As we witness more foreigners coming into Singapore for work and for play, many Singaporeans are also travelling and working abroad. Akin to ‘ta-baoing’ (packing take-away) dinner back home for your family, this Tze-Char Ta Bao Aerogram is intended for locals to send their greetings of warmth to their loved one working or located abroad, reminding them of the local good food and all other good things back home.
Triggered by a severe lack of meaningful and representative local souvenirs, this self initiated project intends to explore, design and produce objects that can be prospective meaningful Singapore souvenirs. The notion of a Singapore souvenir should not only serve as a ... read more
Triggered by a severe lack of meaningful and representative local souvenirs, this self initiated project intends to explore, design and produce objects that can be prospective meaningful Singapore souvenirs. The notion of a Singapore souvenir should not only serve as a meaningful memento for foreigners, but should also act as a reflective vehicle for Singaporeans to recognise and embrace our identity. In so doing, this project not only raises design awareness and sensibility for Singaporeans but also creates greater exposure for local designers both on a local and international platform.
Singapore Souvenirs also questions and explores how to improve the experience of a visitor to Singapore and how to create a stronger Singapore brand from a strategic perspective. This exhibition serves as an open discussion, where we hope will be a starting point for government agencies, local companies, overseas design critics, tourists and of course, general public, to come together and rethink the value and essence of what souvenirs should and could be.
This inaugural Singapore Souvenirs 2009 collection features 38 works of 8 local designers.
One of the most significant souvenirs collected by travellers is the immigration stamp. Not only is the immigration stamp unique for each country, it also records and consolidates all the dates of travel in the passport. These new immigration stamps are designed first as an official proof of embarkation and disembarkation and they also highlight important events/festivals that are celebrated during the particular month of travel. Not only does this provide more information about what is happening in Singapore, it also serves as a collectable souvenir as each month is represented with a unique design.
“Kueh Tutu: is a savoury rice flour cake steamed with either desiccated coconut, palm sugar or peanut fillings. Traditionally eaten at breakfast, they are sold on pieces of pandan (screwpine) leaf for extra fragrance. The “Kueh Tutu eraser is a creative invention that uses this local snack out of its context and yet retains its original form. The small size of the “Kueh Tutu” and its sharp edges offer precise erasing. Other than its practical use, it can also be acquired for its decorative nature.
Singapore is a unique blend of Chinese, Malay and Indian culture. This permeates to the local language commonly known as Singlish. Although often viewed negatively as an incorrect use of English, it is one of the most authentic and genuine facts of Singapore. Singlish is built upon the subtle names of the Singaporean personality and reflects daily life in the country. This product celebrates and promotes the intangible experience of the local Singaporean by recognizing Singlish; formalizing it in a serious hardcover notebook.
a) A5 hardcover notebook: 212 pages
b) 105 Singlish words
c) Product dimensions: 148 x 210 mm
Void deck refers to the ground level of the Singaporean Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats. The void deck is deigned as a communal space with benches, playgrounds and other amenities, for residents to interact with one another. The most iconic and ubiquitous item found in void decks across Singapore which locals can identify with is the stone table with inlaid chessboard. This product brings the spirit of Singaporean community living into one’s residence by providing an authentic void deck experience.
Kaya paste has been the quintessential bread spread that defines the ‘morning’ taste of Singaporean’s breakfast. This is a design concept that evokes the taste of Singapore’s breakfast as a souvenir, by packing kaya paste into single serving straw packs. This design allows visitors of Singapore to distribute these little souvenirs to their friends and family when they return home, sharing our exotic breakfast taste. This act of gifting could serve as seeds to generate interest in foreigners to visit Singapore.
This ashtray is commonly found in coffeeshops all around Singapore. It reflects the ingenuity of Singaporeans as empty condensed milk tin cans are recycled as ashtrays, way before the concept of recycling became trendy. The lips of the containers are folded to create its iconic look and also to provide affordance for holding cigarettes.
By making the exact ashtray out of ceramic (a common material for ashtrays), the status of this ‘everyday’ object is elevated into an object of prominence.
Upgrading is a very common local term for improvement in quality of life. Generally, we have been upgrading our lives. From HDB flats upgrading exercises to upgrading to coffeeshops to food courts (air conditioned), almost every aspect of our lives has been improved throughout the years. Perhaps, it is time to upgrade our everyday, utilitarian towel to something that is of better quality and with a contemporary style.
This ‘Good Morning’ towel is designed to be bigger in size, better quality and embroidered with gold threads.
