I also met a lady who runs a bed-and-breakfast. She was brainstorming the different ways she could promote her business, so I suggested she make stickers. Her response was, "But every sticker that I produce will result in another piece of trash when it’s torn off. I can't do that." I literally went, "What?! Nobody in Singapore would even think of that." And she told me, "But this is my home and I need to take care of it. If I do what everyone is doing, then, what will happen to my land?"
From that day, I stopped making a lot of things for sale. I only make things that I find meaning in, like postcards and art prints! But I only make these in very small quantities as I don't want to contribute to more waste. If I can't stop something, at the very least, I don't want to contribute to it! Any business that makes money by selling things needs to adopt more sustainable practices instead of just producing more waste.
You’ve talked about how you started doing art as self-care but it has now become your bread and butter. How do you define self-care and what does your self-care routine consist of?
I'm actually trying to get back into [self-care]. It's been neglected for a while! I started drawing because I liked a boy who didn’t like me. Before I had my first exhibition — when I was really poor and didn't have a job — I would spend $5 to get a cup of coffee at Yahava KoffeeWorks and just draw. I drew every day. That was part of my healing journey of letting go of my feelings for someone. Through that process, even when life was a little tough, I felt happy because I was able to draw every day. In that way, art was equivalent to self-care for me.
Ever since my husband and I moved to our home, it's been more difficult to draw on a daily basis. When I'm home and supposedly resting, I can never really rest as there is always another thing to do. When I have the extra time in the morning, I will work on a couple pieces… and that's my happy time! I’ve also started weaving. It’s very tactile and something I do just for myself.
What's your favourite thing to do during time off?
Ideally, I'll go for a swim if I have time off. There's also a café that I really like a lot, Grassroots Book Room, which reminds me of Taiwan. You may also find me at East Coast Park. But, most of the time, you really won't find me anywhere else but home.
My rest mode every day is to watch senseless videos. I run my own business so my brain is consistently in work mode. It's not something I can put a stop to. Sometimes, in the middle of the night, I will jump out of bed because I have a good idea for class and need to write it down. I’ve also recently started weaving, which I find very calming.