hasn’t changed see.) and scared and I really didn’t know what to expect. I still remember it was quite crowded with stalls that month because it is valentines’ day aka gift-buying season. It was also the first time for Joni, the seller next to me and I was impressed by her fabric flowers and amused by how she forgot to bring a lot of things. there was a group of students from SMU under the brand Richard Jervis who hand-cut intricate cards from paper. I took a photo for a (korean?) store-holder and she gave me an unique handphone accessory as a gift… and as if the other sellers were not interesting enough, the customers with their warm responses to our products were just as interesting with every sale making an impression on me. I remember having to go home that night to sew more badges furiously because of the good sale. And my friends and family came to visit too… in short, everything was so new, so exciting.


Many things has changed about MAAD through the years, it has gotten bigger, it is now held at night, there is live music, they no longer use tables but have suitcase display boxes… but some things has not changed. the friendly atmosphere for one still sets it apart from many other big flea markets popping up in Singapore. I have met some of the most supportive friends at MAAD, crafters who started by buying our items, giving us suggestions and reviews of different events to sell at, all the way to recommending our brand to be featured on newspapers, web tv episodes. But it is the little acts that make me grateful, the ‘likes’ and comments on my FB posts that  tells me that they are following the development of Momshoo every step of the way.

Shannon, better known as MAAD Mamasan put it aptly, “For SEVEN years, MAAD is more than buying and selling, to ones who keep his/her heart open. :)”  I didn’t just join a market… I joined a family and I gained so many big sisters (and a few brothers) in the process.


Here’s to more years of MAADness!

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(this is a post I have been meaning to write for sometime now…)

What is it about Singapore’s obsession with the new? When I was reading the newspapers these 2 days it was a question that i kept asking.


In the papers, there were plans lined up to rejuvenate Chijmes, the heritage building complex that started as the Convent for Holy Infant Jesus. The plans outlined changing the surrounding exterior walls (knocking them down), opening more entrances, building a glass ceiling and (gasp!) changing the cobbled stone floor to granite. Yes it may well attract more people by the end of all its rejuvenation works but how much of its original heritage is still retained? An American visiting professor in school echoed the same view when she learnt about the rejuvenation works to be done on Capitol building, which she was lucky enough to catch before works began. she was horrified.

And it is true from a travelers’ perspective. Traveling to other countries, I admire the old buildings and architecture that has been there for years, maybe decades, some even centuries. In Europe, we marvel at the solid stone city halls, churches and monuments  which has stood the test of time… In the Asian region, homes and temples made of all wooden structure built centuries before amazes us. These places continue to attract hordes of tourists with their clicking shutters. So why is it that Singapore veers towards the other end of the line?


If there is one thing I love (and all my friends know this), it is old buildings. For that reason, I alway love to walk the streets lined by the traditional Peranakan Houses and old black-and-white colonial buildings, there feels to be so much history in such places! And no, it is not the same as walking through a row of houses that only retains the exterior shell of the place it once was.

Another news article today talked about the gentrification of the Tiong Bahru Estate, another place I visited often as a child… old shopkeepers are being pushed out by the younger entrepreneurs looking to set up shop in the new ‘hip’ neighbourhood. While it is currently at the state of balance of the ‘new-old’, I somehow still feel a sense of foreboding. (yet I fill the customer niche that these new indie shops target towards. oh the irony.)


I don’t have the solution to retaining the essence of our heritage in the modern world yet, but I wish that before we continue to bring down or rejuvenate old places, we might want to think of which is the best way to do so. This takes more than simply retaining a facade and erecting a plaque explaining the lost history of the location in question.

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I just returned from a 3 week long Japan grad trip. and when I returned I saw that we were arriving to a small hazy island (yes, i had the window seat!)… unfortunately as the days passed, the haze has gotten from bad to worse and I am no longer shocked to see new towering PSI readings.

While the haze brings much discomfort and gloom, I think it also brings out a new side of Singapore. a daily read of my FB newsfeed just proves to me that Singaporeans are creative and so witty! being able to come up with a thousand different perspectives (and gripes) about the haze is no easy feat you know! (I also wonder if they had to create a new icon for the weather forecast for ‘haze’?)


and since I just came back from the land of the rising sun, here are some tips to learn in coping with the new weather conditions:

1) Wearing a mask is a common practice in Japan and not in the least strange, in the same way, I was surprised to see so many Singaporeans to be embracing this new ‘fashion statement’ for the first time. This is good news!

2) Uchi Mizu is the traditional act of sprinkling water on the streets to keep the environment cool. just be sure to be doing it with your now common N95 mask. (more about Uchi Mizu here by Kansai Scene magazine)

3) Teru Teru Bozu are handmade dolls that children make to hang outside their window as an amulet for good weather and prevent rain. In this weather though, we can hang it upside down to pray for rain.

Polkaros, a Singaporean based in Tokyo has a simple tutorial to make these:


(click on the image to go to the tutorial)


While many of my friends are still out of the country enjoying the fresh air provided by the grad trip country of their choice, I am actually glad to be in Singapore holding it out with my family and friends. That I am able to be close to them in this crisis… Being away for 3 weeks really makes me miss Singapore. There is something about it, knowing that you belong here where everything is familiar and I don’t have to guess what everything around me means with my ability to read only the limited Chinese characters on the Japanese signboards. And that I are back to being able to eavesdrop on everyday conversations again. what can I say? I am a proud kaypoh Singaporean!

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