In Singapore Kopitiams (coffeeshops), drinks are usually ordered in their local names. These names reflect the multiracial society of Singapore as they are formed up by different languages that have become the lexicon of Singlish. The names consist of an add-on descriptive word to the main drink to communicate efficiently the degree and composition of the local brew. Singapore Kopitiam Sachets collects the variety of local coffee and tea found in coffeeshops and package them in one collective box. These sachets are represented using the gradation of colours corresponding to their brew composition.
From packaging, carrying to discarding items, Singaporeans love to use plastic bags. These plastic bags are abundant but unique in its prints with relevance to the local community. Collected and made as permanent dustbins now.
Love these childhood bird gliders. These gliders are made in the form of the White vented Myna – the most common bird found in Singapore for 2009.
A selection of local biscuits collected as a gift.
Italians have their Espresso Maker, the French their French Press; Singapore has the unique sock coffee maker that however is only available in efficient commercial sizes. The coffee maker is redesigned for a nice 2-3 serving size, made in glass and wood, nice as a gift and for personal use.
The nostalgic plastic colander used in Singapore by traditional fruit stalls to hold and display fruits is now available as a gold center-piece. Made with solid gold plating and actual plastic colander as substrate.
This re-usable shopping bag is fashioned in reminiscence of the red merlion logos bearing white plastic bags that used to be rampant in Singapore. In addition, it has 14 printed fold lines where the user follows as an instruction, learning the traditional technique of folding plastic bags. The resulting folded triangle is a convenient option for a handy shopping bag.
Responding to Singapore’s pursuit for perfection, this postcard categorically makes no mistakes in presenting our country in an affirmative manner. The visitor needs only to fill in the form.
A lot of our buildings are lost as we progress and it is hard to visualize these “lost” buildings through 2D photos. With this in mind, a more visual and concrete way for tourists and locals to remember these buildings was create in the form of 3D postcards.
Paper cash (and now polymer) has always had the feeling of impermanence. Too much imperfection and the notes are deemed unfit for use. Instead of shredding and incinerating well worn notes, perhaps these “well travelled” notes should find a second life as a souvenir which has literally passed through the hands of Singaporeans. What if the Monetary Authority of Singapore actually sold well used money found in Singapore? Can money not accumulate cultural, if not sentimental value the more it has been used?
Cash has become a digital commodity. Locals and visitors alike are increasingly using credit cards, smart cards and now EZ-link cards for transactions. Although digital cash provides convenience, security (or lack of) and even the ability to transcend location, physical money nonetheless is an immediate, tactile form of communication, rich in cultural and artistic value beyond its monetary face value. What if the Monetary Authority of Singapore actually sold money made in Singapore? Would its cultural value become more apparent if physical money were purchased with digital money?
Perhaps the stamp becomes a way to clearly catalogue and file correspondence by date and place.
Perhaps the stamp becomes a form of security.
Today, e-mail trumps snail-mail in ease of use, speed and even ability to deliver content. Where once stamps were a platform to showcase local culture and artwork, convenience has relegated them into a mere barcode at times. However, the scarcity of snail-mail sometimes makes the experience of receiving physical mail more precious than the contents themselves. What if the function of the stamp goes beyond its conventional purpose, to how you experience mail? Perhaps a letter from Singapore can be recognised immediately when you receive a stack of new mail.
The ban of chewing gum is uniquely Singapore and visitors find this both amusing and absurd. Once, when a BBC reporter suggested that overly draconian laws would stifle the people’s creativity, Lee Kuan Yew retorted: “If you can’t think because you can’t chew, try a banana.” Here is a magnetic strip, packaged like everyday chewing gum, handmade in Singapore.
Pieces of newspapers have long been adopted as the “impromptu” replacement for a placemat. This is especially so for the Singaporean culture where proper meals demand shell peeling, bone spitting and tissue disposing table space. The “Classified Placemat” intentionally translates the Classified section of discarded local newspaper into a stack of disposable placemats. Take a look at what motivates society as you indulge in your favourite Bak Kut Teh (Pork Ribs Soup).
The ‘Journal that lasts 6 years’ journal contains a hundred and one note pages inspired by the Singapore parking coupon. The idea is a response towards our constant quest for self reflection but not having the discipline to sustain it. Adopting the concept of the parking coupon, the journal makes room for a hundred and one reasons to discontinue and continue with the writing of the journal – of course, for a limited period of 6 years only. (You need not buy a new one every year!)
