Hi everyone, we are on the Straits Times today. 🙂
We are honored that our humble project has made it to the news, even though RediscoverSG is very young.
So the article announced on our behalf that NHB is partially sponsoring a mini web series we’re currently filming and editing. Yes, between us churning out our regular pieces, we’re actually working very hard on a 10-part (really) short series that we’ll be launching in June.
For now though, the rest of what we do for RediscoverSG is entirely self-funded, and we’re looking for sponsors who may be interested to come in and work with us on the many projects we have in mind that we’ll love to make a reality. 🙂
So if anyone is interested to hear more, do say hello.
In the meantime, the crew prepared some answers to the questions we were asked during our interview, and thought we’ll like to share a bit more of them here. 🙂
Again, thanks for the support. May we always stay hungry, curious, down-to-earth and humble in our journey to rediscover the place we call home.
Q: Why did you guys (young Singaporeans) want to rediscover Singapore?
DEREK: I came across a website set up in ’08, for Singaporeans to leave letters to Singapore. Several contained resentment towards Singapore, not necessarily strong and angry ones, some were sad and poignant. Truth be told, I myself have flirted with the idea of migration. In a way, this project is a journey for ourselves — for us to attempt to rediscover what Singapore has to offer. In our recent thisishome.sg video competition submission, we were moved by the number of Singaporeans living overseas who’d left comments about them giving anything to be back in Singapore, for a taste of the comfortable familarity that they’ve grown to miss. It’s always going to be a struggle — the preservation of historic buildings and the push for development. Singapore’s maturing fast. Perhaps fast is sad in the way that too many people are in too much of a hurry to grow up too quickly.
JEREMY: Personally, i feel that many of us, Singaporeans, are taking our country for granted, so much so that we often fail to look deep into what we have. We often give excuses that we don’t have the time to do so or we already know the country at the back of our minds since it is such a small place. But in actual fact, there are many things about this little island which are still unknown to us.
LIZZY: Growing up in Singapore, we often take many things that we have for granted, such as the good infrastructure, cleanliness and success of our nation, and are sometimes wistful or envious of what other countries have. Rediscover.sg is a space where we nudge our fellow Singaporeans in the little ways to remind them why this place is home. We hope that the little things we do help other Singaporeans to rediscover their own reasons for why they call this country home.
SONG: Perhaps it’s the hectic, paper-chase environment that we’re all brought up in, but I feel that a lot of the Singaporeans I know complain about Singapore excessively. It’s almost as if they are oblivious to the positives of living in Singapore, choosing instead to nitpick on the oft-insignificant negatives. So for me, the goal of rediscover.sg is to provide an alternate point-of-view for fellow Singaporeans to see the everyday beauty of this place we call home, and in doing so, attempt to restore a little bit of that magic to Singaporean living. It is inevitable that sometimes iconic landmarks have to give way in order for our country to progress economically, our island country is simply to small. Having said that, I feel that the concept of a Singaporean home is not solely defined by the Merlions and the Sir Stamford Raffles. Singapore is much more than that. Through rediscover.sg, we are trying to capture and record all the smaller, the less-obvious things that ironically are the most integral in shaping the Singaporean identity.
Q: What inspired you to take up this project?
LIZZY: The initial idea was conceived as part of Blogpress Media, a sister company of Dice Studio where we are currently doing our internship. Our boss, Claudia Lim, had been sitting on the idea for a couple of years. When we came on board, we took apart the entire concept and asked ourselves: what does it really mean to us, personally, to rediscover Singapore? Singaporeans are naturally suspicious of any attempts to sell the idea of patriotism, ourselves included. So we knew that if we wanted to be taken seriously, we would have to be honest with ourselves and our readers, and create content that genuinely made us proud to identify ourselves with as a Singaporean. As young people, people may ask why we would want to embark on a project such as this, but we want to dispel the taboo that it is cheesy or ‘fake’ to be able to say that we genuinely proud to be Singaporeans.
JEREMY: As mentioned, this is our boss’s brainchild and we have simply helped to develop it further. With this said, we are not doing this just as a job, we also feel that it is really meaningful to give fellow young Singaporeans a glimpse of our country which is unfamiliar to most of us. What’s even better is that we, ourselves, get to experience this first hand.
DEREK: I often marvel at how journeys down Chinatown, Little India, and places we’ve so often heard of but avoided visiting felt surreal. The unfamiliarity in the familiar is uncovered. I cannot speak for the entire population but I’m sure a good number of us have not taken a leisurely walk down Little India recently and experienced the assault on the senses. I’m sure many of us have not witnessed the traditions of the Hindus during Thaipusam amongst many other traditions and practices in Singapore. It is this rediscovery of the familiar that interests me and drives this project.
SONG: Prior to this internship, I was away in San Diego, USA on a student exchange program. Despite being there for six months, I never really felt comfortable being myself. Naturally, the Americans that I interacted with looked upon me as a temporary visitor. However, what surprised me was that I viewed myself as a temporary visitor too. I always thought that I would love the life in the USA, yet the experience taught me that I was actually proud to be a Singaporean, that at the end of the day, Singapore was still my home. This was something I’ve never realized before. Therefore, I saw this internship as the perfect opportunity for me to embark on a personal journey to find out what makes Singapore so special for me.
Q: What are the future plans for Rediscover SG?
LIZZY: Working on this project, we are increasingly meeting other Singaporeans who feel as we do and whom we hope to collaborate with more in future. We are working to groom Rediscover into a collaborative community platform, where we can work with partners, people and communities with similar interests to create content. While we create much of our current content, the crew actually has a whole string of other ideas and things we would like to do, and we’re currently talking to and looking for potential financial sponsors to help us realize some of these ideas. So if there’s anyone out there who might be interested in what we’re doing, do let us know!
SONG: Ultimately, the content on rediscover.sg shouldn’t be generated solely by us. One of our aims for this project is to arouse enough interest, so that there will be people who are willing to step out and contribute to the website too. That would be the ideal situation of this project because frankly, the four of us can only rediscover so much with our limited experience and perspectives. We wish for more Singaporeans to embark on this journey in rediscovering singapore with us.
Q: Where do you get your ideas from? (Eg. Writeboard)
LIZZY: Whenever we create any content for rediscover.sg, we bring ourselves back to the same question: How does what we write, shoot or create remind Singaporeans of home? Everything we do comes back to the philosophy of what rediscover.sg was created for in the first place. Using this, we came up with ideas for our various sections. In the short few months since we’ve started, it seems like Writeboard has been our most popular section yet. We want rediscover.sg to be a cosy place for Singaporeans and overseas Singaporeans to visit; for Singaporeans to remember why this is home, and to hopefully cause overseas Singaporeans to miss home enough to want to come back and visit!
JEREMY: We have taken references from some creative projects which we have seen online and we have sat down to discuss the feasibility of such projects in our context. With these in mind, we have developed ideas which are in line with our philosophy. And from there, segments like Window and Writeboard are created.
SONG: Many people say that Singaporeans are really good at emulating others. Therefore, we’re trying very hard to avoid feeding that stereotype. A lot of the ideas that you see on the website are initiatives that we’ve spent a large proportion of our time devising. Even when we chance upon a good idea from someone or somewhere other than ourselves, we would do well to make sure that it is localized to rediscover.sg, translated into a form that is relevant to Singapore and our Singaporean ways. For example, Writeboard started as our own initiative to document the varying Singaporean look and thought. Every single portrait is unique in look and answers but everyone belongs to Singapore.
Q: What do you hope to achieve with this project?
SONG: Singaporeans will love more, complain less.