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Archive for January, 2017

Common Wisdom

The other day, A casual exchange with our favourite popiah hawker revealed a pearl of wisdom:

“If you want to have freedom (and happiness)… don’t expect to earn a lot of money. Something’s gotta give.”

He said this in chinese. “如果要自由自在,那就不会赚很多。一定要有点牺牲。”

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At the start of 2016, we bid farewell to a 5-year long experiment known as POPIN, a group of makers and artists who came together to craft magic. I joined in the group’s first project as a participant but stayed on to help run the parties in the next four annual community craft projects. Oh what fun we had! But what started quite organically was becoming quite a commitment and obligation of sorts and we decided to end the collaboration after our 5-year run. Also due partly to many member farewells in recent years as friends moved to other corners of the globe. In April, one moved home to Indonesia and July marked another goodbye to my fellow POPIN friend and partner-in-art as she moved to the US to embarked on a new learning journey.
Well, individually we continue to share our crafts in different ways. 🙂

So much for goodbyes! With one less project on my calendar, I decided this year to take on something new. A reconnection with old friends at the beginning of the year resulted in a part-time job at the lovely picture book shop, Woods in the Books! My first real job since I have been working on Momshoo since graduation. So much to learn and so much fun too!

Ironically, I found it is easier to sell books compared to selling my own products. Having less personal attachment to the products made it easier to promote and be objective. Of course it helped that I am a great believer in the habit of reading. It was also the first time I was interacting with children so much. And there is so much we can learn from children! I admire that children speak their minds. Leave them to pick their own books – they know exactly what they like and won’t be persuaded otherwise. I also pick up a few tricks with interacting with toddlers. They are easy to entertain as they are amused by the littlest actions. A smile from you is replied with a big grin that fills their whole face. Aww! I also found the purpose of the physical bookstore is to create experiences, chance discoveries of new books that you may not typically pick up. It is important to give the customer space to browse.

Being in a new environment of a bookstore also meant being surrounded constantly by inspiration. These inspiration have unknowingly found their way into my own work and life. I lost track of the number of times that customers/friends have told me “oh if must be so nice to work in a bookshop like this, I wish I could do the same!” Then do it! I am happy to have taken the leap to do something new last year and I hope to continue leaping in 2017. 🙂

Of course I can’t forget the travels in 2016. Most memorably, my first solo flight to meet my cousin in faraway Finland. Just a little taste of travelling solo, it was erm… Interesting. Here’s to more new adventures in 2017, wherever that may take me!

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