Mementos are not always physical. I cherish the time shared with my wife over meals during our honeymoon, more than the lush hotel we stayed in. The “Discussion Serviette” sets the stage for a meaningful discussion that comes right after a meal. City maps together with local eateries printed on serviettes provide a point of discourse between two or more parties over the dining table. The “Discussion Serviette” reconfigures from location to location, subtly assuming the role of the local travel guide.
It is not uncommon to see the less privileged poor being shunned at (or perhaps even despised?) while selling the usual 3 packs for a dollar tissue at the local coffee shops. Instead of conforming to this social norm, “Tissue: 3 packs” challenged the attitude towards the less privileged by intentionally redesigning the traditional media of transaction to encourage the act of giving. By purchasing these tissues from the less privileged, you are not only taking but leaving a part of your “kindness” behind. Remember, it is always better to give than to receive. This product is not for sale. Please try your luck at the nearest coffee shop.
Topics revolving around government policies have always been in the public’s eye. This coaster design provides a talking point by collating the acronyms of all 15 government ministries in the form of a crossword puzzle. Let’s talk “garmen” over coffee.
The local newspaper provides factual accounts of happenings in the local context written from a local perspective. Nothing can be more qualified to represent Singapore other than a copy of our own local newspapers. The Newspaper as Gift suggests the idea of the newspaper as a gift and attempts to elevate the status of the local papers by translating it into a noteworthy Singapore Souvenir.
From Kacang Puteh (local nuts) to vegetable or porcelain/glass cups, recycled newspapers are often used as draft paper that wraps them. This underrated paper is given a Singaporean identity and assumes the role of a “proper” present wrapper through specially designed Singapore prints.
This t-shirt is an interpretation of Singapore’s strongest political party, the People’s Action Party or PAP. Commonly known as the ‘Men in White’ for their all white attire during public appearances and election rallies; often wearing the national flower – the Vanda Miss Joaquim flower, as a form of decoration.
This product celebrates the PAP by offering the masses across to the political party in the form of an iconic yet practical everyday casual attire.
Most Singaporeans (if not, all) are acquainted to the colloquial term Ten Year Series, affectionately known as TYS for short. Ten Year Series is a book compilation of examination papers for the past ten years for GCE ‘O’ Levels and ‘A’ Levels, approved by the Singpaore’s Ministry of Education and University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate. Designed to look like hugging the TYS when the arms are folded, the importance of the TYS in a Singaporean’s life is intentionally highlighted.
Inspired by the National Day Rally Speech 2009, the Pledge t-shirt brings us back to the roots to “build a Singapore we are proud of” amidst the diversities in race, language and religion.
Every nation had its defining moment in history, and at that moment there was an iconic figure remembered and revered upon. For Singapore it has to be 9 August 1965, the day that Singapore was kicked out of Malaysia. All would remember that tearful scene of Lee Kuan Yew, then Prime Minister of Singapore, announcing the separation of Singapore from Malaysia. Singapore is out. Nation building begins.
Be it rain from a downpour or sweat by the sweltering sun, when the t-shirt gets wet it brings forth a pattern in response to the fervour Singaporean weather.
Shopping is arguably the Singaporean’s favourite pastime. You know there is no doubt about this when the Singapore Tourism Board spearheads “The Great Singapore Sale” campaign. ‘Buy one get one free’ is a common sales tactic used in Singapore and this t-shirt makes a sarcastic reference to how retailers lead consumers to believe that they are getting more value for money. For example, when you buy this tee, you are also getting a singlet… its just that they cannot exist at the same time. With dotted lines as a convenient guide, you are encouraged to recycle this tee, to give it a new lease of life as a singlet when its life as a t-shirt comes to an end. Just bear in mind that this change is not reversible and the scissors is sold separately.
I remember as a child, ‘Ah Peks’ used to tie coins in handkerchiefs and the bottom edges of the t-shirts to keep them safe. If you saw it often enough, what began as a function seemed more like fashion. 100% cotton, original ‘Ah Pek’ Swan Brand t-shirt. Button up for a slim fit, or buttonless to relax one corner.
Singapore is located at the Equator and is known for its hot and humid weather. Due to the nature of our weather, we often perspire when we are out under the sun. Your clothing will be soaked by the perspiration to create a darkened image. The idea for this t-shirt is to use the perspiration lines as topography to map out the level of discomfort that the wearer is experiencing due to the heat. It is a fun and interactive way to highlight the bane and boon of our year long summer.